Re: the magical appearance of dialog boxes

Subject: Re: the magical appearance of dialog boxes
From: Len Olszewski <saslpo -at- UNX -dot- SAS -dot- COM>
Date: Mon, 31 Jan 1994 13:18:04 -0500

Michael Priestley writes:

> As someone else has already pointed out, "appears" is indeed active (albeit
> intransitive). However, you're not the only person who feels it to be in
> some sense magical (ie inappropriate). You say the system displays them.
> Someone else (sorry, I forget who) proposed that the user displays them.
> I propose that sometimes the user displays them (by selecting a choice) and
> sometimes the system displays them (spitting up a message out of the
> mysterious (magical?) internal workings of the application). Using the word
> "appears" instead handles both kinds of situation.

I like to use the imagery of the window metaphor. Usually, I write "You
open the dialog window", or "Selecting CONTINUE opens a dialog box", or
something like that. These are all active, transitive and involve the
user. Your own tastes may lead you to another even better solution, but
that's how I handle it.

"Appears" *does* sound a little magical, but then again, I sometimes
write about "invoking" processes. After reading review comments, I
confess to tossing around a curse or two, but that's *another* story

> I'm enjoying the discussion, and I hope it continues.

Well, it continued at least one more posting. You didn't say you wanted
a *substantive* discussion.


|Len Olszewski, Technical Writer |"Don't use the imperative!" |
|saslpo -at- unx -dot- sas -dot- com|Cary, NC, USA| -Rhetorical contradiction |
| Opinions this ludicrous are mine. Reasonable opinions will cost you.|

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