Re: Style Manuals

Subject: Re: Style Manuals
From: Philomena Hoopes <PHILA -at- MAIL -dot- VIPS -dot- COM>
Date: Wed, 3 Feb 1999 10:46:55 -0500

I'm seeing a philosophical difference between technical writing as creative
endeavor and technical writing as tool-building. My perspective is that the
writing should be as unobtrusive as possible to present new information
without the distraction of unfamilar packaging.

If I'm documenting programs in a Windows environment, and the lingua franca
happens to be developed by Microsoft, well, them's the breaks. If I were
documenting programs in a VAX/VMS or UNIX environment, I'd make it my
business to learn and use the associated terminology. When I want to use
language with creative panache, I can write poetry or fiction, or freelance
with magazines or ad agencies. My purpose in writing manuals is to be
understood, not to dazzle the reader with my artistic originality.

To use an analogy: imagine what would happen if each car manufacturer used
entirely different terms for electrical and mechanical components and
functions!

Philomena Hoopes
Phila -at- vips -dot- com <mailto:Phila -at- vips -dot- com>
VIPS Healthcare Information Solutions, Inc.
(410) 832-8330 ext 845

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