RE: Resistance to allowing anonymous web access to online help?

Subject: RE: Resistance to allowing anonymous web access to online help?
From: <mbaker -at- analecta -dot- com>
To: "'John G'" <john -at- garisons -dot- com>, <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Sat, 18 Jun 2016 15:00:04 -0400

First, the argument, though surprisingly common, is idiotic. Unless you are
documenting wildly the wrong stuff, or are selling source code, there is no
way to reverse engineer a product from its user docs. (If they doubt this,
hand them your car's manual and ask them to build you a catalytic
converter.)

If there was any grounds for fear on this score it would not be reverse
engineering, it would simply be copying of features.

So then the question becomes, what other ways does the competition have to
learn about our features and how they work?

Well, presumably you advertise the features, so that's how they find those
out. And for how they work, well, they could buy a copy of the product. And
if you can somehow block them from doing that, they can cozy up to one of
your customers and ask them. Seriously, if a competitor wants to find out
how you stuff works, how hard can it be?

Second, what they are missing is that publically available docs can be a
fertile source of sales leads. Christopher Ward and Bernard Aschwanden have
done a series of presentations on this at various conferences. Try getting
the sales people on side with this argument and any other objections should
fall.

Mark


-----Original Message-----
From: techwr-l-bounces+mbaker=analecta -dot- com -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
[mailto:techwr-l-bounces+mbaker=analecta -dot- com -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com] On Behalf
Of John G
Sent: Saturday, June 18, 2016 2:40 PM
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Subject: Resistance to allowing anonymous web access to online help?

Am I the only one who is fighting with product managers and owners to allow
Google and other search engines to index and provide access to our online
help?

All our documentation is online, but we are not allowed to let it be indexed
and made available to search engines. If someone has the URL for a document
or one of its pages, they can access it. The product owners are afraid that
the competition will be able to use our documentation to potentially reverse
engineer our applications.

If you have fought this battle - win or lose - I'd like to hear the
arguments you faced, as well as how you overcame people's objections (if you
indeed, did).

I have found several articles (none within the last 2-3 years) that advocate
making the information publicly available, but none since then. If you have
any, please let me know.

Thanks in advance,


John Garison
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