Re: Do manuals have to be boring?

Subject: Re: Do manuals have to be boring?
From: Edwin Skau <eddy -dot- skau -at- gmail -dot- com>
To: "Porrello, Leonard" <lporrello -at- illumina -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 8 Sep 2010 16:33:53 +0530

Tenants was less boring!

On Sat, Aug 28, 2010 at 2:51 AM, Porrello, Leonard
<lporrello -at- illumina -dot- com>wrote:

> Oops. Make that tenets, not tenants.
>
> -----Original Message-----
> From: techwr-l-bounces+lporrello=illumina -dot- com -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
> [mailto:techwr-l-bounces+lporrello <techwr-l-bounces%2Blporrello>=
> illumina -dot- com -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com] On
> Behalf Of Porrello, Leonard
> Sent: Friday, August 27, 2010 8:20 AM
> To: Craig Haiss; techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
> Subject: RE: Do manuals have to be boring?
>
> Of course cook books are technical manuals. Doesn't everyone learn as
> much in Tech Writing 101? As for engaging and educating, these are two
> core tenants of John Carroll's Minimalism (circa 1990). As for
> entertaining, there's a "For Dummies" manual for just about every topic
> under the sun; and apart from "For Dummies" manuals, the overwhelming
> consensus among the experienced technical writers is that trying to
> entertain is generally a bad practice. Personally, I want the writing to
> be transparent when I am trying to use a manual to solve a problem. In
> other words, it shouldn't draw attention to itself or draw my attention
> away from task I am trying to accomplish.
>
> On the other hand, I understand that the piece was a blog entry and can
> be best understood and appreciated as such: "The concept of 'blogging'
> ... is said to have originated in the Amazonian rainforest, where
> European explorers observed the native hunter-gatherers communicating by
> means of high-pitched whining and long-drawn-out musical glossolalia.
> Although no actual information was ever conveyed by this meaningless
> prancing, the locals appeared to enjoy the sight and sound of each
> other's attempts and dancing along with them" (Uncyclopedia).
>
>
> -----Original Message-----
> From: techwr-l-bounces+lporrello=illumina -dot- com -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
> [mailto:techwr-l-bounces+lporrello <techwr-l-bounces%2Blporrello>=
> illumina -dot- com -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com] On
> Behalf Of Craig Haiss
> Sent: Thursday, August 26, 2010 7:15 PM
> To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
> Subject: Do manuals have to be boring?
>
> I found the following article inspiring, and it would be great with a
> Friday morning cup of coffee.
>
> "How a mouth-watering user guide got me thinking about technical
> communication"
>
> http://www.dmncommunications.com/weblog/?p=2069
>
> It made me long for the kind of computer manuals I read as a kid, when
> computing was just a hobby and the authors of manuals were perfectly
> willing to goof off in print.
>
> Enjoy!
>
> -Craig Haiss
>
>
>
>
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