Re: Style Manuals

Subject: Re: Style Manuals
From: John Posada <john -at- TDANDW -dot- COM>
Date: Wed, 3 Feb 1999 11:27:12 -0500

Lynette Petendree wrote:
> >Therefore, if the look of an app, whether written by MS or XYZ Company
> >conforms to specific guidelines, so should the documentation, whether
> >written by MS or XYZ Comp.
> This means you are writing the documentation to suit the application and the
> developers (and their egos), rather than the end-users (readers) who are going
> to be using the app.

I am thinking of the user. If a user reads my documentation and I call
something an "Message Box" instead of Dialog Box, and they try to find
it in the app's online help, they might come up blank or they might come
across something totaly different using the same term.

> >If you think it changes very little and very slowly, hang out at a bar
> >in the middle of Silicon Valley on a Friday night when most of our
> >audience is handing together. I did when I lived in CA and worked in the
> >Bay area. You would think you came from another country...and we are
> >writing for them. Pick up a copy of Wired. It is VERY different, yet
> >just as valid and credible to its intended audience as something from
> >STC is to us.
> Oh, garbage, so many of those companies come and go, why should I pay attention
> to 20-somethings who have too much acne and no social skills. Silicon Valley,
> like the rest of California is another country...too much sunshine and natural
> disasters or something. I've read Wired and can usually never get through the
> "technical industry is holier than thou" attitude stuff. You'd think some of
> these techies invented the cure for cancer!!

Regardless of what you may think of them or their longevity, they are
here now and they are our audience. We are not writing for us.
Again...WE ARE NOT WRITING FOR US. We are writing for our readers and if
my readers want me to describe my content in RAP, then it is what I need
to do.

> >No, I'm not obsolete because a book written in 1919 is obsolete...I just
> >prefer to evolve to more current material. If you spoke like someone
> >from 1919, how would people around you view you. Why should I write like
> >someone from 1919?
> BTW, Strunk and White, if you've ever seen it, is like a writer's bible. When I

(OK, call me an atheist)

I have it, I have A Manual of Style, I have Chicago, I have a few
others. I use them when I think it as appropriate, and I also use the MS
and SUN books when they are appropriate. BUT...I let my audience make
that detirmination; the "base", not using the guide as the base and
expecting the reader to conform to it.

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
email pager: mailto:1857522 -at- pagemart -dot- net
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."

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

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