Re: writing and liability

Subject: Re: writing and liability
From: rjl -at- BOSTECH -dot- COM
Date: Fri, 29 Mar 1996 09:54:35 EST

Phil Hey said:

>Marci Abels' comment reminds me of how the military issues manuals and
>revisions --
>with effective date, supersedure of previous manuals, and extensive notice of
>_user_ liability as the first entry. Obviously the military has made a
>united front
>effort to stand behind their manuals and, I presume, the writers.

Just a slight point of clarification: most of the tech manuals used by the
military are -not- written by the military. (Yes, the military does directly
employ tech communicators, Bev Parks on this list is one example.)

Documentation for DoD projects is generally written by civilian tech writers
working for the contracting companies. The contracts require that the
manuals be written in accordance with mil specs, and that's what drives the
revision date/effective page/supersedure format.

As for user liability, I've never seen any comments or disclaimers to that
effect (but I can only draw on the examples that I've seen or worked on,
but there is no user liability info that I know of. The closest I can find
is a boilerplate paragraph at the beginning of some flight manuals:

"The flight manual takes a 'positive approach' and normally states only what
you can do. Unusual operations or configurations are prohibited unless
specifically covered herein. Clearance must be obtained before any
questionable operation, which is not specifically permitted in this manual,
is attempted." (From T.O. 1A-10A-1)

Rick Lippincott
Boston Technology
Wakefield, MA
rjl -at- bostech -dot- com

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