Re: RTFM? Really?

Subject: Re: RTFM? Really?
From: Karl Norman <kylesimmons0164 -at- gmail -dot- com>
To: Gene Kim-Eng <techwr -at- genek -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 26 Sep 2014 11:59:12 -0500

Good points, Gene. I do insist on cheap quality. I know from a production
standpoint it's a dilemma, but it makes perfect sense for consumers to want
more for less. I don't buy the assertion that you either pay for high end
support or you don't get it. Point in case: I used Reddit to help me build
a computer, which I'd never done before. Other users pointed me to all my
resources and guides, and when I had questions, they answered them. I was
able to investigate users' credentials to help me decide if I trusted their
advice. I feel I received and continue to receive high end support from
this social community, and they really have no investment in me or my
computer being successful (er, just social investment, I guess). Now of
course this solution took time and wouldn't be feasible for someone on the
job needing to complete the task right now (although there's an entire
history of my experience online now, so they could just look at that.).

But to answer your last question, reading is boring and tedious (I got a
degree in literature). I have never read a photoshop manual, but I've
watched countless videos. I've also never read a Word manual, but I've
spent a lot of times reading old forum posts. I *wish* my company's
document control software had a forum where I could talk to other users
about how they handle certain issues. That would be way better than a
manual that may or may not address my needs.

On Fri, Sep 26, 2014 at 11:34 AM, Gene Kim-Eng <techwr -at- genek -dot- com> wrote:

> I would never "insist" on writing a manual, or anything else for that
> matter. I just seek out opportunities where everyone involved already
> understands their need for whatever they're asking me whether I can do. If
> I'm going to have to convince management that they need to fund
> documentation or convince users they need to use it, I'll probably just
> pass on the job. I'm done being an evangelist for common sense.
>
> Now, from a non-writer, big-picture business approach...
>
> A lot of companies, especially in the software business, find themselves
> between a rock and a hard place when it comes to support. Consumers insist
> on buying the cheapest products they can find, then expect high end support
> for them. Well, TAANSTAFL. Either you pay for high end support, or you buy
> cheap and have to look for the answers to your questions on your own.
>
> For companies not in that unenviable position, there are other options.
> HW/SW systems can be designed to walk the user through (think about your
> bank's ATM machine, for example), and complex, potentially hazardous
> systems often cannot legally be turned on in the first place without the
> operators being trained and certified.
>
> As for video tutorials and user support groups, if lazy users won't RTFM,
> what makes you think they're going to view the videos or read the user
> forums...?
>
> Gene Kim-Eng
>



--
*Kyle Simmons*

Technical Writer
Aloe Vera of America, Inc.

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Follow-Ups:

References:
RTFM? Really?: From: Karl Norman
Re: RTFM? Really?: From: Gene Kim-Eng

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