Re: Friday Poll Idea (WAS: In love with a word)
On Monday, January 9, 2006, Nuckols, Kenneth M wrote;>> Geoff Lane wrote:
However, when writing for an audience of mixed abilities, it is often
good practice to tell your readers how difficult a procedure is. FWIW,
I've done this with "spanner ratings" (the more spanners, the more
difficult) and with introductory text. Doing this helps readers
determine quickly whether specialist experience or resources are
required, and so whether to attempt the job themselves or call in
I'm going to disagree with Geoff on this. As TWs, our documentation
should be focused at a particular audience and we should write the
instructions accordingly. If we have to write a procedure for, let's
say, replacing the fan blades and bearings in an engine off of a Boeing
747 for an audience of holiday travelers, we should simply write the
procedure in such a way as to best allow a layperson (with the proper
tools) to complete the task.
Unfortunately, some people don't read through the instructions before
commencing work. These people might pass the point of no return before
discovering they haven't the skill or equipment to continue. At the
very least, a "spanner rating" at the start of the procedure might
alert the reader to such an issue and if they stop people from ruining
their day, such ratings are worthwhile.
You might lobby to have the "expert procedures" in a separate manual.
However, you probably wouldn't get far if the publisher's standards
demand one book per vehicle (as many do).
I still think it would be better to phrase the
differentiations in terms of the work experience
required or advised rather than in loaded terms
such as "easy" or "more difficult."
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