Re: Documenting the way software actually works WAS: Try selling the sizzle of what you do.
As for the release notes, I've yet to meet an end-user who wasn't a
developer or manager who read them for supplementary information. I'm not
saying release notes are unnecessary, but if the end-user isn't reading
the manual (or even only scans it in an emergency) you can bet they're
not reading the release notes.
I read end user docs for every bit of hardware and software I use or am considering using. No, I don't sit down with a cup of coffee and read process description after process description, but I do search out conceptual information and read it as one of the steps of my learning the software. I refer to specific process descriptions when they apply to the task(s) I am performing.
I read release notes and read-me files - especially when I see differences between the application and what is described in the printed doc and/or online help.. I communicate with software companies if I find their documentation to be lacking in any way (inaccuracies, omissions, difficulties in locating information, etc.) - just as I do if a purchase a product that does not perform according to its manufacturer's claims. (I also send letters when I find the documentation to be well-done).
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