Re: Future Tense Controversy
On policies and procedures, though, the lawyers have a stake. There is case law. There are legal exposures. And the lawyers, not the users, not your fellow employees, are the customers for these documents. It matters less whether a policy is written in a user-friendly way than that it stand up in court. So follow the lawyers' guidance on these documents if the reasons they give you are legal reasons.
I absolutely agree with you about this, that they're using the imperative mood, and that even if it's something else, it's not worth the trouble. Nearly everything I write has to be approved by a client's legal department. I learned long ago to drop the ego at the door because I don't care for the wall head 'doo I end up with after repeatedly smacking my head on brick and mortar.
To tie this in to SOX, one of the requirements for SOX is that everyone in the company _must_ (heh) understand policies and procedures. No use having policies and procedures if no one understands them. Tech writers to the rescue! So, to be effective and thus meet regulatory guidelines, using clear language is imperative.
The imperative mood is very straightforward; there's little room for doubt, even though the bare imperative is sometimes perceived as too strong and impolite. Still, I don't think lawyers care about being perceived as impolite. They're used to writing contracts that are really instructions as to what _will_ be done to fulfill a contract to which disputants _must_ agree!
Are employees expected to sign these policies by any chance?
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Re: Future Tense Controversy: From: Dick Margulis
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