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Re: Structure of User-Authored Content vs Traditional Online Help
Subject:Re: Structure of User-Authored Content vs Traditional Online Help From:Jim Shaeffer <jlshaeffer -at- aol -dot- com> To:techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com Date:Wed, 20 Oct 2010 10:02:52 -0400
The Theory of Mavens (as expounded by another tech writer, not me) explains much.
You, as a maven, read and study the authoritative original sources.
Most people ask around until they find a maven like you.
The Tech Writer should understand that he/she is writing for the mavens, not for the majority.
The majority are covered by the phrase "nobody reads the documentation."
(I am paraphrasing someone who may be on this list, or on HATT, but my searches are not finding the source.)
The new trend of crowd-sourcing adds more dimensions to "asking around."
From: Tara Charter <tara -dot- charter2 -at- gmail -dot- com>
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Cc: tara.charter2 <tara -dot- charter2 -at- gmail -dot- com>
Sent: Tue, Oct 19, 2010 4:31 pm
Subject: Structure of User-Authored Content vs Traditional Online Help
I wanted to gather opinions of those in the field about user-authored
content. I propose to write a research paper, possibly make it my APP or
Thesis about the differences between traditional online help and
user-authored content. Specifically, as an online help author for many
years, I cannot help but compare the structure of online help (TOC,
researched approved and linked topics in a hierarchy, index, search) to
user-authored content. User-authored content I am referring to could be the
content found anywhere on the Internet that was posted by a user about how
to use an application or a product. For example, my friends on fb will ask
each other (or complain to each other) about a feature on their smart phone
before going to the manufacturer for help. At work today, I was asked to
show someone how to create drop-down lists in Microsoft Excel cells and all
I did was copy the online help and send it to the requester. They could have
done this themselves. However, users seem to prefer contacting other users
before going to the online help. I prefer the online help because it is
approved and structured. What do you think?
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