Re: Article: Document or else

Subject: Re: Article: Document or else
From: Stuart Burnfield <sburnf -at- au1 -dot- ibm -dot- com>
To: austechwriter -at- freelists -dot- org, techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Date: Mon, 3 Jul 2006 09:13:14 +0800

The independent trustee in the case called that material "totally unfit"
for use by rival software makers, and a consulting firm for the commission
called it "entirely inadequate," "devoted to obsolete functionality" and

After what Brad Smith, Microsoft's general counsel and lead attorney on
the European case, called a "breakthrough" hearing in Brussels in March,
Microsoft says it finally knows what the commission wants and it is
rushing to provide it.

It's an interesting thought: if you've been compelled to provide
information that you're desperate not to reveal, how would you go about
documenting in a way that made it useless to competitors, while complying
with the letter of the law?

It could almost be an exercise in anti-techwriting--turn all the principles
of good writing on their head:
- provide hardcopy only in a font that's difficult to read or scan
- no index, TOC, glossary or cross-refs
- little or no topic structure (no chapters or subheadings)
- no template and style guide and no editorial review, so no consistency

If active sabotage seems too Machiavellian, you could probably achieve the
same effect just by making 300 unwilling junior software engineers work
overtime on the documentation for weeks on end...


austechwriter-bounce -at- freelists -dot- org wrote on 03/07/2006 08:40:12 AM:
> 'Guilty' pleasure??? Nah *lol*
> Although I did wince at the idea of the engineers 'banging out'
> documentation... thank God I'm not likely to ever have to read it, I'd
> probably cry!
> - Naomi


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