Re[2]: Using the Term "User"

Subject: Re[2]: Using the Term "User"
From: Susan Gallagher <Susan_Gallagher_at_Enfin-SD -at- RELAY -dot- PROTEON -dot- COM>
Date: Fri, 3 Dec 1993 14:18:00 EST

Fred M Jacobson writes:

>I strongly support using the second person instead of the third person
>in manual. I believe that it is not only friendlier, but also clearer
>and easier to understand. This leaves the third person for refering
>to people other than the reader. For example, "You need to create the
>account for your new user. He or she needs to set the password."
>What about using the _first_ person in documents. Everywhere I've ever
>worked, it's been prohibited. I've never wanted to write "I think ...",
>but at times "You should ..." does express "We recommend ..." What's
>your take on this?

Our style guide (and this is a point I agree on)
specifically mentions "You should..." as a phrase "we
should" avoid. Just tell 'em to do it. "We recommend...",
however, is a phrase I do use occasionally (as in "We
recommend that you make a backup copy of this file before
you make any changes."). It's kindov a CYA thing.

>By the way, I have a problem occasionally with "user." Not that it
>connotes drug user; after all, I still call a crack "a crack." Rather
>that it is too close to the verb. What do you write instead of "The user can
>use this command to ..." in a spec or other context where the third person is
>appropriate. (Or do you care?)

How 'bout...
"The user may then select (issue) this command..."

Here's were I'm almost tempted to break another of my
longStanding rules and use the word "invoke" to refer to a
computer command rather than a magic spell!


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