Convicted for using a non-academic language ? (was: Hot Topics)

Subject: Convicted for using a non-academic language ? (was: Hot Topics)
From: "Peter Ring, PRC" <prc -at- PIP -dot- DKNET -dot- DK>
Date: Mon, 10 Mar 1997 09:11:51 +1

At Sun, 9 Mar 1997 Tim Altom wrote:

> Here's a conundrum...I once read a hypothetical (I THINK it was a
> hypothetical) situation in which a manual was reduced literally to nothing
> more than a comic book without even thought balloons to interrupt the
> graphical approach. Then, when a user was hurt by not following the
> instructions closely, he/she sued on the basis that any instructions that
> look like a comic book can't reasonably expect to be taken seriously, hence
> is containing its own seeds for being ignored. In other words, the more
> infantile we make our instructions, the more a user should be expected to
> look at those instructions as Capain Marvel tripe and ignore them. Taken to
> an extreme, a manual done in High Latin in an illuminated manuscript would
> unconditionally shield the manufacturer from liability of having his manual
> ignored. So, presumably, would a manual laid out to look like a 1040-A.

Please note, that the opposite situation is just as possible: a law
suit - e.g. through a labour union - that a manual was written in
such an academic language that it was unreadable for the worker and
his/her foreman (or for a consumer) so that THIS was responsible for
an accident.

Does ANYBODY know of ANY real law suit(s) following any of the
above cases and the result(s) of this/these law suits?

Greetings from Denmark

Peter Ring
PRC (Peter Ring Consultants)
- specialists in user friendly manuals and audits on manuals.
prc -at- pip -dot- dknet -dot- dk
- the "User Friendly Manuals" website with links, bibliography, list
of prof. associations, and tips for technical writers.

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