Idiotic Tech Writing Prize

Subject: Idiotic Tech Writing Prize
From: Nancy Allison <maker -at- verizon -dot- net>
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Date: Fri, 16 Jan 2009 09:26:32 -0600 (CST)

Nominations are now open for the Idiotic Tech Writing Prize for January,
2009. I've made it up this instant and I think it's a good idea.

My submission:


Cannot begin a test; the test set trips, with an overcurrent error


1. Isolate the cause by restarting a test after alternately:

----Disconnecting the high-voltage test cable from the instrument

----Disconnecting the high-voltage test cable from the specimen (but
still connected to the instrument)

CAUTION!! Avoid personal contact with the high-voltage test cable
CAUTION!! while it is connected to the instrument. Death or
severe injury is an imminent risk.

[\End submission]

As we know, NOBODY reads procedures to the end before starting them. So,
following this idiotic procedure in order, the reader restarts a test
and then realizes he needs to disconnect the high voltage cable from the
instrument. How he interprets the word "alternately" is anyone's guess.

One way or another, he disconnects the high voltage cable from the
instrument. If he survives, maybe he goes to the next bullet, or maybe
he restarts the test. Maybe at this point he notices the dire warning
telling him not to do what he has just done.

Or maybe heâs already dead and doesnât care.

By the way, how do you disconnect a cable while avoiding personal
contact with it?

And now, your turn! If you need to look something up from years past,
never fear, I'm keeping this contest open for at least a week.

The winner gets a rousing cheer!

ComponentOne Doc-To-Help 2009 is your all-in-one authoring and publishing
solution. Author in Doc-To-Help's XML-based editor, Microsoft Word or
HTML and publish to the Web, Help systems or printed manuals.

Help & Manual 5: The complete help authoring tool for individual
authors and teams. Professional power, intuitive interface. Write
once, publish to 8 formats. Multi-user authoring and version control!

You are currently subscribed to TECHWR-L as archive -at- web -dot- techwr-l -dot- com -dot-

To unsubscribe send a blank email to
techwr-l-unsubscribe -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
or visit

To subscribe, send a blank email to techwr-l-join -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com

Send administrative questions to admin -at- techwr-l -dot- com -dot- Visit for more resources and info.

Please move off-topic discussions to the Chat list, at:


Previous by Author: RE: Proper definition for "acronym" (was A vs, an)
Next by Author: Re: Idiotic Tech Writing Prize
Previous by Thread: Re: Is a hardcopy of manual included with Adobe Creative Suite 4 Design Standard Win package?
Next by Thread: Re: Idiotic Tech Writing Prize

What this post helpful? Share it with friends and colleagues:

Sponsored Ads