Re: Conventions used in this manual

Subject: Re: Conventions used in this manual
From: Lisa Comeau <COMEAUL -at- CSA -dot- CA>
Date: Fri, 29 May 1998 10:00:06 -0400

It is my humble opinion, based on personal experience, that when *most* users pick up a manual, they don't read the "Conventions used in this manual" section.

However, *I* always read it, for several reasons:
1> to see what kind of standards other writers are using
2> to familiarize myself with the style and tone of the book
3> to see if there is anything I need to know
4> to ease myself into the manual
5> to get ideas about my writing from this author
6> because I'm anal

I *always* include this page in my manuals because

a) I'm anal
b) lots of people complain when it isn't there
c) there've *got* to be people like me who read them too
d) I try to use it to let people know that the symbols used denote different levels of importance, so when they're reading the instructions, they know what the *have* to read, and what they can skip.

If it's there, we give the audience a choice. If it isn't there, we're taking away their "right to know". (Hey, it may be a strong way of putting it, but you get the point.)

I would rather that someone screw up an entire system because they were "silly" enough to not read the part of the manual that says
"Text marked by a key symbol are NECESSARY considerations"
than screw it up because I didn't TELL them about it.

That's just my (anal retentive) two cents worth. :-)

Lisa Comeau
IS Super-User/Trainer
Canadian Standards Association
comeaul -at- csa -dot- ca




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