One doc for each user ?

Subject: One doc for each user ?
From: Frederic Wronecki <frederic -dot- wronecki -at- WANADOO -dot- FR>
Date: Wed, 24 Jul 1996 14:23:57 -0700

Ideally, a technical document should address one, and only one,
category of users.

But there are cases when a significant proportion of the
information must be simultaneously provided to all the categories.

It seems then difficult to compel writers (*) to design
different documents if the common core represents the biggest
part of each one.

I'm trying to set up a guideline for this.

I proposed the following rule :
Make one common document if, and only if :
- the common core represents at least three quarters (circa)
of the document ;
- AND you can display without any ambiguity (via typographical
attributes) which blocks of information address
which categories of users.

Some colleagues rated this "irrealistic", impossible
to implement and to check.

Any experience would be appreciated.

(*) to understand our background : we have no specialized
tech writers, technical documents are written by SME
(don't tell me this is not ideal, I know...)
who are naturally prone to making - and maintaining -
as few documents as possible.
Frederic Wronecki
France Telecom, Paris, France
mailto:frederic -dot- wronecki -at- wanadoo -dot- fr

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