RE: Use of Optional in instructions

Subject: RE: Use of Optional in instructions
From: "Combs, Richard" <richard -dot- combs -at- Polycom -dot- com>
To: "Robert Lauriston" <robert -at- lauriston -dot- com>, <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 15 Sep 2009 15:21:00 -0600

Robert Lauriston wrote:

> I'm not sure I've ever seen a help topic that didn't start with a
> description of what the steps that follow will accomplish.

But we're not talking about the overall, high-level goal of the
procedure -- e.g., "To configure the signaling module..."

We're talking about an optional action that the reader may or may not
wish to perform, depending on _how_ they want, in this case, the
signaling module configured -- e.g., "To enable SIP signaling, ..."

As Fox Cole so succinctly illustrated on Saturday, we're talking about
_decision_points_, places where a procedure _branches_:

> Suppose you were creating a flowchart of the procedure. Tell me what
comes
> first in the diagram. Now tell me why.
>
> The same principle applies in verbal instructions.

Exactly.

Richard


Richard G. Combs
Senior Technical Writer
Polycom, Inc.
richardDOTcombs AT polycomDOTcom
303-223-5111
------
rgcombs AT gmailDOTcom
303-777-0436
------









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Follow-Ups:

References:
Use of Optional in instructions: From: Bruce Megan (ST-CO/ENG2.2)
RE: Use of Optional in instructions: From: Combs, Richard
RE: Use of Optional in instructions: From: Boudreaux, Madelyn (GE Healthcare, consultant)
Re: Use of Optional in instructions: From: Lauren
RE: Use of Optional in instructions: From: McLauchlan, Kevin
Re: Use of Optional in instructions: From: Robert Lauriston

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