Re: The New Communication (was Formality going Bye, Bye)

Subject: Re: The New Communication (was Formality going Bye, Bye)
From: doc -at- edwordsmith -dot- com
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Date: Tue, 14 Feb 2006 13:42:00 -0800

On Tuesday 14 February 2006 07:36, Steven Brown wrote:

> We're not writers, we're educators.

Then what is a writer?

> Unfortunately, most tech pubs managers and editors
> would have a heart attack if they saw a sentence
> fragment or an exclamation mark in their
> documentation.

I don't feel so smug about this. I've written for licensed and/or expert
technical audiences who demand, in unequivocal terms, that I write nothing
more than the scant telegraphic version. That is, shorten everything to the
barest unambiguous expression that still gets the message across.

About this technical audience, I am not educating them. I am giving them a
tested and proven version of what they already know--they want only to scan
their documentation quickly to prompt their knowledge into working memory.

Obviously, the telegraphic style requires a paradigmatic plug-in (cyberpunk
alert!) that replaces many of the rules and assumptions of the dominant
literary technical prose paradigm.

Ned Bedinger
Ed Wordsmith Technical Communications

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