Re: RTFineM

Subject: Re: RTFineM
From: Caryn Rizell <caryn -at- HPPTC95 -dot- ROSE -dot- HP -dot- COM>
Date: Thu, 6 Oct 1994 13:30:29 PDT

Forgive the ignorance, but:

What is RTFMing?

I think I came in on the middle of this discussion, so
probably missed the meaning.

Please let me in on this new term!

Caryn Rizell

> > Patrick Brian O'Connell said:
> > "OK, time for a show of hands.
> > Who doesn't RTFM for the tools they use -- unless absolutely
> > necessary -- but writes manuals for other ones (IMHO all
> > programs are tools of one kind or another) notwithstanding?

> I've just joined the discussion, but are we drawing a distinction between
> not RTFMing for tools we use and calling Tech Support instead, or not
> RTFMing for the tools we use and experimenting with them to learn the facts
> instead? In the former case, we might deserve a wrist slap; in the latter,
> so long as the tool permits safe experimentation, I don't see a reason for
> us to be ashamed, even if we do write manuals for other tools.

> My response is part of my evolving perception of the task to which a tech
> writer is charged, which I'd call a "journey to design." In my work for
> three wildly-different companies in five years, I've found my position to
> be always in a progression from production-stage work (furiously writing a
> handbook of product functions before it is shipped) through
> development-stage work (writing the handbook while the product is being
> completed, using a style guide or old handbook to satisfy design questions)
> to design-stage work (crafting the product to suit its intended use, based
> on experience gained from bad design I observed in the first two stages).
> The design-stage work is curious in that I try to make the need for a
> manual obsolete and the product functions self-evident. After a fashion, I
> try to *eliminate* the manual. Should I be ashamed?

> -------------------------------
> Quod erat demonstrandum
> Erik Harris
> ewh -at- plaza -dot- ds -dot- adp -dot- com (weekdays)
> TrinityPlc -at- aol -dot- com (home)

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