Re: "to persist data"

Subject: Re: "to persist data"
From: Julia Norquist <techiejules -at- yahoo -dot- com>
To: Lauren <lt34 -at- csus -dot- edu>, iFaqeer -at- gmail -dot- com, techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Date: Thu, 7 Jun 2007 07:04:23 +0800 (CST)

Lauren said:

"I think that the biggest problem in the use of "to persist" comes from rigid
thinking writers that obsess over word usage because they do not understand
the language of developers.

"Technical writers do not document conversational language, they document the
language of technology. I think that it is a waste of time and energy to
confuse the two languages because they share words and then try to impose
conversational language onto technology. Technology and its language
evolves very fast. Isn't it better to be current with the language of
technology than to resist its evolution?

"Fuddy duddies don't like change. Technical writers should be as dynamic and
evolutionary as the world they document."


I disagree. Finding a neologism clunky and awkward doesn't make a person a fuddy-duddy. Any good writer looks for widely accepted guides such as the dictionary, MSTP, CMS, and so on. Any well-organized company has a style guide where it's agreed how to spell "e-mail" and format telephone numbers. I had a pleasant, but vigorous, argument on my first day here whether "barcoding" is one word (their opinion) or two (mine), because I'm writing a user guide for a barcoding application (I gave in because they already started writing the software).

When faced with some kooky new term, I consult the authorities and make educated choices. I'm not going to arbitrarily adopt new words and call that the evolution of language. Instead, I think like a user. Am I going to hear a resounding "Huh?" from my readers? Is my help desk going to receive calls from people saying, "Hey, on page 32 you've got some kind of typo"?

"Persist" is clumsy as a transitive verb, so thank God they're not asking me to use it here. I have yet to lay down the sword over "project manage" and "administrate."


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