Re: Ego

Subject: Re: Ego
From: Corinne Stefanick <Temp2%GMP%Chiron -at- LARRY -dot- CHIRON -dot- COM>
Date: Wed, 10 Nov 1993 11:32:15 PST

Regarding ego and humor in our manuals, my feeling is that it can be quite
dangerous if not carefully edited. I worked at a large hospital automation
company and programmers testing the system entered inappropriate information
in fields on the screens just to entertain themselves. For example, an accounts
payable screen went through showing purchase of several hundred pounds of
cocaine purchased from individuals with Italian names -- offensive stuff.

Other screens with patient diagnosis data entered showed some
fantastic and disgusting diseases. And these manuals were used as marketing
pieces! We in the doc dept were apalled and got blamed for not catching it.
In response, we had to double up our editing efforts and adopt a cop-like,
no-nonsense persona.

This of course is an extreme example of how things can get out of control,
and when writers are responsible for screen capture and design, they can
control this. But one person's joke is another person's insult, and humor
has to be handled very carefully -- especially if the product is to be
exported to other cultures who don't get the humor or innuendo involved.
And that's another topic for discussion...writing English for the most
efficient translation into other languages....

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