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Moses and the 10 Commandments: A Case of Early Tech Comm?
Published
1996, Nov-Dec (July 02, 2007)
taken from the techwr-l newsgroup

Perhaps the earliest instance of technical communication can be found in the book of Exodus when Moses receives and delivers the Ten Commandments.

Without being aware of it, this was clearly the first recorded instance of technical communication. Please consider the following:
  1. There was a definite need for some rules to live by on the part of the people who were hopelessly lost.
  2. As the writer, Moses had to go to the source and get the information.
  3. The source of the information was questioned from those who should have known better. The writer was once again caught in the middle!
  4. The commandments were written in stone (i.e. there would be NO updates, revisions, amendment pages, etc.).
  5. There were two definite groups of five (as opposed to one long list of ten, five groups of two, etc.).
  6. They were numbered sequentially to make them easier to read and understand.
  7. Although all of the information was determined to be important, the more important items were placed at the top of the list (i.e. believing in one God, honor they mother and father, etc.) and the less important towards the end.
  8. Moses not only wrote the documentation, but also delivered it and made sure the audience was using it correctly.
  9. The audience initially rejected what was written in favor of a visual image with no real substance. A second "printing" (the same as the first) then had to be delivered. This was an unfortunate waste of time, energy and resources. In hindsight, perhaps better up front planning could have avoided this costly delay.
  10. Finally, the documentation had a way of staying around long after the writer had moved on to other "projects."

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