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Subject:I Started It, So I Finish It From:Moshe Koenig <alsacien -at- NETVISION -dot- NET -dot- IL> Date:Mon, 12 Aug 1996 16:43:28 PDT
Robert and Shmuel,
Since the two of you seem to be fighting over me (I'm married with
children, you know), let me interject a bit.
>Moshe suggested that technical writing be DEFINED as having an
I didn't. I did say that the writer becomes invisible, that the
writing must be transparent. That doesn't define technical writing
as the Invisible Writer Syndrome (hereafter "IWS"). It means that
the writer's individual style is not the piece de resistance. As
a writer who published long before he ever turned to technical
documentation, I can affirm that it requires a lot of control and
discipline to "standardize" writing to make it clear enough to
treat all readers with respect and yet at the same time to make
no suppositions regarding the reader's ability to comprehend.
Shmuel spoke of scenery upstaging actors as an analogy to the
point I was raising. That was what I meant. I was definitely not
making any other point. Unfortunately, I have had some customers
who have been so infatuated with technological advances that they
have insisted that I overburden my documentation with them. This
problem is particularly noticeable in interactive media. Some
customers have been so in love with hypersegmented graphics and
hypertext jumps, not to mention links to external programs and
DLL files, that I often had to create online Help projects that
were more massive than the software products they were describing.
I cannot agree with the thinking that goes with such planning,
but it's hard to tell a customer to give up his/her toys. I once
said that it's a wonder they don't have me use multimedia tools
to present Who Framed Roger Rabbit!
Robert also wrote:
>If something is both sometimes false, and also true by definition,
>there's something seriously cockeyed going on.
I notice that Shmuel didn't touch the remark, probably because he is
also located in Israel. In Israel, this sort of doublethink is daily
reality for us. Just because something is false doesn't mean it can't
be true in the Middle East. If that sounds "cockeyed", it's just the
culture gap speaking.
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