RE: techwr-l digest: September 23, 2004

Subject: RE: techwr-l digest: September 23, 2004
From: "Blount, Patricia A" <Patricia -dot- Blount -at- ca -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 24 Sep 2004 10:00:01 -0400

Greetings to all from Long Island:

I was asked yesterday to help business analysts find the right word.
This is harder than it sounds.

They're developing a system that permits a user to follow some typical
routing and approval process - it's not important to describe the whole
process. Users use the system to do work that requires review and

Users may assign work for which they are responsible to a colleague or
subordinate. Those "users acting on behalf of other users" are being
called surrogates and delegates, respectively. For example, a user may
wish to appoint a surrogate or delegate to have vacation coverage in
this system.

Let me explain the distinctions between the two terms. Assume a user is
a senior manager with an admin. In this system, the manager appoints his
admin as a "surrogate" - someone who can approve work "as the manager."
To the rest of the user base, it will appear as if the manager approved
the work.

In contrast, that same manager can delegate work to another user. That
"delegate" has all the same privileges as the manager does, but the work
is nevertheless done under the delegate's name. So far, so good, right?

OK, here's where we start to get a bit gray. (Forgive use of the
masculine pronouns; it's just easier for me to choose one.)

Can anyone think of a term to describe the person to whom a user grants
read-only access? This is yet another option to the system. As it was
explained to me, a user may need to permit others to view his work, but
not change it or approve it. They didn't like "observer" and
"spectator." "Representative" also didn't fly, as it conveyed full

Can anyone think of a word to describe users who can do no more than
view work, sounds as if it ranks lower than "surrogate" or "delegate,"
and still conveys the intended meaning?

We greatly appreciate your help,

Patty B.


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