Good doc, bad doc

Subject: Good doc, bad doc
From: "Bonni J. Graham" <bgraham -at- ELECTRICITI -dot- COM>
Date: Thu, 21 Jul 1994 00:54:44 PST

Marilynne says:
"As for errors and complaints about the documentation, I don't feel
responsible for telling you what's wrong with the book. I know that's
rotten, but I don't get paid for it. I don't get a polite note of thanks.
I don't get a copy of the revised book (if in fact someone does revise it).
There's no incentive for me to write and tell you what I think needs to be

Two things on this:
1) I always note the fact if I receive bad service or bad product (I don't
want to say complain, because I try to phrase it as a note, instead). I
feel that I ultimately get paid for it by an improved product or service.
But that's totally personal.

2) The fact that there's no reward is, I feel, a problem with the system.
There are plenty of rewards our company's could offer at relatively little
cost to them. The "leftover" logoed stuff is a good example. Even a thank
you note, as Marilynne mentioned, would be a start.

Another solution is to send the doc out with beta testing software and get
the beta coordinator to check up on it. I don't know how other companies
do this, but the first co. I worked for was very involved with its beta
sites (probably one of the only development process things they did right,
actually). We had a coordinator who called each site once a week and
checked on progress. I sent the site doc questionnaires every other week.
If we didn't get any back, that was top on the list of questions the
coordinator asked. At the end of the cycle, the beta sites sent back a
packet of stuff, including an index form that listed all the terms they
looked up but couldn't find (and if they found them eventually, and under
what name). I wasn't always given them time to incorporate their
suggestions (and to be honest, some of them were mutually exclusive), but
at leats we could somewhat measure what people were looking for.

Hope that helps!
Bonni Graham
Manual Labour
Director, Region 8 Conference
bgraham -at- electriciti -dot- com

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