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.
Subject:Re: Fonts and other arguable issues From:"Dennis Hays/The Burden Lake Group, Ltd." <dlhays -at- IX -dot- NETCOM -dot- COM> Date:Sat, 6 Jul 1996 13:42:24 -0400
At 09:51 AM 7/6/96 -0700, Peter Gold wrote:
>Hey, kids! It's a long weekend, and nobody's working on deadline, so
>let's start a software product flame war and rehash all that old stuff!!
First, I am working over the weekend with a project due Monday evening---
As to Tim's query:
I worked on the start of New York's PIT-2000 system (Personal Income Tax)
where there were 7 or 8 full time writers producing documentation for all
phases of the project. Although I came into the project near the end of
Phase 1, I did argue for them to switch to Frame from Word 6. It was too
late to get them to do it and the State of New York, I believe, mandated the
use of Word.
I believe it's within my job description to notify project leaders,
management, client reps of the best tool for any job (of course, I feel I
have to be prepared to justify my stance).
I still believe Word was inappropriate for that use. It couldn't do what
needed to be done and the writers compromised design and use issues as a
result (graphics, conditional text, ToC, List of Figures, Tables, etc.). But
I did make it clear where I felt they were missing what could be done with a
different product such as Frame or Interleaf.
If a client wants you to do something that's absurd, do you walk, or do you
do it the client's way, knowing that your eventual user will be unable to
use the thing you've so lovingly crafted? To whom do we owe our final
allegiance? And to whom do we owe responsibility?
At the end of the day, I'm a "hired gun", one who has been brought in
because of my expertise to help with a project. If I feel Frame is not the
best choice for a project, that it may be over-kill, I'll say so; and if I
feel Word is not the best choice, again, it's my responsibility to make it
known. Whatever the final choice, I'll stay in the game so that I can assist
on getting the most out of the choice (choice as to s/w, design, grammar).
I'm responsible to those hiring me to give them my counsel, but I feel I
must say what I believe to be my best recommendations.
William Faulkner said in 1956 in an interview by Jean Stein; Writers at
Work; The Paris review Interviews:
<beginning of quote>The writer's only responsibility is to his art. He will
be completely ruthless if he is a good one. He has a dream. It anguishes him
so much he must get rid of it. He has no peace until then. Everything goes
by the board; honor, pride, decency, security, happiness, all, to get the
book written. If a writer has to rob his mother, he will not hesitate; the
"Ode on a Grecian Urn" is worth any number of old ladies.<end of quote>
So far, my mother is safe.
Dennis Hays\The Burden Lake Group, Ltd.
Voice: 518/477-6388 Fax: 518/477-5006
eMail: dlhays -at- ix -dot- netcom -dot- com
"God doesn't want you to be certain.
That's why He gave you a brain."
TECHWR-L List Information
To send a message about technical communication to 2500+ list readers,
E-mail to TECHWR-L -at- LISTSERV -dot- OKSTATE -dot- EDU -dot- Send administrative commands
ALL other questions or problems concerning the list
should go to the listowner, Eric Ray, at ejray -at- ionet -dot- net -dot-