Preferences versus defaults?

Subject: Preferences versus defaults?
From: Geoff Hart <ghart -at- videotron -dot- ca>
To: TECHWR-L <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>, Debra Graham <debra -dot- graham -at- gmail -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 10 Jul 2007 19:55:23 -0400

Debra Graham wondered: <<I've not had occasion to reflect on the
differences between preferences and defaults, until today when I was
asked to create a job aid on "setting default preferences on the Auto
Carry Forward Config page." The term "default preferences" seems
redundant to me>>

Pause a moment and consider what the two words mean. A "default" is
the series of settings that are used automatically unless you
specifically change them. "Preferences", on the other hand are one
set of settings for a specific situation and that reflect your
desires for that situation. Your preferences may be identical to the
defaults (i.e., you accept the standard settings specified by the
maker of the software), or they may represent changes from these
default values, but in both cases they are your preferences.

The question thus becomes: What specific context am I trying to
document? In your situation, the software ships with certain default
values and you are discussing how to modify these default values
(i.e., set your own preferences). That's the simplest way to describe
it: "Modifying the default settings for" or "Defining your
preferences for" this page.

-- Geoff Hart
ghart -at- videotron -dot- ca / geoffhart -at- mac -dot- com
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Preferences versus defaults: From: Debra Graham

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