Why don't we call it "Visual Zesty?!"
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From: Peter Langston <psl>
Date: Sun, 15 Aug 99 14:11:32 -0700
Subject: Why don't we call it "Visual Zesty?!"
Forwarded-by: Nev Dull <email@example.com>
Forwarded-by: Barry L. Ritholtz
Forwarded-by: firstname.lastname@example.org (Quote of the day)
Most documentation starts as hastily scrawled notes from sleep-deprived
developers who weren't necessarily hired for their keen communication
skills. Those notes are then fleshed out by recently graduated English
majors who have spent their last four years immersed in works of fiction.
The results are then passed on to the marketing department whose job it
is to make sure that no word or phrase will reflect unfavorably on the
product ("I don't think that the word 'Basic' properly communicates the
exciting nature of the product. Why don't we call it 'Visual Zesty?!'").
It is then beset by lawyers who finish the job by making sure that they
haven't explicitly promised that the product will actually do anything.
By the time the documentation gets into your hands, it has been so
sanitized for your protection and generalized beyond recognition that you
usually have to go out and buy a 3rd-party manual (that was, more likely
than not, written by the same non-technical technical writer who wrote
the original documentation) in a vain attempt to get an unbiased,
unexpurgated, and unfiltered view of just how you're really supposed to
use the stuff.
-- Introduction, About The "@ Novell" Series, November 3, 1998,
offering the inside scoop on computer documentation.
© 1999 Peter Langston