FUNNY: Results: 2 vs 6

Subject: FUNNY: Results: 2 vs 6
From: Andrew Plato <intrepid_es -at- YAHOO -dot- COM>
Date: Mon, 21 Dec 1998 10:38:53 -0800

Hi gang. I have been super busy for the past five months developing
the Office Products You May Touch process guides at my company.
However, I have a few moments I thought I would summarize our last
debate between the number 2 and the number 6.

Hands down the winner was 6. Most of the people who responded found
the number 6 to be an elegant and flexible number. Moreover, 6 is a
perfect fit between 5 and 7. Other numbers simply do not seem to
provide the depth and character for a post 5 solution. Technical
communicators are by and large very fond of 6 over 2.

Many respondents found 2 to be a lessor number. As Tanner Natwhacker
of Eeyak Systems said ?I find 2 about 3 times less effective as 6.?
And Marion Sanctimonia of Treacherous Information Systems Inc said ?6
is just so much more user friendly for my needs. I also adore using
it with 9 as does my husband.?

I too agree with many of the respondents. While 6 does not have the
market coverage like 2, it simply is a bigger and better number. I
also have found 6 of one and half a dozen of another, which is very
useful in my profession. Also, when 6 is used with the exceptionally
effective 8 attachment, you can 86 things.

2 on the other hand is a very popular number. Occupying a prime
location in the spectrum of numbers, 2 serves the pre-3 needs and
interfaces well with others like 1, 7, and the infamous 13. However,
2 lacks the sophistication of 6. Twice nothing is still nothing, and
that can really slow down the process of communicating when 2 heads is
better than one.

Also, 2 lacks the dimension we are all accustom to. Gretta Noog of
XNG Communications said ?I find 2 a little flat, simply lacking the
depth of 3. While 2 has the length and width I need for basic figures
and drawings, it does not go the distance to really communicate with

?I simply find 6 three times as effective as 2 when dealing with a
post 5 situation. I have tried other numbers like 5.25, but they do
not have the resonance of 6. I have been a technical communicator for
85 years and everyone I meet agrees with me.? Jim Letmetellyouhowitis
from Pretensia Consulting.

However, most technical communicators are stuck with 2 and thus have
to make do. Those that are fond of 2 note that 3 is a crowd but 2 is
perfect. Some also are quick to point out that 6 is a Prisoner to the
New Number 2.

Thank you all for participating in this lively and educational debate.
I think we have all learned that 6 is what we all want, but 2 is what
we often get. So, technical writers should not be afraid to use 2?s
when appropriate but 6?s are ideal.

Well, I better get back to work. I have to round up the writers for
our 746th class on how to write. In my 36 years of being a technical
communicator, you can never take enough classes in things you should
already know.

- Andrew Plato
Happy Holidays to all.
Eat, drink, be merry and commit some crimes.
Get your free address at

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