RE: Paragraph numbering - industry standard?

Subject: RE: Paragraph numbering - industry standard?
From: "Claire Conant" <Claire -dot- Conant -at- Digeo -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 3 Aug 2005 11:45:25 -0700

>>Sarah states:

>>I've been documenting software for years now, and am writing my first
SDK. >>I hate, hate, HATE paragraph numbers; I think they're a holdover
from when >>most tech writers worked for the military and had to conform
to mil specs. >>

Sarah, I'm on your side. I don't see the point in them - AT ALL.

The argument presented to me in favor of numbered paragraphs was that
the engineers were "used to them" and they liked to reference sections
using them. For example, they could tell a customer, "See for
your answer." (And sometimes, they really did indent five levels deep.)
Granted, it is shorter, but try saying that out loud.

My argument against them is that I believe an effectively written
cross-reference and competent page numbering works just as well. I think
the paragraph numbering just clutters up the content and makes it
visually harder to read.

Again, I don't see the point. But I'm open to being convinced as to why
they are necessary, and in what situations.

Claire Conant
Technical Editor
Digeo, Inc.


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