Re: "intro"

At 7:22 PM -0700 9/6/00, William Loughborough wrote:
>WL: I think one of the problems we have is that when we write for ourselves
>formality and precision are called for; when we write for people who have
>trouble understanding the guidelines formality and precision are equated
>with opacity and inaccessibility (in the "intellectual" sense).
>Although we and more particularly EO threaten to make the materials more
>"clear and simple" it is still a pretty speech with no music if you take my

This is my fear exactly.  Well, actually my fear is that we are going
out of our way to obfuscate -- I mean, "to make things more complex
than they have to be" -- because we _are_ writing for ourselves.  And
I am very worried as to what we expect the final product to be when
we're done.

>Our intended audience is not other
>members of our choir but people who want to comply, conform, etc. but when
>they try to find out how are faced with the language of professors.

Well, whenever I _try_ to clarify who "our intended audience" is,
I get that we must be all things to all people, I get told that
academics are our core readers, I get told that we must be as
technical (read: academic and obfuscating as possible), I get told
that we're writing "for EO" because they will magically translate
the document into understandable English (something which, frankly,
has NEVER happened, well, except when I did it on my own), and I
get told that the whole question of audience doesn't matter.

Gregg's comment at a previous teleconference -- which was "if we
don't make something useful, people will use something else" --
still rings in my ears.  I think that we need to be careful not to
dismiss issues of audience and goals, and I think (from speaking
with a number of people at various companies and organizations,
most of whom can't -- for political reasons -- state clearly the
problems with current guidelines) that our current path may lead
us too close to disaster.

Kynn Bartlett <>

Received on Thursday, 7 September 2000 09:33:19 UTC