Re: Best examples of ...

Subject: Re: Best examples of ...
From: Beth Agnew <bagnew -at- INSYSTEMS -dot- COM>
Date: Mon, 14 Sep 1998 16:33:08 -0400

Scott Miller wrote:
"You can also volunteer to be a judge for your local STC online
competition, if there is one. You may or may not see the greatest help
in the world, but by judging several entries you will learn a lot about
what makes a good help system. Also, you occasionally see something
awesome. One of the entries I judged last year went on to win the top
award in the International competition."

Not to say that winning entries didn't deserve their awards -- I'm sure many
of them did. However, I don't think that volunteering as a JUDGE is the best
way to learn what constitutes quality. It scares me to think that entries
might be judged by people who don't know what they're looking for. Sure,
you're provided criteria and given limited "training" but without experience
in the genre, you cannot differentiate between what "meets criteria" and
what is innovative. (Outstanding vs. dismal is much easier to discern.) As
an example, how many people complained about the lack of capitals in
headings until someone said it was "downstyle", and new, so it's okay? What
if someone's entry is based on new research that you know nothing about?
"Different" doesn't mean "bad".

I'd rather recommend people contact the winners of awards in their chapters
and arrange to see their work, rather than hold oneself up as a judge.

If you want to take issue with my heresy, kindly do so maturely, thanks.

Beth Agnew
Senior Technical Writer, InSystems Technologies Inc.
65 Allstate Parkway, Suite 100 Tel: (905) 513-1400 ext. 280
Markham, Ontario, Canada L3R 9X1 Fax: (905) 513-1419
mailto:bagnew -at- insystems -dot- com Visit us at:

See my friendly face at:

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