Re: What about minimalism?

Subject: Re: What about minimalism?
From: Romay Jean Sitze <rositze -at- NMSU -dot- EDU>
Date: Wed, 5 Oct 1994 12:02:40 -0600

On Wed, 5 Oct 1994, Typo? What tpyo? 05-Oct-1994 1042 wrote:

> Research tells us that there is a difference between the act of
> reading to learn (as students do) and reading to do (as workers
> do). Too much technical documentation is written for students;
> we need to write for workers. There's plenty of anecdotal evi-
> dence that this is the case.

This is a good point. Perhaps this is a point we should look at more
closely. What are the differences in writing focus we should be
considering? What information do workers need that is currently missing
from most of the documentation available? Is there a way to address
both concerns more effectively in the same document? I, for instance,
occupy three roles: a worker, a teacher, and a student.

> That said, I've got to be honest about saying that my reaction
> to all the messages about not knowing a certain WP product despite
> the voluminous documentation is that I consider I have a significant
> competitive advantage over you because I have read the documentation.
> I have acquired the reputation of knowing how to use the tool,
> and people are beginning to come to me with questions, even though
> what I do is pull out the manuals and look up the information in the
> index. I guess that's what makes me proficient 8^)

I've had the same experience. I actually began using computers only two
years ago. Since then, I've used every means available to me to learn
more about what I'm doing: manuals, online documentation, and picking
brains of my sons, my friends, and anyone I can find who knows more than I
do. While no expert, I have a far better grasp of the tools available to
me in the various software programs I use than most of my acquaintances
today. And, like you, I am frequently approached by others wishing to
know how to use the tools. You will note that I did not rely totally on
any one approach.

> I'm writing this somewhat tongue in cheek (indeed, I'm writing it
> somewhat donut in cheek), but if more people realized the connection
> between the statement 'I don't know how to do something' and
> 'I don't read the documentation' we'd all be better off.

I really like this distinction. So true!

> Steve Jong
> Digital Equipment Corporation

> P.S.: I do not consider myself an expert in the tool 8^)

* RoMay Sitze rositze -at- nmsu -dot- edu *
* Mirrors should reflect a *
* little before throwing *
* back images. *
* -Jean Cocteau- *

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