Daniel Emory wrote:
> Certainly I don't advocate the use of MIL specs for preparing
> commercial manuals. I do know, however, that most tech
> writers who produce manuals for commercial products remain
> blissfully unaware of the problems caused by their outputs.
A valid point. Although some of us, at least, aren't _blissful_ about
it. Resigned, maybe. Sometimes whining and grumbling.
> All I was trying to say is that tech writers in the
> non-military world should take advantage of remedial measures
> taken by the military to minimize foul-ups.
True, when they're applicable. But don't forget the two most important
concepts in the technical communications field:
(1) It depends.
(2) Know your audience.
When your audience includes HS grads and GEDs, and they may be under
stress, in a hurry, or otherwise highly distracted, and the consequences
of a communication failure may be grave -- well, that's a bit different,
I suspect, from telling UNIX system administrators how to upgrade the
boot server software for their teleconferencing bridges.
Software engineers, in particular, are often very literal-minded and
Spockian. I've actually had an engineer point to an "Intentionally
Blank" page (in another company's manual) and say, "A page is only blank
if there's nothing on it." :-)
Richard G. Combs
Senior Technical Writer
richardDOTcombs AT polycomDOTcom
rgcombs AT gmailDOTcom