RE: Fatal and unused - full text

Subject: RE: Fatal and unused - full text
From: Marguerite Krupp <mkrupp -at- cisco -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Mon, 10 Dec 2001 09:48:57 -0500

Ah, "FATAL"! Takes me back to my old life as a compiler developer!

OK, I chuckled at the second sentence, but I wouldn't include it. In fact,
I'd rewrite the first one, too. Something like: "FATAL - A serious problem
has occurred that could lead to system failure." Don't say anything else,
unless you want to include a specific FATAL message. Don't change the case,
either, from what actually shows up on the log. People in panic mode are
looking for pattern matching, not grammatical niceties. In general, I also
try to avoid the word "crash." While "system failure" is no more specific
than "crash", the former is more professional, programmer jargon

More important, I think, is to tell people what they can do to recover from
a FATAL log message... or what they have to do to gather the information
that your tech support people need to debug the problem. For example, "When
a FATAL log message occurs, before rebooting your system, write down what
operations were in progress at the time and carefully note any other log
messages that occurred in the 10 minutes immediately before the FATAL
message appeared. Dump memory, save the register settings, and contact
[company] technical support at [phone number]."


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