Re: Math Lacuna/was Re: LUNA: Re: indigenous fuels

Michael S. Lorrey (
Tue, 27 Jul 1999 23:23:10 -0400

Paul Schauble wrote:
> "O'Regan, Emlyn" wrote:
> >
> > Writing skill apparently is more important than mathematical skill to a
> > programmer (this comes from software engineering lore, maybe I can find a
> > reference, but only if it is really wanted because it would be a very
> > annoying and not very enlightening task). The kinds of thinking used to
> > structure a report or an essay are apparently very similar to the kinds of
> > thinking used to structure a non-trivial software system. This still begs
> > the question of why documentation written by IT people is so piss poor, but
> > that is a question for the SIs.
> That's easy. Documentation isn't written by the programmers, but
> by some starving English major trying to figure out the program
> from using it.

As someone who has worked in software documentation, when the manual is piss poor its because the programmers wrote no internal comments in the source code, wrote little or no internal documentation, and won't give a pathetic technical writer the time of day, at least thats in my experience, but I come from an engineering background, so I do have technical proficiency. I do know how difficult it is for a technical person to deal with a humanities person. What do I have to show for it? 1850 pages of reference manual, half of which I inherited from the previous job holder who was an archaeology major, and all of which the customers take one look at, shrug their shoulders at, and call tech support. They don't even use the online help most of the time either.

Mike Lorrey