[clug] Man pages.

Scott Ferguson scott.ferguson.clug at gmail.com
Tue Jul 28 05:58:28 UTC 2015

On 28/07/15 11:58, Bryan Kilgallin wrote:
> Scott:
>> Which is a good indicator until applied to writing that uses acronyms,
>> program names, products, and processes.
> These can be explained, or spelt-out at the beginning. The reader might
> be referred to an on-line explanation.

Why re-invent the wheel?

There is nothing to stop you looking up the meaning online.

If introducing new jargon to the mean average of the target audience -
yes, it should be explained.

I remind myself that simple is a synonym for stupid, so that I try not
to make the mistake of over-simplification. To paraphrase Einstein "it
should be a simple as possible, but never too simple"

When addressing an audience the author has to consider the median
average of the audience - you can't cater to every possibility. Most
good lecturers will re-assess the general level of the audience
understanding early in the lecture and adjust accordingly. That's not
possible with written communications.

If the lecture subject is brain surgery, and the audience is expected to
be surgeons - the author should take that into account. There is an onus
on the audience too (Do at least Medicine 101 before attending advance
brain surgery?)

While the audience may well include non-surgeons, even ones who's
language skills didn't extend past primary school level - lowering the
standard so that the non-surgeon can understand things will: take so
much time that the subject cannot be covered, which means the majority
(surgeons) lose out; renders the point of the exercise moot (the outcome
would be a lecture for one on the names of some of the bits inside a head).

Sam Couter has previously linked to a graphic example of what happens
when you lower the level of accessibility to meet lowest possible common
denominator:- (read it, it's completely jargon free)
The Lunar mission rocket science explained - https://xkcd.com/1133/

There's a difference between the mean average of the targeted audience
and the lowest *common* denominator of all possible audiences.

I've found that a good study practise (for me) is to try and know the
basics about subject before attending a lecture, or reading a written
guide, on it.
But I'm lazy and don't like wasting my time if I can avoid it that. If I
find I've inadequately prepared - I take notes and follow up on those later.
As an audience member at a lecture I think my time is relatively less
valuable than the rest of the audience. That seems reasonable, don't you

Kind regards

"I use readability tools, I also try and employ critical thought, and I
rely strongly on proofreaders. I'm not a professional writer. I've used
none of those things when writing this, and it only "seemed" OK after a
quick re-read - my apologies in advance for all the very likely errors."
~ standard weasel disclaimer

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