RE: passive voice (was RE: Numbering paragraphs

Subject: RE: passive voice (was RE: Numbering paragraphs
From: "McLauchlan, Kevin" <Kevin -dot- McLauchlan -at- safenet-inc -dot- com>
To: Chris Despopoulos <despopoulos_chriss -at- yahoo -dot- com>, sphilip <philstokes03 -at- googlemail -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 23 Oct 2012 11:27:08 -0400

The "agent" of something that occurred outside the current procedure
could very likely be unknown, or could be any of several, such that
attempting to enumerate them would add clutter and likely push the
desired action below-the-fold.

For example, if there are several pre-conditions/prerequisites that must
be in place before you begin to install or configure my product, I don't
care if you performed them, or if your IT department or network admin
performed them, or if some intermediate VAR performed them. I just
care (or, more accurately, I'm informing you that you must care) that they
have been done before you start trying to follow my current instructions.

But my current instructions are active-voice, second person.
[You] Do this.
[You] Verify this.
[You] Do that.
[You] Do the other.

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Chris Despopoulos
> Sent: October-22-12 10:11 AM
> To: sphilip
> Cc: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
> Subject: Re: passive voice (was RE: Numbering paragraphs
>
> For the record, I agree with you here. I'm saying you have to critically
> decide whether to state the agent, not just default to passive voice
> because it's less work (as I have seen all too often).
>
> Where we agree to disagree is whether the user needs to know the
> agent. If you honestly believe the agent is obvious in every case
> where you use passive voice, then all is good, and it's up to the SME
> and/or Marketing to tell you otherwise (or not). In the stuff I do, I
> happen to believe things are not so obvious. Or where they are,
> other devices make passive unnecessary or even inferior.
>
>
> CheersÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂ cud
>
>
>
> ________________________________
> From: sphilip <philstokes03 -at- googlemail -dot- com>
> To: Chris Despopoulos <despopoulos_chriss -at- yahoo -dot- com>
> Cc: Milan DavidoviÄ <milan -dot- lists -at- gmail -dot- com>; "techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-
> l.com" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
> Sent: Monday, October 22, 2012 9:56 AM
> Subject: Re: passive voice (was RE: Numbering paragraphs
>
>
> We can go round in circles like this for ever.
>
> So let's agree that we disagree on this.ÂYou claim:
>
> if the agent is unknown to you, you're not doing your job.
>
> whereas I claim:
>
> if you mention the agent to the reader when the reader has no
> interest in the agent, you're not doing your job properly.
>
> I should certainly know what causes actions in the system I am
> documenting. It doesn't follow from that that mentioning the agent is
> always in the reader's best interest.
>
>
> Best
>
> Phil
> http://applehelpwriter.wordpress.com



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References:
Re: passive voice (was RE: Numbering paragraphs: From: Chris Despopoulos
Re: passive voice (was RE: Numbering paragraphs: From: Milan Davidović
Re: passive voice (was RE: Numbering paragraphs: From: Chris Despopoulos
Re: passive voice (was RE: Numbering paragraphs: From: sphilip
Re: passive voice (was RE: Numbering paragraphs: From: Chris Despopoulos
Re: passive voice (was RE: Numbering paragraphs: From: sphilip
Re: passive voice (was RE: Numbering paragraphs: From: Chris Despopoulos
Re: passive voice (was RE: Numbering paragraphs: From: sphilip
Re: passive voice (was RE: Numbering paragraphs: From: Chris Despopoulos

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