Re: Was Pros and Cons of including writer's name; now conventions used

Subject: Re: Was Pros and Cons of including writer's name; now conventions used
From: Scott Miller <smiller -at- CORP -dot- PORTAL -dot- COM>
Date: Thu, 28 May 1998 15:57:17 -0700

You bet, assumptions kill, but, for example, will someone be confused by
or misunderstand "press BACKSPACE" unless they know that key names are
presented in all caps? Isn't it more likely that upon seeing two or
three key names they will realize that, aha! key names are in all caps?

Also, the tech writer's job is also to present information succinctly
and precisely, which means cutting out useless information that clogs
the pipes.

I can almost see the need for user input conventions, for example, bold
means type it exactly, italics means type your specific variable, but as
Lisa pointed out, the way you do that is by writing it so it's clear
which is which, especially since nobody reads "Conventions Used in this
Manual." And why don't they read it? Because it's full of "key names are
in all caps... menu names are in regular text..." Sheesh, might as well
get into "This book is set in Times New Roman, a typeface of muscular
simplicity, reminiscent of the durable Dutch faces blah blah blah...."

- Scott Miller
smiller -at- portal -dot- com
> It seems to me that to consider ANYTHING _self-evident_ is one of the
> stickiest tar babies by which a tech writer can be caught. One of the
> first rules I learned was that if something can be mis-understood it
> will be. The tech writer's job, as I see it anyway, is to make
> something
> as impossible to mis-understand as possible. Sorry, Scott, I have to
> differ.

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