Re: Basic rules of technical writing

Subject: Re: Basic rules of technical writing
From: "Bonni J. Graham" <bgraham -at- ELECTRICITI -dot- COM>
Date: Fri, 23 Dec 1994 10:02:27 PST

Laura looks at the "golden rules"
": > 4. Make it technically correct, unless that interferes with Rule 1, 2,
: > 3.

: I wholeheartedly agree with 1, 2, and 3.

: I disagree with 4, depending on the context.

Yeah. My mouth dropped open when I hit 4 and is still hanging open. Some
of my stuff would be a LOT more understandable if I didn't worry about
making it technically correct, but it would also be useless."

It's interesting how different people read things. I read Rule 4 and
assumed we were talking about unnecessary detail. For instance. say you a
device that transmits disk files over fax lines (it exists -- it's called a
FISK, and lets you send a disk as easily as you can send a fax). In order
to transmit the files, the FISK translates them into a compressed binary
format, sends them, then the receiving FISK decompresses them and
translates them back into their original format. The user really doesn't
need to know this, even though it's technically accurate. Saying "The FISK
transmits your files" is not totally accurate (as described above, it's
more complicated than that), but it is understandable.

I don't think the original poster (sorry, I've lost the original post)
meant that we can just make stuff up, tempting though that may be.

Bonni Graham
Manual Labour
Director, Region 8 Conference
bgraham -at- electriciti -dot- com

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