Re: Friday Poll Idea (WAS: In love with a word)

Subject: Re: Friday Poll Idea (WAS: In love with a word)
From: "Cathy MacDonald" <camacdonald -at- core -dot- com>
To: <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 6 Jan 2006 19:48:20 -0600

A particular word appears in every manual written by certain arrogant,
soi-disant writers who believe that there's really no sense in trying to
explain things to a user (they're much too dim to understand them anyway).
That word is straightforward. I mean the word is "STRAIGHTFORWARD." I will
never use that word in polite company.

It's used by complacent slackers who just can't muster the strength to write
a few procedural steps or describe a process flow. The first sentence in
the slacker's manual is often: "The disassembly of the Gizmometer is fairly
straightforward." To whom, one might ask. And why mention it at all if
it's so self-evident? I think in the majority of cases, though, the writer
doesn't quite understand the procedure himself but still likes to pretend
that it's so blatantly obvious that it's not even worth the effort to

Another phrase that really raises my hackles is "GOING FORWARD." What slimy
verbal padding that is! If my sophmore English teacher were alive, she'd
leap from her grave and slap the person who coined that phrase. I've seen a
man get up from his chair and walk out of a meeting because the project
manager used that term twice in 15 minutes.

And finally, a word that I'd like to use in a technical document: SMIDGEN.
As in, "If necessary, crank the isoflurane up a smidgen if the patient seems


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