Re: Year 2000 manual introduction

Subject: Re: Year 2000 manual introduction
From: "Mark L. Levinson" <markl -at- gilian -dot- com>
To: lindsay -dot- doyle -at- capmark -dot- funb -dot- com
Date: Sun, 02 Jan 2000 12:07:07 +0200

So your style is inconsistent and your terminology is
inconsistent. I suspect you need to make a distinction.

Many differences in style may irritate the reader
consciously or unconsciously while not causing
misunderstanding. Apologizing for them will do no
good. Explaining them will do no good. All you can
say is "We didn't have our act together," and you help
no one by saying that. Just bite your lip.

Inconsistent terminology, on the other hand, may be
confusing. If problems of terminology, or any other
user confusion, can be lessened by explanation, then
explain what the user needs to know. You could print
a table with some introduction like "This edition of the
documentation uses certain terms synonymously. The
asterisked terms in the following table are the
preferred terms." Not how you wound up in this
situation, not why, not even when the fix will arrive
(unless you have complete authorization to make the
promise and complete immunity if you can't deliver
on it). No dwelling on the problem, just whatever
you can provide by way of solution. Accentuate the
positive, eliminate the negative, and don't mess
with Mister Inbetween.

Mark L. Levinson - markl -at- gilian -dot- com - Herzlia, Israel

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