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Subject:Re: The word "documentation" From:Mark Dempsey <mxd2 -at- OSI -dot- COM> Date:Thu, 25 Jun 1998 13:04:10 -0700
I was chagrinned to find Websters has technical guides as the fourth
definition for documentation. I suppose even Webster must bow to public
The reason I don't like "documentation," "implementation," "in order
to," and many more tormented locutions in technical writing is that,
typically, readers are already struggling enough to understand what the
manual is about. Having to hurdle thousands large, jargon-filled
sentences will really make their eyes glaze over. Professor Strunk
(Strunk & White's "Elements of Style") had it right when he said: "Omit
needless words." (Corollary: "If it ain't data, don't draw it." --thanx
to E. Tufte.)
As for OSI pay, David, make me an offer. You can be my BATNA....
David Warren wrote:
> YES! Most of us create *documents* and not *documentation*!
> *Documentation* sounds like one of those bastardized attempted
> collective nouns pretending to be adjectives, such as *graphical*
> instead of *graphic*.
> However, I would not react so strongly to *software documentation*,
> although it is a little frustrating mentally to override years of
> exposure to industry jargon.
> Now if Mark can just get David Friedman et al to raise the t/w pay
> rates at OSI/Folsom to those of the engineers....say "Howdy" to Jim
> Grant for me, if he's still there....
> David T. Warren
> Pubs. Mgr., Nextel
> ______________________________ Reply Separator _________________________________
> Subject: The word "documentation"
> Author: Mark Dempsey <mxd2 -at- OSI -dot- COM> at INTERNET
> Date: 6/23/98 12:33 PM
> Websters' first (and most applicable) definition for "documentation" is
> this: "the act or an instance of furnishing or authenticating with
> It's always annoyed me that this perfectly good noun has also been used
> to described manuals, guides, etc. "Documentation" is the *act* of
> writing manuals, according to Websters, not the manuals themselves.
> I write to see if you'll at least hesitate before calling the product of
> your efforts the "d" word, and call them "manuals" or "guides." It'd be
> just one less annoying thing in this world, for me at least...
> -- mailto:Mark -dot- Dempsey -at- osi -dot- com
> -- Mark Dempsey
-- mailto:Mark -dot- Dempsey -at- osi -dot- com
-- Mark Dempsey
-- Technical Publications
-- Objective Systems Integrators
-- 101 Blue Ravine Rd, Folsom, CA 95630
-- 916.353.2400 x 4777