Re: Educating the Reader (started off being about the #)

Subject: Re: Educating the Reader (started off being about the #)
From: Beth Agnew <bagnew -at- INSYSTEMS -dot- COM>
Date: Mon, 23 Nov 1998 16:17:16 -0500

Doug Nickerson wrote: "But this 'knowledge transmission' : Isn't it
dangerously close to
educating the reader? And if you educate the reader beyond what he/she needs
to know to run the machine, aren't you being discriminatory -- using your
own discrimination about what the reader should know? :-) "

I confess. Educating the reader is one of my bad habits. Am I
discriminatory? You bet. But, hey, I'm a maverick. It's my mission in life
to make smarter users. Kinda like panning for gold, wouldn't you say? <vbg>
Quite possibly a futile gesture.

I know we're not writing textbooks, but I find that if I give the users some
context, and a little conceptual information along with the procedural info,
it prepares them to be able to make the cognitive leaps toward solving their
own problems.

It's a strange kind of reverse food chain: I want eventually to put customer
support out of business, and I want our developers to put me out of


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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