Re: <pPopulate as a verb for "fill in"

Subject: Re: <pPopulate as a verb for "fill in"
From: Geoffrey Marnell <gmarnell -at- OZEMAIL -dot- COM -dot- AU>
Date: Sat, 14 Jan 1995 14:24:48 +1100

The verb 'populate' is a bit of programmers' jargon, and no tech writer
worth his sodium chloride should use it in a manual or document aimed at
a non-technical audience. Even so, it s a pretty inapt 'synonym' for
'fill in' or 'enter data into' or 'type [x] in [field Y]. The metaphor is
all wrong, as data entry has little in common with procreation.

Another bit of programmers' jargon appearing too often is 'navigate' (as
in "press <PF3> to navigate to the [X] screen". Again the metaphor is
strained (as normally the navigator of a car, plane or boat is not the
driver, pilot, skipper). The good old 'display' or 'show' does the trick
better and is understood by EVERYONE.

Rememeber that the first rule of technical writing is to write TO your
audience.


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