RE: Are these words being used?

Subject: RE: Are these words being used?
From: "Beth Weise Moeller" <bmoeller -at- imediaconsult -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Mon, 8 Nov 1999 11:59:04 -0500

> -----Original Message-----
> From: bounce-techwr-l-9411 -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com
> [mailto:bounce-techwr-l-9411 -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com]On Behalf Of Eric Ray
> Sent: Monday, November 08, 1999 11:28 AM
> Nope. It's our job to communicate clearly. If our users or SMEs want
> to be taught "what the proper terms are", they'll sign up for a class.
> If my audience consistently uses the term Thoomajiggie to describe a
> ball point pen, that's the term I should be using in my documentation.
> (If my audience will have to communicate with others ABOUT ball point
> pens, then "proper" terms enter into the equation, but not until then.)

This is where it gets tricky. The original message did not say what type of
documentation was involved. After writing Standard Operating Procedures for
line operators in the plastic industry, I learned that the terms to use are
the terms that the operator knows. My SOPs used many terms that weren't
standard or "official," but they were known to every operator in that plant.
More importantly, when ISO 9001 inspectors observed procedures and asked
questions, the terminology used by the operators matched that used in the

It was my job to communicate the procedure clearly and I did that by using
terms that the operators used. Now, if those same SOPs were to be *used in
the same manner* by people outside the plant, terms would need to be
standardized across my audiences. Fortunately for me, it was highly
unlikely that anyone outside the plant would be mixing up 200,000 pounds of
powder to create plastic pellets. I was confident that only people inside
this plant would be using these procedures.


Beth Weise Moeller
Interactive Media Consulting
beth -at- imediaconsult -dot- com

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