Fun_People Archive
30 Jul
A Competition from Hell

Date: Fri, 30 Jul 93 22:07:26 PDT
To: Fun_People
Subject: A Competition from Hell

 From: vangogh.CS.Berkeley.EDU!bostic (Keith Bostic)

The Communication Circle
918 La Senda Lane, NW
Albuquerque, NM 87107
Call: (505) 898-4912
Fax: (505) 898-5407
        If you've ever felt let down by a VCR manual, frustrated by
your computer's documentation, or downright crazed by the instructions
for some toy, here's your chance to fight back.  You can nominate that
lousy manual to be acclaimed as "The Worst Manual of the Year."
        Sponsored by the Communication Circle, a group of experienced
and fed-up professional writers, the competition for the worst manual
of the year aims to shame manufacturers into providing manuals we can
actually use.  "The best consumer companies have improved a lot, over
the last few years," says Jonathan Price, President of the Communication
Circle.  But there are still too many bad manuals out there.  You
usually can't find what you need, and if you do find it, you can't
understand what they're saying, or the diagram's such a mess you give up.
        Price urges you to send in those abominable manuals.  Look
through your pile of manuals and send us the one that helps you the
least, frustrates you the most, and generally makes your life miserable.
Write a short note saying why you're nominating this book as your candidate
for the Worst Manual of the Year.  We don't care what year it was printed;
if you used it this year, and you hate it, tell us why.
        If your candidate wins (or places), you get a custom T-shirt
showing the cover of the manual selected as Worst Manual of the Year,
with the slogan, I fingered the Worst Manual of the Year, 1993.  As a
bonus, you get a copy of Jonathan Price's Put That In Writing (Viking
Press), and a certificate of honor in the war against useless manuals.
        The Communication Circle will announce the Worst Manual of the
Year to the press on December 7, 1993; distribute copies of your letters
(anonymously if you wish); and award the offending company a garish
Certificate of Bad Taste.  To correct their errors, the company will also
receive a copy of How to Communicate Technical Information by Jonathan
Price and Henry Korman (Benjamin/ Cummings, 1993). So scan those shelves.
Which manual has caused you the most grief this year?
Mail the book with your complaints to:
The Worst Manual of the Year
c/o The Communication Circle
918 La Senda, N.W.
Albuquerque, NM 87107.
Absolute last-chance deadline for submitting monster manuals: Halloween, 1993.
This press release has been distributed widely across the internet. But if
you know another list or a personal net-friend who might want to read it,
please forward it on.
If you have any questions about the contest, please write T. Outler at or J. Price at Please don't send
descriptions of manuals via e-mail, though. We need to get those, along
with a copy of the horror text, in the mail.
Please let us know when you send in the manuals on what list you saw this
Thanks for reading, and go get those miserable manuals!

[=] © 1993 Peter Langston []