RE: Usage question - "... un-initialized state" or "... an uninitialized state"

Subject: RE: Usage question - "... un-initialized state" or "... an uninitialized state"
From: Lynne Wright <Lynne -dot- Wright -at- tiburoninc -dot- com>
To: "McLauchlan, Kevin" <Kevin -dot- McLauchlan -at- safenet-inc -dot- com>, Wanda Phillips <wetcoastwriter -at- me -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 10 Oct 2012 18:45:31 +0000

>>If "wish" is an offensive term in some societies, I could change that to "you might choose..." ?
Or you might prefer. Or you might decide.<<

But see, then you're edging into passive voice territory. And its unnecessarily wordy.

I'd follow the principles of plain English writing style and strip it down to the essential idea, which is: "You can ship the product in its uninitialized state."

That's all the reader needs to know. Its up to them to determine if they might wish, or want, or choose, or decide... to do so.

-----Original Message-----
From: McLauchlan, Kevin [mailto:Kevin -dot- McLauchlan -at- safenet-inc -dot- com]
Sent: Wednesday, October 10, 2012 1:16 PM
To: Wanda Phillips; Lynne Wright
Cc: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Subject: RE: Usage question - "... un-initialized state" or "... an uninitialized state"

No.
The product arrives at the initial customer, from us, in not-initialized state, which we called un-initialized.
Customers can use the product where they receive it, or ship it off to their own country-wide or world-wide business units, or ship onward to THEIR customers if that's their business model.

The customer often takes the product out of the box and performs their own qualification and other actions-upon-receiving. They might wish to set up certain aspects of the product to conform to their business model, before they put the product into service OR ship it to other departments/BUs to put into service, OR ship to their customers.

A decision that they make, before they ship out to another location (or to one of their customers) is whether the product should be initialized first, or whether it should arrive at its final destination in un-initialized state and undergo final setup at the location where it is to spend its working life. For example, network setup is often best left to the people at the ultimate destination (though there are exceptions). Initialization of the encryption engine is sometimes best performed before shipping, but in other circumstances is best left for a ceremony at the place where it will be used. Sometimes it is desirable to lock down aspects of logging before the product is shipped. Other times it doesn't matter, since only the local people at the receiving end will care. It depends on the business model of our customer, and the product allows all sorts of flexibility. We don't suggest one way or the other. The customer's situation, need, and general approach suggest what they should do.

The initialization to which I refer is separate from other aspects of the product, where there can be clear best-practices to recommend. Not the case, here.

If "wish" is an offensive term in some societies, I could change that to "you might choose..." ?
Or you might prefer. Or you might decide.

I've always wanted to use "grok" in technical documentation... haven't found just the right situation yet..... yet.... :-)

If you fully grok the situation, the decision makes itself.



> -----Original Message-----
> From: Wanda Phillips [mailto:wetcoastwriter -at- me -dot- com]
> Sent: October-10-12 12:47 PM
> To: Lynne Wright
> Cc: McLauchlan, Kevin; techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
> Subject: Re: Usage question - "... un-initialized state" or "... an
> uninitialized state"
>
> I've always avoided "wish" and even more strongly "might wish" in
> cases where the product developers are saying "we suggest."
>
> Have you told the reader, just prior to this, that there are two states,
> which you, or or developers, have chosen to call "initialized" and "un-
> initialized" to choose from? If so, you can stick with "We suggest (or
> 'company name' suggests) you deliver the product in the un-initialized
> state."
>
> Wanda
> ------------------
> ...in order to understand the true nature of reality, we must realize
> that nothing ever really happens.
> Khenpo Tsultrim Gyamtso, Rinpoche, Sun of Wisdom (Shambhala
> Publications), 3-4.
> ------------------
>
> On 2012-10-10, at 11:47 AM, Lynne Wright
> <Lynne -dot- Wright -at- tiburoninc -dot- com> wrote:
>
> > I can appreciate why the reviewer would feel that it sounds wrong
> without the "an"; I agree with them.
> >
> > I don't think it implies that there are multiple un-initialized states... I
> think you're overthinking that one.
> >
> > As a compromise, you could use "... deliver the product in its un-
> initialized state."
> >
> > p.s. I've also gotta say that the usage of "wish" is a pet peeve with
> me. It sounds too old-fashioned and emotive. Microsoft Manual of
> Tech Writing also specifies using "want" instead. Anybody else with
> me on this?
> >
> >
> >
> > -----Original Message-----
> > From: techwr-l-
> bounces+lynne -dot- wright=tiburoninc -dot- com -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
> [mailto:techwr-l-
> bounces+lynne -dot- wright=tiburoninc -dot- com -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com] On Behalf
> Of McLauchlan, Kevin
> > Sent: Wednesday, October 10, 2012 11:32 AM
> > To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
> > Subject: Usage question - "... un-initialized state" or "... an
> uninitialized state"
> >
> > The statement in the docs is: "You might wish to deliver the product
> in un-initialized state."
> >
> > One reviewer wants that to say: "You might wish to deliver the
> product in AN un-initialized state."
> >
> > My objection to that version is that it suggests/implies that there is
> more than one un-initialized state.
> >
> > With respect to initialization, there are two states - initialized and
> un-initialized. There are no sub-categories under un-initialized, and no
> grey areas. It is or it ain't.
> >
> > What say you language mavens?

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Follow-Ups:

References:
Usage question - "... un-initialized state" or "... an uninitialized state": From: McLauchlan, Kevin
RE: Usage question - "... un-initialized state" or "... an uninitialized state": From: Lynne Wright
Re: Usage question - "... un-initialized state" or "... an uninitialized state": From: Wanda Phillips
RE: Usage question - "... un-initialized state" or "... an uninitialized state": From: McLauchlan, Kevin

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