Subject: Ego
From: Mark Levinson <mark -at- MATIS -dot- INGR -dot- COM>
Date: Wed, 10 Nov 1993 11:09:27 IST

Standard practice seems to be for the writer to be invisible,
ego-less. For a reference work, perhaps, but what about tutorials,
introductory pieces, etc?

** Often an identifiable writer-ego works well in third-party documentation, but
in the manufacturer's own documentation it can be cumbersome. Every
company I've worked for suffers enough panic just producing accurate manuals
without making sure that the quality of humor is not strained. I imagine
there's nothing more irritating to a user than a giggling writer who has
the facts wrong.

The Durante Effect is also a problem: everybody wants to get inta da act.
Who decides what writers (or user interface developers) have the proper
personality to showcase? I don't know any companies with in-house literary

Personally, for that reason, I'd exclude even amusing names like Phil
O'Dendron, but in general I agree strongly with Sue Gallagher's image
of "me the book." The book shouldn't say "Help, I'm a creative genius
cruelly consigned to technical writing." It should be conversational
for the sake of comfortable reading. It should say, "I was born
just to help you."
Mark L. Levinson, SEE Technologies, Box 544, Herzlia, Israel
mark -at- matis -dot- ingr -dot- com | voice +972-9-584684, ext. 230 | fax +972-9-543917

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