Re: Style Manuals

Subject: Re: Style Manuals
From: John Posada <john -at- TDANDW -dot- COM>
Date: Wed, 3 Feb 1999 10:03:45 -0500


I'm no more a disciple of MS as I am for any other company.

However, many companies have their own guidelines when creating
documentation for their product. It is not unusual and almost expected.
When you start a job or contract at a new company, don't you ask if they
have a guide and if they say no, don't you feel it odd?

If you work at a company writing documentation for their product, you
use their styleguide.

MS just happens to have a large range of products and a wide range of
sources for creating documentation. In fact, becuase OF this, I can see
more reason for control over the look, feel, and content of the
material. I see nothing wrong with that.

I also have the equiv from SUN called "A Style Guide for the Computer
Industry". It even comes with a complete set of Frame templates on
diskette. When I write for a UNIX audience, in the absence of a company
guide, I use that guide, and when I writer for a Windows audience, I use
the MS guide. I don't see anyone bashing the SUN styles, but then hating
SUN isn't a religion like hating MS can be.

Lynette Petendree wrote:
> See, this proves my point in how Microsoft really believes they now control
> manuals as well. First, this seems unethical. (I want to say illegal, but it's

Not "manuals", but only manuals for/about their products.

> too strong a word although it feels like it's more appropriate.) Can Microsoft
> really determine the language and terminology used because they've made the
> program? And, if they can, then maybe they should just have their technical

You bet!

> writers come up with some generic documentation and everyone who's getting a
> Microsoft Certified software program can sack their technical writers. I feel
> sorry for the end users who are going to be using the GUI and stumble on
> language because it's now Big Brother of them!!
> I forgot to mention Strunk and White's Elements of Style. Ah to remember the
> good old days when we used to be writers and trusted to write!

The "good old days" are just that...old.

The language of technology is changing so quickly that IMHO, S&W,
Chicago, and several others are obsolet

John Posada, Technical Writer
Bellcore, where Customer Satisfaction is our number one priority
mailto:john -at- tdandw -dot- com mailto:jposada -at- notes -dot- cc -dot- bellcore -dot- com
phone(w) 732-699-3077 phone(h) 732-2910-7811
alpha-pager: 800-864-8444 pin 1857522
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My opinions are mine, and neither you nor my company can take credit for
"Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day. Teach him how to fish,
and he will sit in a boat and smoke cigars all day."
"The only perfect document I ever created is still on my hard drive."

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