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Subject:Re: injecting a little whimsy into grey text From:"Will Husa" <will -dot- husa -at- 4techwriter -dot- com> To:"Janice Gelb" <Janice -dot- Gelb -at- Sun -dot- COM>, "techwr-l List" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com> Date:Tue, 7 Oct 2008 12:35:05 -0500
<Humor in technical writing is a tricky subject>
I like to use real sounding names in my documentation. It helps to connect
with the audience. Every so often, an editor will catch it and tell me to
remove the Star Trek references. So I switched to Babylon 5 references and
haven't had a problem since.
Michael Garibaldi (a.k.a. Will Husa)
Procedure Writing and Online Help
----- Original Message -----
From: "Janice Gelb" <Janice -dot- Gelb -at- Sun -dot- COM>
To: "techwr-l List" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Sent: Monday, October 06, 2008 9:47 PM
Subject: Re: injecting a little whimsy into grey text
> Milan Davidovic wrote:
>> Have you ever felt like the writer described in this post?
> Humor in technical writing is a tricky subject.As
> the article notes, without really knowing all the
> members of your audience, you can't really tell what
> jokes will work. The example here is really not
> appropriate as it is both a US-centric and religiously
> affiliated reference.
> That said, I have seen small touches done well. However,
> they must be done in such a way that they don't use
> cultural referents that might be offensive or contribute
> to a feeling of alienation, and should be unobtrusive. For
> example, _The Whole Internet Catalog & User's Guide_ by
> Ed Krol (published at the dawn of time in 1992) featured
> in its examples employees and company names taken from the
> cult film "The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the
> 8th Dimension." (The sample email from johnb -at- yoyodyne -dot- com
> with the subject "Do You Have the Overthruster?" still
> cracks me up.) If you knew the source, the text in the
> examples made you laugh. If you didn't know the source,
> the names didn't mean anything but didn't get in your way.
> -- 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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