Re[2]: You, you, you . . .

Subject: Re[2]: You, you, you . . .
From: "Virginia L. Krenn" <asdxvlk -at- OKWAY -dot- OKSTATE -dot- EDU>
Date: Tue, 12 Dec 1995 08:34:10 -0600

I worked in a Department for nearly thirteen years where the
documentation that was produced for systems and programs was
expected to be used by programmers, analysts, administrators,
computer operators, and the end users. This general purpose
documentation had to be clear in who was to do what.

______________________________ Reply Separator _________________________________
Subject: Re: You, you, you . . .
Author: "Brad Barnes (T)" <blb -at- FORMTEK -dot- COM> at SMTP
Date: 12/11/95 8:19 PM

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

My reply to Mr. Mateosian's comment:

What I perceive in Mr. Mateosian's comment above is confusion about who
the audience is.

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.

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