I’m usually wary of dogmas, but some just won’t go away, they assert their eternal truth in uncanny ways. I’ve recently found some new ones, so I now have
four five tech writing dogmas:
- A new tool will not fix broken processes.
- No matter how cool you are as a software company, don’t build your own help tool – it’s not worth it.
- Don’t invent yet another universal standard. – from xkcd’s How Standards Proliferate
- Following a style guide will not make you a good tech writer (unless you understand methods and processes such as topic-based authoring and single sourcing as well) – from Scriptorium’s The latest style for tech comm: adding value
- “No matter how much you try, you can’t stop people from sticking beans up their nose.” (This metaphor can apply to customers who use your documentation or to non-documentation managers who make decisions about documentation.) – from Jared Spool’s highly entertaining and insightful post
What do you think: Are these some of the eternal truths in the world of tech writing? Have you encountered them? Or are dogmas inherently silly and evil? Please leave a comment.