Re: gender issues and using 'you'

Subject: Re: gender issues and using 'you'
From: Garret Romaine <GRomaine -at- MSMAIL -dot- RADISYS -dot- COM>
Date: Mon, 11 Dec 1995 13:36:00 PST

Greg Cento tried to steer gender issues back to tech writing thusly:

<<Now for my technical writing question to the list: Do you make much use of
"you" in your technical documentation? Have you run into limitations? What
would those limitations be?>>

I've had feedback both ways on this in my manuals. Some hate it, feeling
that it is too friendly, too colloquial. Others don't mind a bit.
Personally, I think it lends a human touch to say "If you are formatting a
PCMCIA card, [blah blah blah] rather than just, "If formatting a PCMCIA
I certainly don't intend to strip it all out, as one reviewer suggested.
Besides, the technical support crew says I can keep it in, and they're the
ones that actually handle phone calls when the document is too hard to

Note, however, that it neatly sidesteps the gender issues. That adds

Garret Romaine
gromaine -at- radisys -dot- com

"In my line of work you have to be able to sing either the Battle Hymn of
the Republic or Dixie with equal enthusiasm, depending on present company."

- The Outlaw Josie Wales

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