Re: When the thesaurus attacks...

Subject: Re: When the thesaurus attacks...
From: Sabahat Ashraf <sabahat -at- viragelogic -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Mon, 10 Dec 2001 14:40:57 -0800

M Rassmussen wrote:
> I'll keep this vague, in case one of my co-workers is lurking. I don't want
> to embarrass the offender. Well, the one *I* consider an offender.

I think is a case of a genuine disagreement.

> Co-worker A is creating a training package for a piece of electronic
> equipment that runs a certain software program. She asked me to do a sanity
> check on what she has so far, and I found only two sentences that sent me
> into convulsions.
> She wrote: "From the piece of electronic equipment, INVOKE the software
> program."
> I would have gone with "run" or "open" because "invoke," as I explained to
> her, makes me think of pasty-faced Satanic teens frolicking in the woods
> trying to animate Our Dark Lord.

Personally, I prefer "kick off", but I don't get to use the phrase in my
doc ;).

Semantics. Invoking a piece of code *sometimes* has a slightly different
meaning from running an executable or opening a window.

Audience. Domain. If your users are really, er, pasty-faced programmers
for whom it is more natural -- either because of that slight semantic
difference I mentioned above and because in the kind of software they
write, their code is better invoked than run OR because, well, they're
programmers -- to invoke code rather than kick off an executable, then
it is better to use that word.

> Later on, she told the user to RELOCATE a window to an undisplayed area.
> Wouldn't "move" be okay?

Yes. Unless you're writing for folks that only wear blue ties on
Thursdays and whose company has a written definition of what's allowed
and what's not on Dress Down Friday. I hope you realize that I am only
half kidding.

> She thinks my points are silly, but I think it boils down to keeping it
> simple. What do you fine people think?

Yes, KISS [Keep It Simple Stupid] is probably the Second or Third Law of
good communication. However, "Know Thy User" is the First.

> Should she keep those verbs or go
> with my WONDERFUL suggestions?

You don't think "nice" would have been okay? <g,d,r>


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When the thesaurus attacks...: From: M Rassmussen

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