RE: Pet Peeves

Subject: RE: Pet Peeves
From: "James Barrow" <vrfour -at- verizon -dot- net>
To: <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 13 Mar 2007 22:18:05 -0700

>Avram Baskin said:
>I agree with Dori. I recently posted a questionnaire on TECHWR-L. One of
>the questions asked if the respondent had a "rule of thumb" they followed
>to determine the optimal number of items for procedure steps or lists. An
>early respondent replied with an explanation of the sexist connotation of
>"rule of thumb". I did a little research and found some of the same
>"debunking" web sites that have been referenced in this discussion.
>However, I opted to change the question (I changed "rule of thumb"
>to "guideline") because right or wrong, it was clear that some people
>believe the term has a sexist connotation.

Just seems like political correctness gone wrong to me.

According to your logic above you *could* eventually run out of words to
use. If, in the example you used above, you continually replaced words to
cater to the needs of the few, or the one, you could theoretically write
yourself into a corner. What if another user said that, while growing up,
his parents referred to corporal punishment as "guidelines"? Okay, you say,
I'll call it a 'prescription'. Oops, reader #37 says that she is in
constant pain because she is unable to take any form of prescription
medication, and the word you chose reminds her of this. Now what?

If 99% of the literate world recognize the phrase 'rule of thumb' as meaning
a principle with broad application that is not intended to be strictly
accurate or reliable for every situation, then that's what we go with. The
remaining 1% just have to deal with it.

- Jim


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Re: Pet Peeves: From: Avram Baskin

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