TechWhirl (TECHWR-L) is a resource for technical writing and technical communications professionals of all experience levels and in all industries to share their experiences and acquire information.
For two decades, technical communicators have turned to TechWhirl to ask and answer questions about the always-changing world of technical communications, such as tools, skills, career paths, methodologies, and emerging industries. The TechWhirl Archives and magazine, created for, by and about technical writers, offer a wealth of knowledge to everyone with an interest in any aspect of technical communications.
Danna McLaughlin asks the following questions:
>Has anyone out there dealt with these issues?
>Has anyone developed a set of standards from scratch? If so, how did you go
>Should this be a democratic event, or should one person lay down the law?
>How much leeway should an individual writer have when it comes to wording?
I created a standards manual (writer's guide) from scratch using concepts that
work for our department, ideas for formatting that have been around for a while
(use of a two column format, one for titles and the other for text), and common
sense stuff. Certain things must be standardized, your standards may vary from
ours, but if they work for you, who cares. As an example, we use "type" to
indicate exactly what a user should type into a field. If the input values are
not explicit, we write, "enter" the xxxx into the yyy field. Most importantly,
all of these items of convention are documented in the standards manual and
referenced in the "Document Conventions" section of our documentation.
Regarding democratic/dictatorial methods for creating a style guide; when you
get buy-in from other writers on standards, it makes enforcement of them much
david dubin -at- notes -dot- pw -dot- com@Internet