Re: Style Manuals

Subject: Re: Style Manuals
From: "Comeau, Lisa" <Lisa -dot- Comeau -at- MOH -dot- GOV -dot- ON -dot- CA>
Date: Wed, 3 Feb 1999 13:45:35 -0500

At the risk of drawing out this "discussion":


****You may skip this first part if you've been following this discussion,
and already know what I'm going to say*****

1) lineally was not found as incorrectly spelled by my Spellchecker, neither
was linearly, and neither has synonyms in the Thesaurus - does that mean
they don't exist?

2) what is this, a discussion about style manuals, or a chance to bash GenX
by someone that obviously can't take the time to look past what they 'think'
is happening to the world that's changing before our eyes?

3) I think that we have all had a hand in making the computer industry the
way it is, and I think it's pretty damned good. There's a lot more out there
than just "tons of software and games and flat-panel displays." What about
the technology that makes it possible to talk to someone a continent away
for the price of a monthly ISP bill, and a video camera attached to your PC?

4)Maybe the PC world has made our children more dependent on technology, but
is that _always_ a bad thing? What I'd give to have the chance to write that
paper on Chile now that I can ask someone who _lives there_ all about it...

5)I thought good writers researched their facts and presented them clearly -
most teenagers are "far below the average (WHAT)of any other country in the
world" - isn't this a societal problem moreso than one brought up by writing
software manuals? ;P (tongue-in-cheek)

6)A change in structure denotes a change in grammar or language, last time I
checked...

7)The reason this has gone on so long is that we're all making inflammatory
statements (like that surprises me)and reacting rather than discussing

8)Programmers CAN be good techwriters, if they work at it, the same way a
dyslexic can be a good writer. We just have to know our limits AND our
audience. I can't write a manual on how to program, but a programmer friend
of mine writes circles around me in this area, AND I learned how to program
from his book, NOT from the programming course I took.(And he's not pasty
white, nor does he have bad eating habits, in fact, if he wasn't gay, I'd
marry him - what a babe!)

9)Every flavor of writing might use "basic" writing skills, but if I'm doing
step-by-step instructions, I'm less concerned about run on sentences,
passive voice, and dangling participles...
**********end of rant******


I guess what I'm trying to say is that, as a group, we are bound to have
differences of opinion. We are going to express our individual opinions. We
are going to accept, disregard, agree, or disagree (with) those opinions. So
someone doesn't want to use the Microsoft MoS! Is the world going to come to
an end? Nope. I believe that if they come upon a project that _demands_
using MS guidelines, and they _don't_, it'll all come out in the wash. All
we can do is stand behind _our_ beliefs, and watch to see if they appreciate
us.

In closing, I use the MS MoS when appropriate. I use Roget's Thesaurus when
appropriate. I use the Spellchecker that comes with MS Word when
appropriate. They all have their place(s), in the same way that 20-something
people do. We, as writers, have to determine whether the place we're in
calls for these things. Nobody else. I'm not standing over Lynette's
shoulder telling her what references to use. If I was, maybe I could form an
informed opinion about what tool(s) _I_ think are right for the job. But
until I'm there, I can't say anything _except_ that, based on my limited
knowledge of her situation, I _think_ _I_ would do it _this_ way...

And I would appreciate it if, when a listmember asks for an *opinion*,
others take it as just that, an OPINION. Not Gospel, not the "ten
Commandments of Techwriting", not a spurt of garbage from a
Microsoft-brainwashed robot, not inane babblings of a clearly incompetent
Generation X-er, but as an opinion. Agree, disagree, whatever, just take the
danged thing at face value. Line spacing on a listserv doesn't allow for
reading between them...

I am SO done.

The overexuberant 20-something self-styled "World's first musical
techwriting comedienne"
Lisa Comeau

"If at first you don't succeed, then skydiving is not for you".

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




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