Re: accuracy & phrasing in documentation

Subject: Re: accuracy & phrasing in documentation
From: r frey <context -at- DIALIX -dot- OZ -dot- AU>
Date: Sat, 30 Oct 1993 01:34:49 +0800

In <9310250734 -dot- AA13201 -at- expert -dot- cc -dot- purdue -dot- edu> Gary Beason
<bubba -at- expert -dot- cc -dot- purdue -dot- edu> writes:
> .. to what extent should documentation attempt to educate the users of
>technical accuracies? (I know there's no definite answer to this, but
>I'm interested in hearing some of the situations and decisions made.)

As someone said earlier in this thread: If techwriters don't endeavour
to preserve accuracy and, yes, truth (paraphrasing a bit here :-) who
will? To which I would add: "Engineers? hahahahahahahahahah"

I'm currently editing copy written by engineers, and I'm spending a lot
of time explaining how the 'DIP switch' (singular) which contains a
number of separate (ie, electrically isolated and independently
configurable) switches (plural) is going to come back and bite them
later, when they get down to describing the functions of those 'little
DIP switches'. I think accuracy pays in the long run.

Also, writers need to remind themselves once in a while that they _are_
playing a role in shaping the way language evolves, by virtue of the
fact that readers do regard words 'in print' as a yardstick, as an
authoritative reference...there appears to be the presumption that
techwriters check their facts before they commit them to paper :-O)

Finally -- imagine the alternatives to accuracy, and their consequences
roger frey phone +61 9 481 4056
context -at- dialix -dot- oz -dot- au fax +61 9 481 4249

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