Re: Using Humor Judiciously

Subject: Re: Using Humor Judiciously
From: "Wollt, Richard C RV" <rcw1 -at- PO9 -dot- RV -dot- UNISYS -dot- COM>
Date: Mon, 20 May 1996 15:02:00 CDT

Eric asked:

|I'd be interested in hearing comments from anyone
|about judicious use of humor in documentation
|or books.

I think humor can be effective, but there is danger, especially if the
documentation is intended for use in other countries. Humor does not
translate well, whether the document is translated or read by someone who
thinks in his own tongue/culture while reading a document in another
language. There are even problems getting humor across the cultural gaps
between the various English speaking countries.

What appears hilarious to one may seem inane to another, and thus may
increase the appreciation of the document for one user, while destroying the
credibility for another user.

The " for Dummies" books are so written and titled, that they tend be
selected only by those users who can appreciate that style of humor.
Documentation supplied with a product, however, does not go through such a
selection process, so there is the risk of significantly greater

My 2 cents worth.

Richard Wollt
rcw1 -at- rsvl -dot- unisys -dot- com

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