RE: Paragraph numbering - industry standard?

Subject: RE: Paragraph numbering - industry standard?
From: eric -dot- dunn -at- ca -dot- transport -dot- bombardier -dot- com
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 4 Aug 2005 10:08:57 -0400

bounce-techwr-l-106467 -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com wrote on 08/04/2005 09:29:39 AM:
> Isn't it possible that unnumbered docs, like numbered docs, are produced
> by TWs who are "giving the customer/audience what they want"? Doesn't
> sound like laziness or incompetence to me. Sounds like different
> products for different customers, according to what they want.

True. But the TWs clamouring for the elimination of numbering or
pooh-poohing its usefulness NEVER come on list and say it's what their
audience wants.

It is ALWAYS someone asking:

"My template/style guide says I have to number and the engineers want it
that way because it has always been that way. I think it's ugly and
outdated. Can someone give me proof that it isn't standard?"

That is putting personal preference and personal design considerations
ahead of audience desires and communication requirements.

My response to that question is: TOUGH. Prove how the proposed new layout
and design will be superior and lose no information from the old. THEN
provide an ROI analysis to show that the gains are greater than the effort
to change. Then and only then could you MAYBE consider a new
template/style guide.

Until then "Do it the way it has always been done." is a perfectly valid
directive and far from arbitrary. Sometime the logical reason something is
done the way it is, is lost from memory and hidden in history. You change
the way things are done at the peril of re-learning hard lessons.

Maybe the original decision WAS entirely arbitrary. But once the original
decision is made, no matter how arbitrary, arbitrary reasoning shouldn't
be used to justify change.

Eric L. Dunn
Senior Technical Writer


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RE: Paragraph numbering - industry standard?: From: Dan Goldstein

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