Re: "Type" vs. "Enter"

Subject: Re: "Type" vs. "Enter"
From: "Ned Bedinger" <doc -at- edwordsmith -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Sat, 23 Oct 2004 23:46:03 -0700

----- Original Message -----
From: "Bonnie Granat" <bgranat -at- granatedit -dot- com>

> The Third Edition of MMOS says this:
> Via
> Via implies a geographic context. Avoid using via as a synonym for by,
> through, or by means of.use the most specific term instead..
> I think it's the proper reasoning about use of "via." It seems to be an
> argument wholly other than one based on its Latin origins.

Yes, and thanks for taking the time to sort it out. A sensible guideline
for the use of 'via' does not need made-up rules to help it stick. If the
'via' issue at work had been treated with a straightforward approach such as
this, I would have made quick work of internalizing it, and skating on past
without a look back. The average stylistic decision has the weight of a
customer requirement --I'll study it if I need to, but mostly I just need
you to tell me what you need, and then I'll go do it for you. Tech writers
should not be encumbered with uncertainty over whether a requirement or
style decision is honestly useful, or just a vanity thing .

With so much agreement, you might wonder why am I am moved more by one
little three-letter word than I am by the MMOSTP? It is because I think
that Microsoft is the right kind of place to use their style guide (and I
haven't worked there in 5 or 6 years). But since their end-user audience is
vast and has diverse background and language skills, the MSMOSTP ought to be
geared to that common denominator of language, If someone tells me that it
calls for no English Latin words, I'd believe it. But my work since that
time has been in telco IT departments and a research lab. These audiences
have never made comments about unknown words in my vocabulary.

Uh, wait. That's not exactly true. One programmer complained because I
punctuated "e.g."--he didn't reakize that it is initials and not a word.

Ned Bedinger
Eg Wordsmith Technical Communications


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