Re: Style Manuals

Subject: Re: Style Manuals
From: John Posada <john -at- TDANDW -dot- COM>
Date: Wed, 3 Feb 1999 14:06:08 -0500

> > > >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
> You obviously believe that only "with-it, happening" folks know anything about the way
> the world operates. I can tell you that this point of view changes radically once your
> children are old enough to put you in your proper place (with the old guys).

Not at all. I don't have children, but I deal with all levels by working
with them at their level.

> I believe you miss an important difference between "trendy" communications and clear,
> concise writing--the first ages rapidly and the second doesn't.
> I would bet that your audience is not composed of 20-somethings who read WIRED. It is
> most probably made up of tired, middle-aged people who are trying to figure out how to
> use poorly designed Microstuft-based software that is supposed to make their jobs
> (lives) easier...

It might be and sometimes it has been...I would only know this after
doing an FEA and Feature Design document.

Besides... the message was pointed at the general statement that
language changes very slowly. It does for some, it moves faster for
others. If I'm going to write something, I detirmine my reader first,
then I choose the language.

I work with serious telephony developers; some quite young (early
20's....geez...some of them are so good at what they do it's scary!) If
I know I'm writing for a product that is "bleeding edge", this will
color my approach, just like it would if I know I'm writing for a
marketing slant rather than a programmer slant.

> Your audience probably doesn't care if they are looking at a Message Box or a Dialog
> Box--they do care about having clear, step-by-step instructions that enable them to
> get on with their real work.

Mine do. One of the biggest nits that I get hit with is the type of UNIX
promt depending on the shell being used. Some use ( > ), some use ( $ ),
etc. Some of the developers are quite specific about 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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