Style Guides & Associations (was: Heading and Title Capitalizatio n)

Subject: Style Guides & Associations (was: Heading and Title Capitalizatio n)
From: "Atkinson, Phil" <Phil -dot- Atkinson -at- BRAID -dot- CO -dot- UK>
Date: Tue, 2 Mar 1999 14:52:57 -0000

Written in response to Elna Tymes: Heading and Capitalization...


I agree with what you say - it does indeed make sense to follow guidelines
(they are often common sense after all). However, I worry when people talk
about rules and those things that authors MUST do. Ultimately, it is our
choice as authors how we produce documentation - that is our job and what
many of us have trained and practised for many years.

While I in no way suggest that publications like the Chicago Manual of Style
are redundant or worthless, they are also not the law and should be used to
assist our work, not to control it. As a team, we have defined guidelines
for producing technical documentation. The content of these guidelines has
been refined over time from experience, published guides (like CMOS), and
even trial and error. However, even these are open to modification and

My point is that as long as common sense prevails, any author should be able
to produce sensible documentation that meets the needs of the user. Style
Guides and Associations can help us to determine our approach to producing
the documentation but it is us authors, who must decide what rules, if any,
we choose to apply to our work.

You obviously advocate the use of resources like CMOS and MLA, and good
thing too - others may not. Neither approach is necessarily wrong. Judge the
results, not the approach.

------------------------------------ * ------------------------------------
Phil Atkinson - Documentation Manager - Braid Systems Limited
mailto:phil -dot- atkinson -at- braid -dot- co -dot- uk
Sanity calms, but madness is more interesting

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