Subject: Clarification
From: Moshe Koenig <alsacien -at- NETVISION -dot- NET -dot- IL>
Date: Sat, 10 Aug 1996 10:08:38 PDT

In response to Robert Plamondon's remark that my definition of technical
writing is "strange": what I meant to say was that in good technical
writing, the writer's ego takes a back seat to conveying the information
in a clear fashion to the reader. It's not that "highly mannered"
documentation doesn't exist; it's just that the mannerisms are definitely
NOT the essence, only ornaments.

Currently I am documenting a product that is about to be released, and
there is no question that it is as "highly mannered" as you're going to
find, but there is a reason: the product calls itself "the database for
dummies". The manager of the company WANTED a rather whimsical manual
to create an attitude that the user did not have to be the nerdy kid
next door named Edgar who learned to count in hexadecimal base and
speaks only C++; the idea was to be informal, but that was because
the product is very intuitive and has to live down the reputation that
end-user database tools have acquired. There are justifications for
making documentation more individualistic, but that's not the ultimate
goal; it's a by-product of a more complex process.

- Moshe

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