Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Land of Manuals: Factories

Alrighty, I just thought I would pop in and do another installment of the Land of Manuals. Let's start off with a quick recap of what we talked about.
This series takes place in a strange world known as "The Land of Manuals". In his land there are four types of people:
  • Workers: they do whatever a manual tells them, no more no less
  • The Rich: they are rich and they are stupid; autonymous, but stupid. They have their own factories
  • The Rebels: they are rich, but they are smart. They intend to do wrong without breaking the laws, which are enforced strictly but very literally
  • The Writers: they write manuals
I said the series would focus on the Writers, but before we can, we need to get a picture of what this land is like, so I will start with one of the main concepts in the Land of Manuals: Factories. Factories are the de facto standard places to find workers, whereas most other places where you can find Workers are at least somewhat comparable to a Factory.

A good place to start writing about Factories is the service door. Now, in this world one would expect a rather boring door used only by employees. However, in the Land of manuals, it is much more than that. It is where wandering souls (oh, I didn't tell you about those, did I... well just don't worry they aren't really important anyway) are picked up from the street and become Workers. When there's work to be done and the factory has not yet reached its Worker limit, they pick up more wandering souls from the streets and get them to be Workers, when there's more workers than work, they will thrown out the same way they came.

But who does that you ask? Well the management. Let's see who we could use for a management. Writers? No. Rich? No. Rebels? No way. Workers? Check!
So it's workers again, 'ey? Well, yes the Land of Manuals isn't all that complicated, you just don't have many choices beyond the Workers here.

How your management works is decided by two major factors. How it works exactly is a topic for a later time, right now I will just list these factors. First off there is the structure of your factory. In general lines most factories are the same, but take a look at for example the inside of the management's office, and you will find way more changes. Nowadays only a few types of factories are widely used, but in the past many more have been used. This was actually the reason for creating uniform management manuals. The uniform part basically means that you will need a different version of management manual Y if you are using a different factory, but once you are running UMM Y, it appears everything works just the same as all other factories that use UMM Y. There are only a few widely used UMMs.
The main reason for using management manuals, and a management that is, is that it makes things a lot easier for Writers. If every time a Writer wanted to write a manual he or she would have to spend a considerable amount of time writing about getting Wandering Souls from the streets and making them workers, there would be very few manuals, so instead we leave such things to the management.

Once a worker is inside, he or she gets a shirt on which signifies what language he or she will be speaking. Say you need a manual written in English to be done which needs ten guys working on it, (they actually have different languages, but for now ours will do for examples) your management will make sure that they get you ten workers that speak English. However, two of them may also speak German, while three speak French and six of them speak Dutch as well as English; the shirts are just to make things a little easier, they will now know in what language they ought to communicate.

Workers work in teams. The composition a manual needs (one they need at least and one they would like to have, usually) is written on the manual and is there for the management to read. They will find the workers to form such a team and assign them to one of the many, many rooms that are in the factory, where they are left to do their job.
There is often a lot communication between teams or between a team and the management. For example, if a team needs access to a certain book that's in the factory's (yeah, factories have their own libraries, its a strange world), they will tell so to the management and the management will put a library team on it. Note that this all goes according to the manuals, though. The manual those that need the book are using will need to say "ask the management for that book" rather than "pick up that book". And the management's manual will say that if one asks for a book correctly they should put a library team on it - and it also tells them the composition of such a library team.

That's basically all I wanted to tell you about factories for now. There's a few more general concepts to discuss, but from there we will be able to take the perspective of the writers, which is what this series is all about.

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