Re: Standard English vs "industry standard"

Subject: Re: Standard English vs "industry standard"
From: Spencer Fleury <boylston_st -at- YAHOO -dot- COM>
Date: Fri, 26 Mar 1999 12:28:06 -0800

--- Sarah Stegall <stegall -at- TERAYON -dot- COM> wrote:
> Anyone else have this problem? It comes up time
> and time again while working with SMEs:
> I edit a document and return it to the SME in
> charge of it. My edits include such things as
> proper sentence structure and syntax, spelling out
> acronyms on first use, standardizing units of
> measurement (dB for decibel rather than Db). He
> returns it to me with some of the corrections
> returned to their former status, and with new
> non-standard entries, claiming that a) this is the
> way it's done "in the industry"

Not only do I have this problem with SMEs (the few that
there are in my company), I have this problem with
other tech writers! When I got here, I inherited the
documentation responsibilities for a piece of software
in use in two of our 40 or so field offices; I had to
fix acronyms on first use (often inexplicably followed
later in the same chapter with references like these:
"Your Technical Support Specialist (TSS)" - go figure),
odd sentence structure, and the like - but my absolute
favorite is what I call the Random capitalization
Syndrome. You know, when a writer will give Proper
Noun Status to just about anything? Like, "The System
will route Display Ads processed through blah blah
blah." I mean, even the title "sales rep" had proper
noun status - "You should confirm that the Sales Reps
are able to blah blah blah."

The doc in question had been originally written by an
analyst but had passed through the mitts of at least
two tech writers before I got it. My response? Fix
the flippin' mistakes in my own draft, submit it, and
make bloody well sure to address this problem in our
documentation guidelines at my next opportunity (all us
tech writers have input into those guidelines - this
may not be the case for all of you). So far, so good,
but I guess we'll see . . .

Spencer Fleury
Company X


Remember: "Y'all" is singular. "All y'all" is plural. "All
y'all's" is plural possessive.

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