Re: Re. Numbered headings

Subject: Re: Re. Numbered headings
From: Loren Castro <lfc -at- SOL -dot- CHINALAKE -dot- NAVY -dot- MIL>
Date: Fri, 14 Jul 1995 15:29:47 -0700

> The discussion of using numbered headings (e.g., 1.0 Introduction,
> 1.1 Subintroduction, 1.1.1 Sub-subintroduction) raises another issue:
> I personally hate this format because it communicates very poorly to me:
> for example, is section 14.7.6 really clearer than "Results: Test
> subject number 7: Test parameter number 6"?


> (I expect the MILSPEC folks will have a lot to say about this...)

I guess I'm a MILSPEC folk, but I don't have a lot to say about it. Years and
years ago, I thought I disliked the numbered headings system. Now I think
that, like democracy, it's better than any other system. Maybe I'm just
comfortable with it because I've been using it for so long.

Without question, the system can become cumbersome. I'm working (thankfully,
not in Word) on a big software requirements specification for a complex
simulation system. An early draft went to seven levels of subordination for
paragraph headings and several more for itemization. One of the reviewers
commented that so many levels of subordination were the result of poor
planning. This was a grossly unfair judgement. They were the result of no
planning at all. That's just the way the requirements fell out from the system
and software engineers.

Now, just to give Uncle Ralph something to grumble about, I point out that "1"
(or "1.0") is a section number and "1.2," "1.2.3," "," and so on are
paragraph numbers. I can't identify an explicit rule for this, but the
inference is clear from the usage in the DOD standards.

lfc -at- sol -dot- chinalake -dot- navy -dot- mil

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