In case you haven't noticed, I'm a member of one of the lowest classes of life forms on earth - an attorney. As do most other bottom feeders in the profession, I write a lot. Since my dream job as a prosecutor has yet to materialize, and therefore I don't get to hang out in court as much as I'd like and yell out things like "objection!" "hearsay!" or "hang that sumbitch," I do a lot of record reviews and what you call in the business law-and-motion practice. The end result is a written product of some sort.
In the first year of law school (in the States at least) students take a course in legal writing & research. After realizing that the course is generally useless, students get summer jobs and figure out what real legal writing is more or less about, primarily depending on your employer. I decided to ponder on some of the basic principles of legal writing that I picked up in school, internships and roughly a year in practice and see if we can apply some principles to the hobby blog.
Law is full of jargon: motion for summary judgment, res ipsa loquitor, interpleader, buggery (this is my law dictionary, seriously). Our wargaming hobby is also full of jargon, some related to rules, to painting or created in the community and spread via the internets: force org, BSB, MEQ, dry-brushing, leafblower.* When I jumped into the online hobby community I had to quickly catch up on a lot of these terms. For someone brand new to the hobby or even a new game system, learning the vocabulary is tricky, just as it was my first year of law school. Obviously, we have to use the terms of our art. I would expect another legally educated person to know what interrogatories** are and a hobby blogger would probably expect their readers to know what MEQ is. My point here is to be careful about letting your writing becoming too bogged down with jargon.
Length is important. Most courts limit the length of a written motion (or you can file an application for additional pages, but this unrelated to this topic). The judge (or more like their law clerks or the court house's research staff) have better things to do than read some overly lengthily pontification that belongs in a legal journal, when a 10 pager will get the job done. Another example, I often review and summarize medical records related to personal injury claims. These are reported out to a client, because they need to be kept informed, but they sure as shit don't want to read through 100+ pages of that crap themselves. They also don't want a 20 page summary of it either. I've had to learn to filter out the meaningless details and present the important information in a format that won't cause the reader to fall asleep. Thus, the important lesson here is too develop the ability to write efficiently. Being able to present an idea cleanly, concisely and without needless repetition is important.*** This is why I have problems with the way GW writes a lot of their rules.****
On that note, I'll cease and desist for the time being. I might revisit this idea in the future. Until then, I'll try to get something painted and posted.
*I didn't make this one up, so don't hate on me Guard players.
** Written questions that one sends to another party in lawsuit, who is then obligated to provide answers to said questions.
*** If you wanna see a good example of how to totally fuck this principle up, check out this Friday Night Internet Fight.
**** Kennedy wrote a good article about this idea a short while back