creativity . . . and ethics

Subject: creativity . . . and ethics
From: holland -at- CVAX -dot- IPFW -dot- INDIANA -dot- EDU
Date: Fri, 25 Jun 1993 17:07:10 EST

In her message on creativity in tech writing, Maria Townsley writes,
"I have to make the totally unreasonable sound like it is not only reasonable,
but wonderful." I don't believe this is the job of the tech writer. If (s)he
can't get a user-fiendly system changed to a user-friendly one, there are, in
my HO, only two ethical alternatives: (1) document the system matter-of-factly,
without attempting to make it sound reasonable, much less wonderful; or (2)
openly mark the unfriendly feature as bizarre/weird/inconvenient/hard-to-

A professional tech writer should _not_, for example, tell readers that
having to select "Multiple Pages" from the WordPerfect DOS 5.1 menu to print
Page 2 of the document is a "special feature."

Steve Hollander
Indiana University-Purdue University
Fort Wayne, IN

holland -at- cvax -dot- ipfw -dot- indiana -dot- edu

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