RE: Use of Optional in instructions

Subject: RE: Use of Optional in instructions
From: "Combs, Richard" <richard -dot- combs -at- Polycom -dot- com>
To: "Boudreaux, Madelyn \(GE Healthcare, consultant\)" <MadelynBoudreaux -at- ge -dot- com>, <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 11 Sep 2009 16:21:54 -0600

My apologies, Madelyn. It was just a flip, offhand comment, not
well-thought-out. I'm sorry.

You have a good weekend as well.

Richard

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Boudreaux, Madelyn (GE Healthcare, consultant)
> [mailto:MadelynBoudreaux -at- ge -dot- com]
> Sent: Friday, September 11, 2009 4:15 PM
> To: Combs, Richard; techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
> Subject: RE: Use of Optional in instructions
>
> Richard Combs wrote:
>
> >We're telling people how to perform a task. As others have noted,
> >the user who reads "Do A" and immediately does it may not be
> >happy upon discovering that she just "accomplish[ed] X" when
> >she really intended to accomplish Y.
>
> Yes, and as another commenter noted, the heading or introductory text
> tells the user what task they are doing, and they will skip those
> sections.
>
> >IMHO, the critical information -- the "lede," if you want to call
> >it that -- amounts to this: "Dear reader, you now have a decision
> >to make. Do you want to accomplish X? If so, ..."
> ...
> >If an instruction has a qualifier, state the qualifier first so
> >the reader can determine whether the instruction applies.
>
> I am not assuming optional tasks in the cases I'm talking about. This
> was the distinction I was looking for: "IF an instruction has a
> qualifier..." You made no such distinction in your original post, and
> your example didn't give it away.
>
> >Sorry, but I thought this was TW101 since at least the 80s.
>
> Oh, snap! This was awfully unnecessary, though I find it amusing that
> you'd go there. Weren't we just talking about the perceived attitude
> here?
>
> I agree with you for optional steps, but for necessary ones, I think
> I'll keep doing it my way. You've failed to convince me despite your
> superior communication skills.
>
> Have an awesome weekend, y'alls teckky writin' folks.
>
> - Madelyn
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Follow-Ups:

References:
RE: Use of Optional in instructions: From: Combs, Richard
RE: Use of Optional in instructions: From: Boudreaux, Madelyn (GE Healthcare, consultant)

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