Re: Online/print

Subject: Re: Online/print
From: mpriestley -at- VNET -dot- IBM -dot- COM
Date: Thu, 29 Sep 1994 14:58:46 EDT

Marilynne Smith writes:
>My personal "awful help screen award" goes to OS/2 for it's help screens
>that say something like "The printer will print your file" as the first
>level of help. Apologies to the IBM writers. I know you are working from a
>set of rules to write by.

The set of rules explicitly forbid that kind of shoddy writing.
Are you sure it was OS/2 help, not vendor help? The help for the printer on my
desktop (help which _is_ provided by IBM) is a marvel of clear accessible
prose, with links to more in-depth info as well (select Help from its popup
menu to see what I mean).

I do want to make one thing _very_ clear: IBM writers do have guidelines to
work from. In my educated not-so-humble opinion, they're decent, consistent,
thoughtful, and useful. They are not government guidelines. They are
not consistency for consistency's sake. Inasmuch as there is bad writing
coming out of IBM (and I doubt there's much), it's despite guidelines, not
because of them.

Hmm - just checked the Enhanced Editor that comes with OS/2. Were you
objecting to its "Print file..." help? "Use _Print file_ to print the
current file." I agree, it's too short, should say "Select" instead of "Use",
and should have a link to the help for the Printer options window, which has
a good, clear, task-oriented (first-level) help. That one particular help,
though, _is_ deficient. And it doesn't meet the guidelines either.

Just to check - did we already have this discussion, or was it someone else?
Last time, most of the objections were to help provided with applications
that run on OS/2, but weren't written by IBM. Would you blame Microsoft
for Coreldraw help on Windows?

From an OS/2 bigot and IBM Information Developer,

Michael Priestley
mpriestley -at- vnet -dot- ibm -dot- com
Disclaimer: speaking on my own behalf, not IBM's.

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