Fuck video “documentation” and write a goddamn user manual

@hastur fortunately my employer does have written documentation. This is just … every other thing in my life. Like “how to turn off the replace filter light on the microwave” does not need to be a 15 minute YouTube video

@susannah this is the worst in gaming; no one writes game guides anymore. the simplest question is only answerable by watching a 10 minute Youtube video ("like and subscribe!")

@susannah @nelson "... this is what you see right after the intro and don't forget to hit that bell..." 🤮

@susannah It is better than no documentation, but usually is the other choice.

@susannah I think it arises from a pervasive Empty Vessel model of learning: the learner knows nothing, has no other demands on their time, and yet is deeply committed to becoming an expert in the subject. Video probably is a good medium for such learners, it’s just that they’re not typical.

LB: And hire actual technical writers for write your user manual so that it is goddamn usable.

@susannah oh dear gosh this so much. I do not learn via video at all. I hate it so so much.

@ultramagnus_tcv I don't mind having it as an option, but not in lieu of a manual.


And tutorials too please!

I always look in the youtube description for a text based link but often I'm disappointed...

Also my interest is strongly inversely proportional to the length of the video.

@float13 @susannah I hate that I can't even tell ahead of time whether the videos address my particular issue =P

@bipolaron @susannah

I feel like that's at least partially by design to get more click revenue...


@float13 @susannah I've never been in that scene, is this kind of thing how it's done? I don't actually know what dictates how much money a video creator makes, is it an ad thing?

I can see it for things that are super linear (like lectures) or very visual (like making pottery) but there's just so much that is low effort and low information.

@bipolaron @susannah

I don't know how the money thing works either; I should have said "views".

But yeah some things deserve a video tutorial, but 99% of the time I just want a TL;DR written tutorial, and a video as last resort if it's *really* that complicated.

I'm trying to learn FreeCad right now and the tutorials are all over the place.

@susannah Both if possible, since different people learn best in different ways.

@susannah True. Fuck corporate bullshit.

That aside, some people do find videos better, or a mix. I personally like both.

I at least prefer pictures or diagrams with the writing, but sometimes a video is helpful so I know exactly what they are doing.
Videos are also more engaging and I'm less likely to lose focus.
Depends on what the instructions are for though.

@susannah YES YES YES. Video is so useless. Takes forever and is just a pic of someone doing the obvious. Don't waste my time with video. Don't just describe that setup/config menu ... I can find the menu and I know how to type stuff into fields, just tell me what each option DOES.

@af @susannah And if you really need to show something, that’s what (cropped) screenshots are for.

@susannah would you please elaborate? I am curious about this, since I recently started thinking a/v is "better" for non-techies while text is better for machines (something we shouldn't go out of our way to optimize for).

@susannah don't you think there is a chance that preferring (English) text to a/v involves a bias towards able-bodied people (Westerners)? admittedly, text can be accessed via Braille or read out, whereas audio can't be rendered to text as feasibly.

@tetrislife Also, text is typically easier to translate - by people or machines if you're concerned about an English bias

@tetrislife Video documentation is incredibly slow, not searchable, difficult to skim, padded with incredible amounts of bullshit information that you can't skip without possibly missing the one thing you're looking for, useless as a reference, and, if you're making the documentation, is MUCH slower to update or edit. Text is a profoundly accessible technology, especially when it's screen-reader ready with images with good alt-text. Video requires better internet, better computers, and needs transcripts and image descriptions.

Video can be nice when you're learning some hands-on stuff (caulking a bathtub!) but even in those situations, it is far superior to have text + diagram supplemented by a very brief video.

In general, video is a way to waste people's time and get ad money.

@susannah also fuck having to register on your site to access said manual

@Quokka right? Just like 😡​ every time that happens.

Sign in to participate in the conversation

The social network of the future: No ads, no corporate surveillance, ethical design, and decentralization! Own your data with Mastodon!