Re: Midol Moment or National Tragedy?

Subject: Re: Midol Moment or National Tragedy?
From: Richard Lippincott <rlippincott -at- yahoo -dot- com>
To: TECHWR-L <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 12 Nov 1999 12:23:56 -0800 (PST)

I hope this hasn't been hashed to death, but I'm on

Yesterday, Sean Brierley asked:

> Doesn't one typo per page represent an accuracy rate
> approaching 99.99%?, not by the way I was taught to measure
it, it would be more like an accuracy rate of about
0.1%. We didn't measure by the word, we measured by
the page. One error per page makes the whole page

When working for defense contractors under mil-specs,
we in the doc QA group had to provide error count
rates based on the number of defects we found. For
this statistic, a typo counted the same weight as a
major procedural error. (That wasn't my rule, that was
the one I was told to follow.) What they wanted to
know at the end was the total error count, the total
page count, and the percentage of "error pages." If
that last figure got above a certain figure (between
5% to 10%, IIRC) then the management had to take
certain steps (i.e. public flogging of the writer or
something such as that).

That paragraph is a little bit vague because the
actual counts depended on the customer, the Navy was
tougher than the Air Force.

For the Air Force, an error on a page made it an
"error page," and they'd want to see the number of
total pages vs. the number of error pages. For
example, a 100 page document with 50 errors on one
page and 0 errors on the remaining 99 would show as
"1% error rate," a 100 page manual with 10 pages
having one error each would show as a "10% error
rate." (This is somewhat unbalanced, but as the errors
were rarely spread out like that, what you actually
got was a fairly accurate representation of how many
pages needed fixing.)

The Navy was stricter. You had to compare the total
number of errors (not error pages) to the total number
of pages. Using those two examples again, the first
manual would show up as a 50% error rate, the second
would again be a 10% error rate. Navy error
percentages were always higher because of their

Where was I? Oh yeah...well, by either standard, a
typo on almost every page would give you an error rate
approaching 100%. And that's not good.

Again, I don't agree completely with the way they
wanted us to weigh the errors and count them, but I
have to agree with Karen's original post: one typo per
page is way too high.


Richard Lippincott
Comverse Network Systems
Andover, Massachusetts
rlippincott -at- yahoo -dot- com
rjl -at- comverse -dot- com

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