About

I'm Mike Pope. I live in the Seattle area. I've been a technical writer and editor for over 30 years. I'm interested in software, language, music, movies, books, motorcycles, travel, and ... well, lots of stuff.

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Muphrey's Law: a) if you write anything criticizing editing or proofreading, there will be a fault of some kind in what you have written; (b) if an author thanks you in a book for your editing or proofreading, there will be mistakes in the book; (c) the stronger the sentiment expressed in (a) and (b), the greater the fault. (d) any book devoted to editing or style will be internally inconsistent.

John Bangsund, a variant (one of several) of Hartman's Law of Prescriptive Retaliation



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Blog Statistics

Dates
First entry - 6/27/2003
Most recent entry - 5/24/2019

Totals
Posts - 2561
Comments - 2616
Hits - 2,143,124

Averages
Entries/day - 0.44
Comments/entry - 1.02
Hits/day - 369

Updated every 30 minutes. Last: 12:59 AM Pacific


  09:37 AM

I know how this happens, I do. A tech writer is given a task to "document the product," and it turns out there isn't much to say. But telling the bosses that nope, it's ok, we don't actually need to say anything about this might be perceived as, dunno, not being cooperative. Maybe even suggesting that the writer's job isn't that important.

Anyway, today we have a couple of examples of what might result if the writer (and common sense) does not prevail. First up, we have these, um, helpful instructions that came with a compass that I own:

There must be a universe in which people buy compasses who don't already know what N, E, S, and W mean. I don't believe we live in that universe.

But even that is reasonable compared to the following, which Twitter user Alex Warren posted today:

More dubious guidance: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9

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