Re: False Minimalism

Subject: Re: False Minimalism
From: Robert Plamondon <robert -at- PLAMONDON -dot- COM>
Date: Tue, 28 Jan 1997 07:31:58 PST

> Robert Plamondon described my summary of Leo Rosten's joke
> as "false minimalism". Gee, Robert... I thought that was
> _my_ point! <gdr> Minimalism isn't about cutting the
> redundant, it's about cutting what's superfluous, as you
> noted. Distinguishing between the two is the tricky part.

I wonder if all this talk about minimalism is a reaction to the
"maximalism" of technical writing, which was a fad in the 1980s.
The idea of maximalism was to document every step, no matter how
obvious, in excruciating detail.

I don't understand maximalism. Sure, the books make you drowsy, but
they're too heavy to read in bed, so they're not practical as an
insomnia cure. Sure, they hide or omit all useful information,
preferring to spend three pages telling you how to insert a floppy
disc into a drive, but the same goal can be accomplished with far
less effort.

In fact, I'm pretty sure that the people who loved maximalism in the
Eighties are now the most vigorous proponents of false minimalism
in the Nineties. They've discovered they can be just as useless in
fewer pages. I've got a lot of manuals like that.

-- Robert
--
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

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