Re: Re[2]: Using Humor Judiciously

Subject: Re: Re[2]: Using Humor Judiciously
From: Sue Heim <sue -at- RIS -dot- RISINC -dot- COM>
Date: Mon, 20 May 1996 14:10:29 PST

Arlen joined the "humor OK?" discussion with:
> My all-time
> favorite line from a user manual employed a small degree of humor. The
> manual for a program called "hTest," a hard disk optimization and testing
> package contained the sentence:

> "While this operation should not damage the data on your hard drive in any
> way, no sane person would try this without a backup."

> Not only simple, clear and to-the-point, but " sane person..." makes
> it memorable. Which is perfect for a warning.

I'm not sure I would put that in any of my manuals. Unfortunately,
I've got a feeling that someone would feel insulted if, for example,
that person went ahead and used the program *without* backing up
their data. Then they called our Tech Support department to see what
happened and sometime during the course of that conversation they
were told where in the docs to look for instructions on how to avoid
messing things up, and then they read " sane person..." and
oops! Sorta adds insult to injury... <grin>

Then again, as others have said, humor is subjective and what may be
funny to me is just as likely not to be funny to another. I'll walk
the "straight and narrow" and not include humor (anyways, the target
market for most of my docs is researchers and scientists and I'm
almost positive that they are much more cerebral than I -- and YES!
that was a joke and an intended generalization and this is a
disclaimer that I really didn't mean any harm and that all I really
want to do is go home and enjoy the sunshine for the rest of the day!

Sue Heim
Research Information Systems
Carlsbad, California USA
Email: Sue -at- ris -dot- risinc -dot- com

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