Re: "It Ain't Literature, Y'know" (#740579)

Subject: Re: "It Ain't Literature, Y'know" (#740579)
From: Bill Burns <wburns -at- MICRON -dot- COM>
Date: Wed, 7 Aug 1996 14:12:14 -0600

7-AUG-1996 12:47:01.37
Robert writes:


>1. Pound the nail into the wall. Use a hammer. [The triviality of these
> examples really detracts from the points we're trying to make, don't
> you think?]

>But not:

>4. Cut the red wire leading to the detonator assembly. But first, ground
> the blue wire.

Someone else (didn't see a sig) wrote:

>A more liberal (modern?) approach is to assume the
>reader knows their tools and simply state the task:
>"Pound the nail in the wall." As an ex-technician and
>reader of hardware manuals, I personally prefer this
>style. Telling me which tool to use was irritating and

After hearing some feedback from our technicians (and from
the additional support for this idea that I'm seeing here),
I'm beginning to sway toward this style for more technical

I recently heard a friend (a former manufacturing engineer in
the aerospace industry) say that he always writes instructions
in narrative form and thinks that numbered instructional steps strike
him as condescending. I find this position pretty strange because
it goes against most of the conventions I've seen in practice.
Has anyone else heard such suggestions, or does anyone else
practice this method?

Bill Burns
Assembly Training and Documentation Supervisor

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