Re: Numbering

Subject: Re: Numbering
From: Loren Castro <lfc -at- SOL -dot- CHINALAKE -dot- NAVY -dot- MIL>
Date: Fri, 27 Oct 1995 09:35:50 -0700

This is starting to get long, but I'm repeating an entire post
for background.

Start of repeated post.

In a message dated 95-10-25 10:59:05 EDT, jposada -at- NOTES -dot- CC -dot- BELLCORE -dot- COM (John
Posada) wrote:

>Would I have been able to put a 2.1 if I hadn't used a 2.2?

Loren Castro <lfc -at- SOL -dot- CHINALAKE -dot- NAVY -dot- MIL> wrote
> I identify Section 2 (for example) as 2 (or 2.0) <SECTION HEADING>,
> and I have no text under this heading if I can help it. That means
> that I must have a paragraph 2.1 if I want to write anything even if
> I don't have a paragraph 2.2. This might conflict with what we learned
> in grammer school, but I like it.

Beverly Parks <bparks -at- HUACHUCA-EMH1 -dot- ARMY -dot- MIL> added:

>Having come up through the clerical ranks 20 years ago, one of
>the first things pounded into my head was that in government
>writing, if you have a paragraph 1 (or a.) you *must* have a
>paragraph 2 (or b.). As someone else alluded to in a post, this
>is probably an archaic rule begging to be broken.

I don't agree that the "rule" is archaic. If you are tempted to use 2.1 but
not 2.2, you probably need to rethink your 2.0 heading and combine it with
2.1. Headings should help users find information as quickly as possible.
Having a heading just for headings sake doesn't provide users with any
additional information. IMHO, the fewer words you can use to effectively
communicate information, the more useful and concise the documentation will
be. Just another opinion to add to the pot.

rgriebel -at- is -dot- alltel -dot- com

End of repeated post.


We're dealing with government numbering, and I think that John was
concerned about complying with government standards. I'll provide
an example from real life.

A typical Data Item Description (DID) for DOD-STD-2167A (titled
"Defense System Software Development") requires a Section 2 for
listing references:

Applicable documents. This section shall be numbered 2
and shall be divided into the following paragraphs.

Government documents. This paragraph shall be numbered 2.1.
<details deleted>

Non-Government documents. This paragraph shall be numbered
2.2 . . . . <details deleted>

The DID does not require text under the section heading, and I supply
none. And being small minded and an extremist for consistency, I don't
write text under any other section headings.

If I don't refer to any "non-Government documents" in the document I'm
writing, I don't need a paragraph 2.2. But if I refer to "Government
documents, I still need a paragraph 2.1. The DID requires it.

A simple way to satisfy everybody is to write a paragraph like this:

2.2 Non-Government documents. None.

I would do this only if I had to provide a paragraph 2.3 to satisfy a
requirement in the DID.

Well, that's my story, and I'm stuck with it. It's a different world

lfc -at- sol -dot- chinalake -dot- navy -dot- mil

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