Re: Dropping the you? The Asian response to imperative voice.
The imperative can work well for direct, procedural material. I'm
having trouble imagining how it would work when writing more open-ended
documentation, such as when giving advice about the alternatives available
to the reader. How would you rewrite something like this (in a sys-admin or programming manual)? "If most of your users are located
in one facility, we recommend using the standard client-server configuration. If most of your users are in remote locations, or if any have slow or unreliable network connections, we instead recommend using the multi-server configuration with the following modifications [...]."
In the text above, "users" is not referring to the reader,
it's referring to the reader's users. I believe someone
else has already noted that contrasting "you" and "the user"
is useful when documenting material for developers who are
making things for *their* users. I don't think even people
who are supporting the use of "you" would have a problem with
the text above. (Well, our style doesn't permit the use of
first-person plural and also suggests that writers just go
ahead and tell readers to do something rather than amorphously
"recommending" but other than that... :-> )
I believe the wording under discussion is whether to say
"user" when talking to the reader directly (e.g., "This
feature enables the user to..." vs "This feature enables
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re: you or he/it: From: Sean Hower
Dropping the you? The Asian response to imperative voice. (was: Re: you or he/it): From: Geoff Hart
Re: Dropping the you? The Asian response to imperative voice. (was: Re: you or he/it): From: Monica Cellio
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