Documentation Standards?

Subject: Documentation Standards?
From: mclaughlin -at- HOU -dot- SPERRY-SUN -dot- COM
Date: Wed, 10 May 1995 16:00:05 CST

I'm trying to learn more about developing standards for a small
documentation department (three writers). We put out hundreds of pages
per month. We have worked for a while with unspoken standards, but we
sometimes end up with several related procedures that use different
words to explain the same task.

Is this breed of inconsistency confusing to the user, even if a very
basic action is being described? For example, is it okay to tell
someone to "enter the value onto Screen 35" in one set of instructions
and then tell them to "type the value onto Screen 35" in another set?

Has anyone out there dealt with these issues?
Has anyone developed a set of standards from scratch? If so, how did
you go about it?
Should this be a democratic event, or should one person lay down the
How much leeway should an individual writer have when it comes to

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Danna McLaughlin (These are my opinions, not my employer's)

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