Re: Style Manuals

Subject: Re: Style Manuals
From: Todd Sieling <tsieling -at- DIRECT -dot- CA>
Date: Fri, 5 Feb 1999 00:18:49 -0800

Oh, Lynette, Lynette, Lynette...
I'm just catching up on reading here and I'm sorry to see the turn your
posts have taken.
On Wednesday this week you wrote:

> I believe you mean "linearly," not "lineally," or has Generation
> X banished
> spell checkers?

But way back on Monday, when you began your barrage of vehemence and
brimstone upon microsoft, you opened with the pithy and all-too-telling:

"Has everyone out there lost there minds!! Does anyone remember when REAL
guides were used (Chicago Manual of Style, etc.)? I hate to remind

Who spots the homonym!!? I think we all do.
What each of your posts boils down to is a rejection of Microsoft for
everything that it is: makers of software whose sharpest edge is their
ability to act as a marketing and distribution juggernaut. But remember that
in rejecting it so completely, you affirm something in it's place. What is
that? Your choice manual of style? You've mentioned Chicago a few times (a
small irony in that being the development name for the Windows 95 project).
You mentioned your "writer's instincts" too. What is it, I ask now of your
standard. Not what is it not.

Unless you have anything new to say on the subject, and nothing more to pick
apart from other people's emails, skin conditions or spelling misdemeanors,
I must say I've read enough.
Todd Sieling

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Technical Writers List; for all Technical Communication issues
> [mailto:TECHWR-L -at- LISTSERV -dot- OKSTATE -dot- EDU]On Behalf Of Lynette Petendree
> Sent: Wednesday, February 03, 1999 9:50 AM
> To: TECHWR-L -at- LISTSERV -dot- OKSTATE -dot- EDU
> Subject: Re: Style Manuals
> >Ouch! You know, some of us twenty-somethings are out here in the
> >workforce, too -- acne or not. The reason you should pay
> attention to us is
> >because we are the up-and-coming generation of computer users
> and workers.
> >I don't have my books here at work, but there are substantive studies
> >indicating that people now in high school and jr. high don't even think
> >lineally anymore. Instead, they prefer hypertext interfaces
> that allow them
> >to seek out just the information they need. As a technical
> writer, I think
> >that's a pretty important thing to be aware of. After all, if my linear
> >instructions are too boring for them to read, then I've failed
> in my goal to
> >convey my message.
> I believe you mean "linearly," not "lineally," or has Generation
> X banished
> spell checkers? Everyone who has ever been in high school and
> has been part of
> the up-and-coming generation has gone through the self-proclaimed "future
> changers of the world." The fact is that none of us (my
> generation included)
> have done much. Sure we've advanced the computer industry and
> there's tons of
> software and games and flat-panel displays. In the grand scheme of things
> though, this really doesn't mean much. And, the fact is that we
> should be more
> concerned whether or not these high schooler or jr. highschoolers
> are thinking
> at all, linearly or not, considering that most of them are far
> below the average
> of any other country in the world.
> In my current position I have been tasked with writing only
> online help and I
> don't think that my grammar or language has changed for this,
> only the way it is
> structured, so yes, I agree with "linear instructions," but I
> didn't think that
> had anything to do with boring or interesting writing. Then
> again this debate
> has gone on too long and I've lost track of what we're talking about.
> >I've never seen an article like that. What I have seen is a
> >celebration of a lifestyle preferred by a group. Before you get too bent
> >out of shape by the exuberance, consider that the rock 'n roll
> lifestyle was
> >considered much the same way. The world changes, and the instigators of
> >change always look at least a little obnoxious during the transition.
> As long as you admit they're obnoxious, I'm happy!! ;) But I'm
> not sure what
> transition you're talking about.
> I've got a brother in grade school and kids are still basically
> the same. There
> are some who are into computers, granted, but most still want to
> play sports and
> pass their tests and dress cool, etc. Not everyone who was into
> the rock and
> roll "lifestyle," as you put it, lived and breathed in obnoxious,
> exuberance
> circles and thought that rock and roll was the way the world was
> going and that
> every other musician would see the error of their ways and convert.
> >Is it possible to tell these interloping techies by any identifying
> >marks? After all, it is impossible for someone to think
> coherently in both
> >C and English, and we wouldn't want to mix with people who try.
> /sarcasm off
> No unfortunately, I haven't found any specific marks. Just poor
> communication
> skills, bad diets, pale coloring of the skin (unless you live in
> California and
> go out and play frisbee at lunch). Oh yes, and they try to
> communicate points
> without making too much sense to the average world and that's why
> technical
> writers are brought in to make sense of it all.
> >I agree. Being a writer is very important. But there are different
> >flavors of writing, and technical writing is one of them. I think my
> >chances of winning a short-story contest are slim, but I have
> gotten calls
> >from grateful users of documentation, and that's just as rewarding. So
> >maybe there is no one true way to write.
> Every "flavor" of writing requires the same, basic, good writing
> skills. I
> never said there was one way to write, please do not misinterpret
> what I have
> said.
> >> Keep up the good fight! ;-)
> >Against what?
> It was a little bitty joke Heidi. Please get off my back, I can't bear the
> weight of your exuberance.
> ==================================================================
> =========

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

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