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Monica Dunford | USLHC | USA

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The Pain of Documenting

Truly. Is there anything in the world more painful than writing documentation?

So painful and yet so necessary. There is nothing more frustrating than trying to figure out a system that has little, bad, out-of-date or no documentation. The irony is everyone really, really appreciates well-written documentation and yet no one actually wants to do it. I mean is there anyone who wakes up in the morning and thinks, ‘Yes! I get to write documentation today!’?

The wiki system was supposed to revolutionize all this. ATLAS uses a system like this. The idea being that instead of a few people being responsible for updating the documentation, we ALL could update things quickly. But I think all we have achieved is to more easily pass the blame. Now that everyone is responsible, no one is responsible. Apathy towards documentation is a much deeper human trait that cannot be overcome with mere software.

It is also a universal truth that when you are pressed for time, the interruptions are constant. Yet, when you are longing to be interrupted (such as now), nothing. Ever. It is like some subconscious message is sent to all people in the area, ‘This woman wishes to be interrupted. Do not disturb’. I am currently trying to find any excuse to not have to update the ‘TileCal Shifter Instruction Manual’. I am becoming quite creative in my possible reasons. For example, the man outside mowing the lawn, he looks like he could use some help or maybe just a spectator. Or perhaps something on TileCal need soldering. Will make a few phone calls… No. Nothing to solder. Darn. An interruption please! Or I could reply to all those old emails in my inbox… Okay, I just found something worse than writing documentation. ‘TileCal Shifter Instruction Manual’ it is!

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