Re: Using Humor Judiciously

Subject: Re: Using Humor Judiciously
From: Len Olszewski <saslpo -at- UNX -dot- SAS -dot- COM>
Date: Mon, 20 May 1996 19:48:15 GMT

In article <Chameleon -dot- 960520140641 -dot- ejray -at- ejray -dot- ionet -dot- net>, Eric Ray
<ejray -at- IONET -dot- NET> writes:


|> I know I'd rather have some humor in a book I
|> buy, but wouldn't want it in the "documentation"
|> for a product. What do the rest of you think?

That's a good yardstick; keep it out of primary product doc. Aside from
being hard to translate mechanically, humor plays in radically different
ways to different cultural or ethnic groups, so you are on shaky ground
if you ship your doc internationally. And humor also strikes a lot of
people differently even in the US. Why risk annoying your customers?

Discretionary books are a different story. You don't have a "captive"
audience like you do for primary doc. Be as funny as you want there;
people who dislike your humor just won't buy your documentation. And
when they don't, your humor might not seem as funny as it did when you
wrote it.

I like humor. However, I would look very closely at including it in
technical material of any kind. There is very little to gain in clarity,
and lot of risk to your commerce.

Len Olszewski My opinions; you go get your own.
saslpo -at- unx -dot- sas -dot- com

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