Re: Documentation Standards?

Subject: Re: Documentation Standards?
From: "Doug, Data Librarian at Ext 4225" <engstromdd -at- PHIBRED -dot- COM>
Date: Thu, 11 May 1995 16:02:20 -0500

This is written in response to Danna McLaughlin's query:

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?
The Pioneer writing group has always thought so, although we don't have
hard, numerical support for that position, just anecdotal reports from
trainers and support people.

Should this be a democratic event, or should one person lay down the law?
It probably depends on your corporate culture more than anything else.
How do these kinds of decisions normally get made?

Because Pioneer is fairly democratic, the process is pretty democratic.
When we revised the standards to accommodate the arrival of GUI systems, a
couple of the more senior writers put their heads together and came up
with a draft. The rest of us submitted suggestions after reviewing the
draft, and differences where hashed out in a couple group meetings.

How much leeway should an individual writer have when it comes to wording?
If it's in the standard, an individual writer should have to make a
really, really good case for deviating. The trick is to standardize only
the really important stuff.


Doug "How may I be honest with you today?"
ENGSTROMDD -at- phibred -dot- com

The preceding opinions and positions are mine alone, and are only
coincidentally related to those of Pioneer Hi-Bred International, Inc.

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