Re: Users vs. usage

Subject: Re: Users vs. usage
From: "Paul Strasser" <paul -dot- strasser -at- windsor-tech -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Mon, 17 Dec 2001 14:08:40 -0700

If your instructions state that users must enter everything between the
quotes into the program, then they'll enter the commas. They should -- you
tell them to!

You aren't using quotation marks as punctuation but as indicators in your
instructions. Because of this, the conventions of grammar and punctuation
don't apply to your situation. They're not quotes - - they're funny little
marks that indicate the start/stop of data to enter. If you're gnashing
your teeth and rending your garments because of the appearance of a faux
pas, rewrite it so you don't have to use the comma.

Paul Strasser
Windsor Technologies, Inc.
2569 Park Lane, Suite 200
Lafayette, Colorado 80026
Phone: 303-926-1982
FAX: 303-926-1510
E-mail: paul -dot- strasser -at- windsor-tech -dot- com

> I would like to submit a nit for picking (sort of a brief survey):
> Document:
> You are writing a System Functionality test for a change to a system.
> Audience:
> You are faced with a literalist user/tester base -- e.g., technophobic
> users, non-academically-inclined (i.e., often unaware of half the rules
> grammatically-correct writing, and prone to avoid reading when possible),
> and yet for that very reason being used as the testers performing the
> test.
> Variable:
> The document convention (used consistently) is that literal text to be
> entered into a control during the test is enclosed in quotes. (This is in
> part because the users in question ignore or don't notice font changes or
> italics as emphasis in this case.)
> Usage question:
> In this case, if it becomes necessary to include a comma after the
> quote-enclosed text (for the sake of the appropriate pause needed in the
> sentence describing the step to be taken), would you prefer to place it
> inside or outside of the quote marks?
> Grammar indicates it should go inside the quotes, clarity indicates it
> should go outside the quotes.
> I'm seeking a view of where the opinions lie, proportionally along the
> continuum, mostly as a gauge for future encounters of this nature. I keep
> stubbing my toe on this incarnation of the usage necroequine, so I figure
> may have lost perspective by now.
> Thanks!
> Shauna

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