minimal does not equal minimalist and other comments

Subject: minimal does not equal minimalist and other comments
From: Fred Wersan <wersan -at- ZEUS -dot- MA30 -dot- BULL -dot- COM>
Date: Thu, 2 Jun 1994 15:57:46 EDT

LaVonna writes:

The "minimalist" information (Closes the current window) is a
sentence fragment, but I'm trying to convince myself that this
is indeed the best method because simpler is better.


Comment 1:

LaVonna put minimalist in quotes. I'm guessing she means it as "not much". I
am writing because there is the potential of confusing this sort of construc-
tion with the minimalist approach to documentation as defined by Carroll, which
as I understand it means giving a reader enough to get started and help them out
of scrapes, but not leading them around by the hand. (to oversimplify) I just
want to avoid having people confuse the two.

Comment 2:

I think on-line doc should be concise and clear. This may equal
simpler, but it may not. Although I use sentence fragments in certain parts of
my writing - usually the kinds of constructions LaVonna uses as an example, I
am starting to drift away from them. Why? The stuff I'm writing lately is
ending up mostly in Europe. Everything I've read indicates that we do our
readers a disservice by using sentence fragments because leaving out pieces of
the sentence may make it harder for people to read, especially those whose
English is not so good.

The difference in screen real estate between:
Closes the current window.
The Close command closes the current window.
is trivial. So don't make your decision based on how much space the construc-
tion will take up. Make it on how well it will convey the information to the

Fred Wersan

Fred Wersan
Quest Engineering Solutions
Documentation Services
300 Concord Rd.
Billerica, Mass. 01821
wersan -at- ma30 -dot- bull -dot- com

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