Re: Ig Nobel documentation

Subject: Re: Ig Nobel documentation
From: "Peter Neilson" <neilson -at- windstream -dot- net>
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Date: Mon, 22 Oct 2018 08:28:52 -0400

As most of us are already aware, constraints of design, manufacturing, or law can make it impossible to read the manual, or even to find the manual. My favorite example is the can of bug spray. The directions are printed on the can, but in microscopic size. They begin with the ominous and mandatory phrase, "It is a violation of Federal Law ..." followed by many more required words. It's all repeated in microscopic Spanish or French so that speakers of those languages also cannot read it.

In earlier times the printed manual often did not arrive at the installation site or into the user's hands, but instead was sent elsewhere, perhaps to the Corporate Library. Or six months late. Or not at all.

Today when I need information on some product I look online, usually not at the manufacturer's website but instead at blogs, videos and diatribes. The former will contain a PDF full of "bugspray" caution notices in twelve languages. The latter have the actual meat, such as "Don't even think of buying one of these," or "This is a good, basic chainsaw. Follow the usual safety precautions. Really. Please, really!"

Better than any chainsaw manual is a brief viewing of videos googled at "chainsaw blunders."

Traditional tech writing is now fully obsolete, mÃme en Ãcrivant en franÃais ou en espagnol. äèçäæåï

On Mon, 22 Oct 2018 07:39:12 -0400, Sion Lane <sion -dot- lane -at- unit4 -dot- com> wrote:

I realise it is not Friday, but today is the day this came to my attention. The winner of the Literature section of the Ig Nobel awards for Improbable Research ( seems very valid to us technical communicators.

I especially liked the reverse engineering of RTFM.
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