Re: Teach 'em to fish, don't give 'em fish

Subject: Re: Teach 'em to fish, don't give 'em fish
From: Carol Carmick <Carol_Carmick -at- BEAV -dot- INTERSOLV -dot- COM>
Date: Wed, 28 Apr 1993 16:26:00 LCL

>My point is that we want to write/design documentation to teach users to fish
>rather than just giving them fish.

I wobble back and forth on this fence. I am a curious user, and
I want to encourage curiosity in my readers. But I hate to wade
through a morass of theoretical underpinnings when what I really
need is simple instructions.

To borrow your metaphor: When I'm hungry, I don't want a lecture
on fly-tying. I want a tuna sandwich, and I want it NOW.

I think the challenge is to structure the information so that the
how-come information is available but avoidable (easy if you have
hypertext!). Failing that, I've started putting the conceptual
information after the procedure. This offends my writerly
vanity, but I think it makes the topics more usable.


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