We're working on a software manual with several chapters and topics and, so far, these are mostly self-contained. This means we have a dedicated chapter for "connectivity" and do not mention connectivity elsewhere, a dedicated chapter for "software upgrades" and do not mention upgrades elsewhere, etc. You get the idea.
But we have now a new software functionality that affects different topics in the manual (say, topics A, C, and G). Each one of these topics is self-contained and isolated from the others but affected in a different way by this new functionality.
The question is, what would be the best approach to read about this new functionality?:
- Create a new topic H and discuss in detail how this new feature affects A, C, and G. Add references in A, C, and G to the new H topic (central approach)
- Add information about the new feature to the to the existing topics A, C, and G, without the need of a new H topic. (disperse approach)
We see advantages and disadvantages in both. In (1) we have everything in one place, which makes things easier in the long term, but H would be a topic of disparate things. In (2) we provide the information in the topic itself, where is most needed, but this is difficult to maintain the in the long term.