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Watch out for the two schools of minimalism floating around: the real
school and the fake one.
The fake school of minimalism just cuts the documentation to some
arbitrary length. One can always cut one's documentation 90% by
simply dropping 90% of the material on the floor and leaving the
readers in the lurch.
The real school of minimalism does more with less. Express the basic
concepts clearly, itemize all the building blocks, give a couple of
examples of how they can be put together, and stop.
Perhaps the ultimately minimalist user's guide was that printed
on the coin-op version of Atari's PONG, which consisted of two
"1. Insert coin.
2. Avoid missing ball for high score."
The second sentence is backwards-constructed, but I admire the whole
idea of using only eight words to describe how to play the first
electronic video game that most people had ever seen, and which
was completely outside their experience.
Robert Plamondon, High-Tech Technical Writing, Inc.
36475 Norton Creek Road * Blodgett * Oregon * 97326
robert -at- plamondon -dot- com * (541) 453-5841 * Fax: (541) 453-4139