Why Use a Published Style Guide?

Subject: Why Use a Published Style Guide?
From: John Posada <jposada01 -at- yahoo -dot- com>
To: "List, Techwriter" <TECHWR-L -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 27 Oct 1999 12:49:07 -0700 (PDT)

PLEASE!! Don't take this as my belief that the MS
Manual of Style is THE expert. I'm just saying how ANY
published style guide can save much time, effort, and
hairs on your head.

I needed to post a message at the top of a web page
telling users that the system would be down for
backups at a certain time every day. Since this web is
referenced world-wide, I needed them to understand
that the timezone was MY timezone, not theirs, so I
made a message.

I get replies from two of my bosses:

--------------------------
- I would substitute "Eastern Standard Time (US)" for
"eastern time"

AND

- Should Eastern be capitalized in the time notice? I
see this most places as Eastern Time Zone.
--------------------------

Funny how they both wanted changes, but different
changes.

So, I send each of them this message:

----------------------
The Microsoft Manual of Style says <yada, yada, yada>

I'll put it any way you want, but just wanted to throw
out a third opinion.
----------------------

And these were the responses I got back:

-----------------------
- I'll bow to the MMoS. I love learning new things -
can you point me to this 'stylish' document?

AND

- Nope, that's fine. I could not find any
authoritative source for the time zone format. I'll
go with what you have.
-----------------------

Within 3 minutes, the issue was dead, finished, and I
was able to go on to stuff where I could REALLY screw
up.


=====
John Posada, Merck Research Laboratories
Sr Technical Writer, WinHelp and html
(work) john_posada -at- merck -dot- com - 732-594-0873
(pers) jposada01 -at- yahoo -dot- com - 732-291-7811
"The art of creating software that is usable by individuals is a communication skill. It is not a programming skill."
--Bill Atkinson, creator of MacPaint and HyperCard
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