Re: Humor in Technical Documents

Subject: Re: Humor in Technical Documents
From: Mike Starr <mike -dot- starr -at- PLATINUM -dot- COM>
Date: Thu, 24 Sep 1998 10:52:10 -0500

Hope the email formatting of this reply isn't too dreadful; none of the email
clients I've ever used is well suited to replying to the digest form of a
mailing list and Notes is one of the lamest.

I highly recommend that you track down a copy of the GIF Construction Set
Frequently Asked Questions document, dated March 14, 1997 from Alchemy
Mindworks. Sorry, I can't point you in the direction of where exactly on the
web I found it because I only have a printed copy but I suspect it shouldn't be
too difficult to track down. Another document that you might look for (and I
don't even have a printed copy of that one available here at the office) is
part of the documentation for Netscape Navigator Gold 3.1 (I think) in which
the author created a portion of the documentation as a letter to Mom,
explaining what he/she does to someone who's not at all computer savvy.
Terriffic piece.

Mike Starr

Although my title may connote more, I am really the ONLY writer/trainer
at a small startup software company. As such, one of my many
responsibilities is to implement some type of corporate standards for
all written materials. This translates not only into developing and/or
refining templates, but also into designing a style guide for
nonwriters. Because nonwriters will probably not pour over a style
guide just for fun, I'd like to make it fun (at least as fun as
guidelines for grammar, punctuation, formatting, etc. CAN be). I'm
thinking along the lines of Robin Cook's The Nondesigners Design Book,
which I consider a piece of work.

In general, I would like to see more humor used for all types of
technical materials even though I realize it can be disastrous (one
person's ha ha is another person's groan kind of thing). If anyone has
written, has wanted to write, or has read any technical document that
has even a smidgeon of humor in it, whether style guide, user guide,
training courseware, etc., could you pass along your views, ideas,
sources, anything relevant?

Kris Beer

From ??? -at- ??? Sun Jan 00 00:00:00 0000=

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