How do you document error messages?

Subject: How do you document error messages?
From: mearro -at- msn -dot- com
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 17 Sep 2004 15:35:33 -0600

Our organization desperately needs to provide our users & support staff
with more info about the error messages that our various products produce.
I'd appreciate anything you could share about how your organization
handles this as well as what kind of information you document.

Currently, our error messages display with vague descriptions written by
our developers. We're hoping to add more meaningful content to each error
message as well as to the Help systems & other docs. We'd like to identify
info that our support staff (& likely users) really want to know: what
caused the error message, how to avoid it, and possible workarounds.

One difficulty we have is how to identify the error messages (not all of
our products generate a list of messages).

So far, this has been a documentation-only task for us. We have extremely
limited resources & simply don't have access to the information we need.
I've gone through our problem logs and support notes to try to get
additional info but I've spent too much time for too little results.

Any experiences you could pass on - I'd appreciate.

Mary - I'm on digest - please email me.


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