Re: Using names (was: Who's the author?)

Subject: Re: Using names (was: Who's the author?)
From: Seth Greenberg <SETH -at- ELNICE -dot- NICE -dot- COM>
Date: Wed, 15 Feb 1995 17:18:03 GT-0200


I think what Marguerite was trying to say (and you'll excuse me
Marguerite, if I am wrong) is that you should use names in
documents so that they clearly relay the concept being presented
in examples.

For example:

When you are describing the use of wildcards in a Window-based
search feature, you might suggest that the user specify the

B* J??

if the user wanted to locate names such as:

Burns Jim
Brown Jon and
Brady Jan

As long as it helps to explain the feature, it is
"meaningful to the user."

However, I would, at all costs avoid the names of
Star Trek characters (even Next Generation). In addition
to creative infringement, it'll just make your company
look like it's peopled by a bunch of technoweenie wireheads.
Date: Wed, 15 Feb 1995 09:27:00 EST
Reply-to: "Gray,Gary P" <GRAY -at- BOS -dot- MSMAIL -dot- IDX -dot- COM>
From: "Gray,Gary P" <GRAY -at- BOS -dot- MSMAIL -dot- IDX -dot- COM>
Subject: Re: Using names (was: Who's the author?)
To: Multiple recipients of list TECHWR-L
<TECHWR-L -at- VM1 -dot- ucc -dot- okstate -dot- edu>

Marguerite wrote

>Do as you will, folks, and I realize I'm probably in the minority here,
>but I STILL think that putting people's names (your own or someone
>else's, especially without their permission) into manuals is tacky and
>unprofessional. Examples are most helpful when they use names that are
>meaningful to the user, not ego trips for the writer/programmer.

Err... how do you do this in a user's manual? How can you tell what name
would be "meaningful" to the user? You don't know their names when you're
writing (at least I don't, and if you have that much knowledge about
your audience, I really envy you!) I assume here that people aren't
bending examples around just so they can put their name in a book.
But if you're going to use a name anyway, why not a real one? And
if you're using a real name, why not your own or a co-workers?

Granted, you should be careful. For example, on our medical billing
product, it would be really easy to give my co-workers all sorts of rather

nasty and probably embarrassing medical procedures to go through. But
we use people's names, or, in some cases, one person's first name and
another's last name. I don't think there's ever been a problem with it here.
And frankly, I see nothing whatsoever wrong with it.

--Seth Greenberg
seth -at- marketing -dot- nice -dot- com
Tel Aviv

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