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I provided an example for how I think about the use of second-person in
writing. I realize that I don't "think" like other people; however, the
purpose of my example was to illustrate that an audience-centered document
is not necessarily received by a specific "you."
For me, it is rude to state "you" in a non-conversational document. I see
it as being rude like pointing a finger at a person. I haven't seen a
reason for when the word "you" should be used that would change my mind
about this. To state "you" as part of a procedure is to direct a person to
do something. To write procedures as imperatives is still a direction, but
the direction is not specifically at the reader as though the reader is
being told personally to do something. Imperatives state what to do and can
demonstrate how to do something. Directing the reader to personally do
something is bossy, while a non-directed imperative sounds more helpful and
is (or should be) directed to a person's role.
There is not a reason to refer to any "person" in a procedural document. I
do refer to roles, but references to persons, like "you," a gender, or
"their" for an individual, are unnecessary.
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