Re: Reading a draft "for content only"

Subject: Re: Reading a draft "for content only"
From: Richard Lippincott <rlippinc -at- BEV -dot- ETN -dot- COM>
Date: Wed, 8 Feb 1995 15:18:03 EST

Arthur Comings asked:

>Why this insistance that someone could ever read for "content only" ?

I can. In fact, I did for five years, as a "Validator" at an aerospace company.

As specified in Mil-Specs, every tech manual required full valida-
tion. That's a line-by-line review of the technical content, proce-
dures are demonstrated in front of government witnesses, text is
compared to the original engineering data.

At this company, the validation phase took place prior to the edit
phase, so I was getting text with spelling and grammar errors.

I'd have to write, as a formal report, a precise description of every
technical error in the manual, as well as include the correct data.
("Page 235, paragraph 15, change 130 VDC to 120 VDC.")

At the end of the validation report, I was required to do an error per
page analysis, it was the number of pages divided by the number
of errors. This report went to management, and yes they consid-
ered such things when raise time came along. As a result, any
time I'd point up a spelling or grammar error, writers would howl
with anger. I was driving up their error counts at the validation
phase, when they were still refining the text prior to submission to
the edit phase.

The validators were given a specific instruction to disregard "edit"
problems, and simply to report the technical errors. So we did. Did
I see them? Sure I did. Did I resist the temptation to write them
down? Most certainly.

So, it's quite possible to read for "content only." My greater con-
cern (as originally expressed at the beginning of this thread) was
an ongoing, annoying problem. I'll submit the manuscript for
review by the subject matter expert, and instead of getting a "con-
tent only" review I get a "content zero" review. A few commas and
typos get touched up, but I still don't know if I got the procedures
correct. -That's- a big problem, and I don't have an easy solution.

Rick Lippincott
Eaton Semiconductor
Beverly, MA
rlippinc -at- bev -dot- etn -dot- com


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