TechWhirl (TECHWR-L) is a resource for technical writing and technical communications professionals of all experience levels and in all industries to share their experiences and acquire information.
For two decades, technical communicators have turned to TechWhirl to ask and answer questions about the always-changing world of technical communications, such as tools, skills, career paths, methodologies, and emerging industries. The TechWhirl Archives and magazine, created for, by and about technical writers, offer a wealth of knowledge to everyone with an interest in any aspect of technical communications.
Subject:Re: What kind of names do you make up? From:Melonie Holliman <melonie -dot- holliman -at- TXEXMTA4 -dot- AMD -dot- COM> Date:Thu, 10 Jun 1999 12:22:48 -0500
At my last job, we had to populate a database with 10,000
accounts. It was not easy. We pulled out the phonebook
at used random names and random addresses, making
sure we changed something (street number or name, etc.)
and that the names where pretty generic. In every phone number
we used had the 555 prefix (I had to retake about 20 screens
because someone put in real phone numbers).
I then used that database to create my sample screens. Some
of them had employee names, but my boss was uncomfortable
with that. I think that is the main issue, what is the legal dept,
boss, management comfortable with. If they don't care, use
whatever you like.
You can use your own name, I don't see a problem with that.
However, I would never use a real phone number. Yes, there
are idiots out there who like to make crank calls to any phone
number they find (we had it happen).
As for the "prove it is your work" attitude: if they cannot tell that
by asking how I approached the document or what problems I
encounter, etc., I guess it would help. Personally, I don't want
to work for someone who is that distrusting (chances are, they
are either paranoid or very untrustworthy themselves).
Melonie R. Holliman
Advanced Micro Devices
> -----Original Message-----
> From: John Posada [SMTP:jposada01 -at- YAHOO -dot- COM]
> Sent: Thursday, June 10, 1999 12:10 PM
> To: TECHWR-L -at- LISTSERV -dot- OKSTATE -dot- EDU
> Subject: What kind of names do you make up?
> Bear with me on this. :-)
> I'm documenting an application that includes, as part
> of the application, a Contact component.
> This component functions as a telephone book/contact
> management module.
> I've been told not to use "real" information, so for
> the purposes of this manual, we've made up a fictitous
> country, address, etc. Well, we want to include a
> fictitous set of contacts. (name, title, phone#, fax#,
> email address, etc.)
> Now...I could use the universally-know "John Smith at
> 123 Main St.", or I could use...something else. ;-)
> The question: have you, as the writer, ever used your
> own name as the contact? It sure would eliminate the
> problem we all have when showing our portfolios in
> "Mr. Posada...how do we know that it was you that
> wrote the content and that you aren't showing someone
> elses work?"
> Have any of you ever taken that route?