FW: peanuts

Subject: FW: peanuts
From: "Kevin McGowan" <mcgowan -at- loran -dot- com>
To: "Techwr-L" <TECHWR-L -at- LISTS -dot- RAYCOMM -dot- COM>
Date: Wed, 10 Nov 1999 12:00:55 -0500

to further my previous comment on this string...

At my first tech writing gig, I had to explain the following:

Install an SONET Radio network element. Provision it. Test it.
Audience: someone with a high school education, who has been given a
three-week training course in telephony and electronics. This person may or
may not speak English.

Now, if I made any assumptions (and you know what they say about
assumptions) about this individual having any experience or knowledge about
the product or technology, I was in hot water. We had to write these
procedures for someone who had never seen a SONET Radio NE before, someone
who didn't know how to plug cards into a backplane, or make proper coils of
fiber optic cable.

The PB&J example is comparable to this, in that it is something most north
american humans have done. But imagine being that moron alien, you aren't
used to our gravity, you have never seen a knife before, and what the hell
is peanut butter anyway?

The PB&J exercise is a fun way for students to understand that sometimes,
the audience is really ignorant, and that as a writer, you have to explain
everything thoroughly. this might not apply to every situation (my current
project is geared towards experienced network managers), but it's a really
good place to start.


> -----Original Message-----
> From: bounce-techwr-l-9731 -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com
> [mailto:bounce-techwr-l-9731 -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com]On Behalf Of Brierley,
> Sean
> Sent: Wednesday, November 10, 1999 11:29 AM
> Subject: RE: peanut butter and jelly - revisited
> When I was a mere college student, looking for my first tech
> writing gig, I
> applied for a job where, as part of the application process, I
> had to write
> instructions on donning a sportcoat, for someone who has never seen such
> clothes--really, the instructions included the fact that buttons and every
> other part of the coat were unknown the wearer. I got the job,
> but wondered
> if it was because of my skill as a procedural writer or my creativity in
> dreaming up what problems such a brainless, apparently naked,
> audience would
> encounter . . ..

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