Post current product user docs to company website?

Subject: Post current product user docs to company website?
From: "McLauchlan, Kevin" <Kevin -dot- McLauchlan -at- safenet-inc -dot- com>
To: <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 6 Dec 2007 15:38:59 -0500

Our products include a software component, so the products docs have
their place on the software CD (or tar file, when we don't bother with
an actual CD).

Our Customer Release Notes (CRN) were always completed too late for
inclusion, so they'd go on a non-browseable section of our company
website, accessible via a link that I would include on the CD.

Recently, we decided to move the CRNs over to a more public, browseable
area of the website. No more "security by obscurity" - we'd be publicly
'proud' of our faults and of how quickly we fix them.

I've been arguing, unsuccessfully, that we should put the rest of the
docs there, too.

In my plan, they'd go onto the CD as they do now, and would also be
posted to the website as a convenience. Later, if I found reason to
update the docs between product releases, the web version of the docs
would get updated. Thus the user would have a base set of working docs
as long as they had the CD (or tar file), but they might be able to
download a fresher set with minor fixes and upgrades (fixed minor goofs
and typos, describing something more clearly, etc.).

What I hope to get from y'all is a bit more argumentive ammunition to
help make my case.

Or, gimme some good arguments for NOT pursuing it.

The docs would still be subject to QA approval before release (posting)
but they could be updated between product releases if I found the time
and motivation. A strong motivator is when a particularly helpful
Sales-Eng guy gets a chance to review my docs and offers his comments.
They're always cogent and helpful, and I'd love to reward that by
nearly-instant publication of the revisions.... instead of waiting half
a year for the next product release.

One argument AGAINST website publication of the product Help is that I
could find myself roped into constant updates.

I think I can say "no", especially when I've got priority schedule items
to point to.

Just about any doodad that I've purchased over the past few years, I've
been able to go to the producer's website and download newer firmware,
newer software and release notes, and the latest version of
documentation. The last one was my Garmin HCx

I can't see that there's much overhead involved in posting and
maintaining - it's just WebHelp, a mess of html and jpg files in a
particular directory structure.

Your thoughts and imaginings?


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