Value of documentation

Subject: Value of documentation
From: geoff-h -at- MTL -dot- FERIC -dot- CA
Date: Tue, 10 Sep 1996 14:35:49 -0500

One of the myths of our profession is that documentation
represents a cost, not an asset. Janice (Ginny) Redish,
Judith Ramey and others are working hard to correct this
image by providing extensive "value-added" data. We still
have a way to go on this front, but at least we've started.

A second initiative should materialize soon. Some time
back, I noticed that various trade magazines (e.g.,
MacUser) would criticize only the worst documentation
abuses in their product reviews. I contacted a few
colleagues at STC and suggested that we should work with
magazines to make documentation quality an integral part of
product reviews. They leapt on the idea with shrill cries
of delight, but I haven't heard much since. It's only a
matter of time, though, until this initiative gets fully
underway, and once a few marketing VPs see their products
lose the coveted "editor's choice" award because of
inferior documentation, we'll start getting more attention.

Of course, there's always the danger that we'll simply be
blamed for something that's not our fault. Maybe it's time
to start creating a paper trail... just in case!

--Geoff Hart @8^{)} geoff-h -at- mtl -dot- feric -dot- ca
Disclaimer: Speaking for myself, not FERIC.

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