TechWhirl (TECHWR-L) is a resource for technical writing and technical communications professionals of all experience levels and in all industries to share their experiences and acquire information.
For two decades, technical communicators have turned to TechWhirl to ask and answer questions about the always-changing world of technical communications, such as tools, skills, career paths, methodologies, and emerging industries. The TechWhirl Archives and magazine, created for, by and about technical writers, offer a wealth of knowledge to everyone with an interest in any aspect of technical communications.
Subject:Re: Style Guide or Style Edict? From:Lisa Higgins <lisa -at- DRDDO1 -dot- EI -dot- LUCENT -dot- COM> Date:Thu, 16 Jan 1997 12:30:11 +0000
Rikki Nyman wrote:
> How are style guides used at your company? Ours falls under the
> draconian "you must do it this way" approach -- the result is a fair
> number of writers and editors who deliberately (and defiantly) do what
> ever they think is appropriate. Do you use a guide as a basic direction
> or is it cast in stone?
Well, I am currently doing whatever I want, but it's OK because
nobody here has done what I'm doing before. (Which is part of my
point--a stricter set of rules might require me to spooge my
material into a completely inappropriate format.)
Actually, I have been in many situations over the past ten years.
Some companies have no style guides at all, some have a sort of
nebulous "make this look kinda like this" direction, all the way to
something along the lines of a government style, which dictates what
information each paragraph of a manual must contain (most corporate
requirements documents look like this, too).
Different people are comfortable with different levels of direction
as far as style guides go. I like a style guide that lets me use some
degree of judgement over how I present different types of
information. Some people don't want to bother with that, and just
want the rules. That is why I think it's an important question to ask.