Appealing to or introducing Tech Comm "best practices

Subject: Appealing to or introducing Tech Comm "best practices
From: William Swallow <WSWALLOW -at- commsoft -dot- net>
To: "'TECHWR-L'" <TECHWR-L -at- LISTS -dot- RAYCOMM -dot- COM>
Date: Mon, 25 Oct 1999 10:45:55 -0400

I don't think a soapbox is needed for what I am about to say...

Standards are defined based on the mean. Anything outside the mean is open
to customization. That is why we have addendums to style guides - to define
style outside the uniform "box" for special cases.

I have to be honest... I side with Andrew on this issue, as you could see by
my post on this issue last week. A standard is nothing more than a
documented suggestion for the norm. How many of you use the MS Manual of
Style 100% (honestly, now)? And the Chicago Manual of Style? Sure, these
books sit by my side in my department's library, but do we conform to their
doctrine? Not unconditionally.

You see, we as writers work by one and only one code: write for the intended
audience. Does the MS Manual of Style or the CMS cater to CSRs with high
school diplomas in a telephone company who just expanded to offering
wireless, PCS, cable, Internet access and paging? No. I don't even think
that scenario was considered in the demographic. So what now? We define our
own style.

Sure, rules are fine to consider when writing, but they are not set in
stone. That's the beauty and the chaos of writing. All we can hope to do is
document our changes to the norm and follow our own rules for the task at

Bill Swallow
Technical Writer
Aptis Inc.
a subsidiary of Billing Concepts
phone: 518.433.7698
fax: 518.433.7680
<mailto:william -dot- swallow -at- aptissoftware -dot- com>

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