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The original question was:
> >Do you make much use of "you" in your technical documentation?
> >Have you run into limitations?
Mr. Mateosian replied:
> Yes. Yes.
> Suppose you're writing a manual for system administrators, and you want to
> tell them what users are expected to do in a certain situation. If you refer
> to both the system administrator you're addressing and the user that you're
> talking about as "you," you're likely to confuse your reader. ...RM
What I perceive in Mr. Mateosian's comment above is confusion about who the
If I'm writing a manual for system administrators, then the system administrator
is my audience, NOT some other users. I would never refer to these other users
in the second person in a system administrator's manual! If I had to refer to
other users in a system administrator's manual, then I would refer to them in
the third person. Simple as that.
Instructions and procedures for other users belong in a user's guide of some
sort, not in the system admin manual.