RE: When is it too much information?

Subject: RE: When is it too much information?
From: Stuart Burnfield <slb -at- westnet -dot- com -dot- au>
To: Techwr-l <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 19 Feb 2013 13:59:04 +0800 (WST)

Craig said:
> Another question I'm always asking myself is, when is it
> too much information for one topic?
> When should a topic that is chock full of goodies be split
> into two topics?

When you're mixing a substantial amount of information of different types (concept, reference, task, troubleshooting, ...). When writing a procedure it's tempting to lump in a lot of conceptual stuff "just in case they don't know that - it would be handy to say it here". The main thread of the task gets lost under all the digressions. It's better to explain the terms and background concepts elsewhere, and provide 'related topics' links at the end of the procedure.

It's like giving visitors directions to go shopping - just tell them how to get there. Alternate routes, traffic reports, local history and nearby tourist hotspots might all be interesting and useful, but it's better to give them that information in another form when it's needed.

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