Re: style guides: persuasion to follow rules or enforcement

Subject: Re: style guides: persuasion to follow rules or enforcement
From: Janice Gelb <Janice -dot- Gelb -at- Sun -dot- COM>
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Date: Fri, 08 Jun 2007 08:05:44 +1000

Katriel Reichman wrote:
> I am interested to hear experiences/opinions on
> a) the efficacy of compliance enforcement vs. gentle persuasion.
> b) can/should compliance efforts be directed beyond technical writers to
> other staff who create lots of documents.

The problem with gentle persuasion, which is
more humane, is that the people who fail to
adhere to the style guide because they're
convinced that their way is better are not
likely to be swayed, and the people who are
likely to follow the style guide are probably
going to do so anyway.

I think the only way you can really ensure
compliance -- and it's never going to be 100% no
matter what method you use -- is to get support
from management. This ideally would take the form
of official statements that your style guide is
the official handbook for the company and that
anyone who produces written documentation for
the company is expected to follow the guidelines
in the style guide.

That way, you have something to back you up when
reasonable arguments like the benefits of consistency
don't work. Stubborn continuing violations then not
only mean inconsistent documentation but also flying
in the face of corporate directives.

-- Janice

Janice Gelb | The only connection Sun has with
janice -dot- gelb -at- sun -dot- com | this message is the return address

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style guides: persuasion to follow rules or enforcement: From: Katriel Reichman

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