Re: Examples of Minimalist Writing

Subject: Re: Examples of Minimalist Writing
From: Mike Starr <mike -at- writestarr -dot- com>
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Date: Thu, 01 Oct 2009 06:32:41 -0500

I started responding to the list with an email but it turned into an article...

Mike Starr WriteStarr Information Services
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Leonard C. Porrello wrote:
> I would agree with Kevin, but what he's arguing against isn't
> Minimalism, and the joke Chris made is a play on the idea of
> "minimalism," not a reflection of Minimalistic technical writing. What
> Kevin is arguing against is simply poor writing.
> Minimalism is primarily concerned with creating knowledgeable,
> self-directed users (as opposed to automatons who blindly execute
> written procedures)--as efficiently as possible. For software, this
> isn't done by documenting every procedure, workflow, or bit of
> functionality. It's done by creating documentation that leads the user
> through tasks that enable him to understand the application. This
> invariably requires documentation that details common mistakes and error
> recovery. Obviously, a purely Minimalistic approach doesn't work when
> you must document "EVERY bobble and wingding." Nevertheless, Minimalism
> can inform how you organize your documentation, and its insistence on
> documenting common errors and error recovery is always applicable.
> Minimalism is concerned with brevity and "plain language writing" only
> to the same extent as is all good technical writing.
> Leonard

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