Pet Peeves (was Re: The 'user' in User Manual)

Subject: Pet Peeves (was Re: The 'user' in User Manual)
From: Mary Arrotti <mary_arrotti -at- yahoo -dot- com>
To: 'Techwr-l' <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Mon, 12 Feb 2007 14:50:26 -0800 (PST)

This is a good point. It's important to recognize your own pet peeves and to prevent them from making your writing less clear & effective.

Personally, I really dislike anthropomorphic writing.
1) Do this and the system allows you to do that.
2) Do this and you can do that.
There are instances (#1) where avoiding this type of writing makes for better clarity (#2). But sometimes it's clearer - for my audience - if I write something like "the system imports XYZ data." So, I do it. I still don't like it but that's what makes it *my* pet peeve.

Another pet peeve is that I don't like using the phrase "you must."
1) To do this, you must do that.
2) To do this, do that.
I find the phrase "you must" as in #1 above negative whereas #2 seems neutral. This has nothing to do with the use of pronouns. I find pronouns - whether implied or not - to be useful. [Please let's not reopen that topic.] ut I don't like using "must" "have to" etc. in my docs. But there are instances - where certain actions have significant consequences - where I can see value in their use.

Steve Read <steve -at- readonly -dot- com> wrote:
At the very first login ever in history by anyone? By using "the first
time you login," that ambiguity disappears.


Lauren wrote:
> I would avoid the pronouns and the passive voice.
> "The system displays the new user welcome message at the first login."
> Lauren

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Re: The 'user' in User Manual: From: Steve Read

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