Re: Not allowed to change templates?

Subject: Re: Not allowed to change templates?
From: Tracy Shelby <TShelby -at- NSISW -dot- COM>
Date: Tue, 5 May 1998 11:06:42 -0500

I think a lot of people are missing the point. The originator of the
question does not want a new tag because of personal formatting
preference, but because there is information that needs to be displayed
that does not fit the mold, so to speak. I, too, worked at a company
that had tight reigns on the templates, and ever so often I came across
information that just didn't fit into the formats. When I first started,
I just did the best I could, using the available formats (this means
that the information was not displayed as effectively as it could have
been). Then I discovered that the other writers in the department were
creating formats when it was required, so started to do the same thing.
So the collection of guides for the department varied by 5%-10% in
formatting, the basic formats were the same. None of us were creating
square bullets when the template had round, that would have been a real
breech of the template. I'm with the other writers who suggest that you
go ahead and create the format and ask for forgiveness later. My
experience is that a new format is not even given a second glance and
that nobody will notice.

Tracy Shelby
NSI Software Technical Writer
630.357.8110 tshelby -at- nsisw -dot- com
"Don't Worry, Be Happy"

There are a lot of reasons why it's a good idea to control templates.
One or two extra styles here and there multiplied by several writers,
multiplied by sharing documents between writers, multiplied by the long
life of many documents, can result in documents that can be very
confusing to a new writer to a department, or, more importantly,
difficult for a translator to handle.

You also end up with inconsistencies in text formatting; a typical
reason why a writer invents a new style is to support a typographic
convention that he or she likes, but is not part of the style guide. The
"I've always done it this way" approach. This also becomes confusing to
new writers and difficult for translators. For example, if there are 10
ways to format a bulleted list, which is the standard and which are
deviations based on writers' whims?

- Scott Miller
smiller -at- portal -dot- com

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