Words are evil (WAS RE: Tracking off)

Subject: Words are evil (WAS RE: Tracking off)
From: smiller -at- portal -dot- com
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com
Date: Wed, 15 Dec 1999 10:08:58 -0800

Mark Baker rants in exasperation:

>>>You have to do both. You have to know your
stuff and know it well. And you have to know your audience and know them
well. No excuses.<<<

Huge agreements from here. There are lots of accurate and info-rich manuals
that are useless, partly because the writer doesn't understand the audience,
but also partly because the writer doesn't understand the subject matter. If
you don't understand the subject matter, you don't know which information is
important, so you tend to throw it all in and hope for the best. The same
thing can happen if you don't know the audience, you take all of your
accurate information and throw it in and hope someone needs it.

And now it's my turn to rant in exasperation, in response to "Furthermore,
nobody is improperly served with too much information." Ya know, sometimes I
look at stuff that people say on this list and I wonder, is this really
1999? Or have we gone back ten years to when online documentation was young,
and we didn't know what the hell we were doing, and did not yet realize that
words are evil? That too much information clogs the pipes? That it makes the
TOC longer, the index bigger, the search results more numerous? That users
get angry when they have to wade through mounds of useless stuff to find the
one little bit they need? Too much information is death.

- Scott M

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