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I don't consider that a problem at all, as long as *someone*
is doing it. Perhaps it's the manager in me talking rather
than the "technical communicator," but what information
should be provided to the user is whatever information
best supports the company's business plan for the product.
In some cases, that might mean every possible feature
and function, in others it might mean the 10 most
commonly performed functions and nothing else.
One of the most successful products I ever worked on
could perform about 50 different functions. Marketing
determined that 90% of our potential customers would
be using about dozen of these functions, so we fully
documented those and nothing else. Anyone who
looked at the product and deduced that there were
additional capabilites would call in to ask about them
and be told that the undocumented functions were "not
supported," then would be referred to Product Support
for a quotation on a custom option. In the end we made
as much on the customs as we did on the initial sales
of the base product.
----- Original Message -----
From: "Mike Starr" <mikestarr-techwr-l -at- writestarr -dot- com>
> The problem is that we technical writers don't get to decide what features
> deserve to be incorporated into a product. But to me, documentation that
> doesn't explain all of those features is unacceptable. We should be
> providing task-based documentation to guide users through the most common
> tasks but we should also be providing reference-based documentation that
> explains whatever's there to be explained. The better we do at this sort of
> stuff, the less often users will feel the need to pick up the phone and call
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