Help me write help

Photo: The Beatles in 'Help!'

The Beatles, from the movie “Help!”

I have been charged with the task of writing the “Help” files for Blogware.

Writing user documentation — that’s geek talk for “instruction manuals” — is often viewed by computer programmers as an unpleasant task. After all, it doesn’t affect how the program works, and writing it is usually deferred until after programming’s over, a point where anyone who’s worked on the project has been working on it for so long that all they want to do is go home (or perhaps the pub) and never, ever have to deal with it again. Making software work is difficult enough; making software work and explaining how to use it, doubly so.

Boss Ross manages the Blogware project, and since he is a good manager, he did what good managers do: he delegated the task of writing the help files. To me. I am qualified to do so for these reasons:

  • I’ve been a very heavy-duty user of Blogware since July (I’m almost at 300 posts since then).
  • I’m a reasonably good writer.
  • I like writing, and I even like writing documentation. (This is a very shocking thing for a programmer to say; it may even be taboo. It’s only slightly less shocking than admitting something like “I walk around town at night, looking for unattended bicycles and sniffing the seats.”)
  • There is a clause in my contract called the “Boss Ross is Strong Bad, Joey is The Cheat clause”. It says I must do whatever Boss Ross says, including picking up his dry cleaning and beating people up whenever he doesn’t feel like doing it himself.

Over the next couple of weeks, I will be adding to Blogware’s help files on a daily basis. If you’re so inclined, give them a look every now and again and let me know what you think. Does it make sense to you? Am I covering topics that you, as a blog writer, want covered? More pictures or less? Read them, and if you have any suggestions, critcisms or comments, drop me a line!

Recommended Reading

Strong Bad upgrades The Cheat’s privileges. At long last, The Cheat gets use of the cripser drawer and the mute button!

2 replies on “Help me write help”

*thank* you!!!

I have to admit that as a new user of Blogware, the dearth of documentation was somewhat alarming. I’m looking forward to lots of documentation, new templates, and API examples! ::grin::

You’ve been seduced by the dark side. Welcome to Technical Writing–please keep your hands and elbows in the car at all times.


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