Sanity check

Subject: Sanity check
From: David Hailey <FAHAILEY -at- WPO -dot- HASS -dot- USU -dot- EDU>
Date: Mon, 26 Aug 1996 12:04:28 -0600

Hi everybody,

I have a quick question. I would like to check your levels
of agreement with my understanding of the philosophical and
rhetorical natures of help files.

It seems to me that the primary purpose of the help file is
to instruct, and/or inform (without splitting hairs over
whether these are synonyms).

BUT (excuse me for shouting) it seems to me that important
secondary purposes include things such comforting,
encouraging; convincing the user that the software
developer, the software, and the user are all members on a
highly successful team.

Effective writing will provide the user with the best
information in the best configuration, but will also apply
rhetorical tools toward establishing a lasting, friendly,
and professional relationship with the user.

To what extent do you consider this true? And (if you think
this is true) what rhetorical tools to you apply and to what
extent do you apply them?

Dave Hailey
fahailey -at- wpo -dot- hass -dot- usu -dot- edu
Assistant Professor
Professional Writing/Hypermedia
Utah State University

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