Re: Solution! RE: pushpins

Subject: Re: Solution! RE: pushpins
From: Bruce Byfield <bbyfield -at- axionet -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 01 Jul 2003 13:12:14 -0700

Sean Brierley wrote:

<g> The "Zog
like fire" approach to technical writing, cool.

First, thanks for taking the comment well.

Second, to take your answer seriously (and if you think I don't feel strange answering broken English seriously, you're wrong), what other approach is legitimate for technical writing? It's not a means of self-expression, and, while I have as large an ego as anyone, I don't expect people read manuals that I write to enjoy my personality or turn of phrase. The same goes for humor and characterization. What else is left except language that is as clear and concise as possible so that readers can find the information they want and get on with whatever they're doing?

In case of push-pin and pushpin, case is little
different than bite and byte. Yes. But, me say here
Microsoft term, here Webster term, here preferred term
of developer, is there reason to perfer one.

That's my point. There is no reason to prefer one over the other in the majority of circumstances. All you need to do is pick one and stick with it. If it's diplomatic to use another person's preference, why not gain some cheap points at no cost to yourself? Either way, you'll only take about ten seconds , as opposed to the minutes that have been devoted to this issue.

I admit that I've sometimes become fixiated on the irrelevant, too. But, these days, I take it as a sign that I need a rest or at least a change of pace.

Me could say "dialogue box" and reader still
understand, but for American audience is there
preference for "dialog box"? Is not "dialog box"
preferable for American audience? Is difference

You've said yourself that the reader would still understand, so you've implicitly answered the last question. Yes, the difference is trivial.

I say industry standard terminology
different issue than 10.5 versus 10 point type.

But you're talking as though there was only one correct answer. You've found three different sources of authority, so clearly all three fall within acceptable limits.

The reason I dismiss such concerns is that they are more about being right than about writing well. So long as my writing is within acceptable limits, being right hardly concerns me at all. My concern is writing well. Since these concerns don't usually affect the quality of what I write, I don't give them too much attention.

It's the grammar neurosis all over again. Except now, instead of having memories of Miss Barr in the fifth grade thwacking the side of their desk with a yardstick because they've forgotten what the subjunctive is, people are worried that the mythical beast "industry standards" will leap out and attack them. Either way, the reaction impedes good writing.

Me pick "pushpin" cos less typing.

That's as good a criterion as any. Stick by it, and you should be able to settle any similar dilemmas within seconds.

Of course, if two choices require the same number of characters, you may a second criterion.

Bruce Byfield bbyfield -at- axionet -dot- com 604.421.7177

"Dipping into dustbins, scrambling for a smear,
Sniffing out a scandal: could the fellow be a queer?
Do not be disheartened by what you cannot find,
Embroider or invent if you're inclined."
- Leon Rosselson, "Song of the Free Press"


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Re: Solution! RE: pushpins: From: Sean Brierley

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