Why is software documentation so poorly written?
This is, if it can be found at all. I work on Microsoft systems. It can be very frustating at times to find out how to use their software. Microsoft’s site is typically not the best place to look. So one has to resort to using Google. What one frequently finds is incomplete and sometimes flat out wrong. Even when it can be found, it is typically given by way of an example that has what is desired buried in a sea of unrelated code.
You would think that a large company like Microsoft would be eager to have their software documented in a crystal clear fashion so that people could be productive and eager to buy their product. The explanation that people most often come up with is that the people in the best position to provide documentation, the developers, earn the company more money developing new software than documenting old software. I am not so sure that this is true. How much time should it take to write a simple explanation of how something should be done? How much money do customers lose trying to chase down the way to use Microsoft’s products?
This question is in the General Section. Responses must be helpful and on-topic.