Re: sanity check and intangibles

Subject: Re: sanity check and intangibles
From: Marilyn Barrett O'Leary <moleary -at- LSUVM -dot- SNCC -dot- LSU -dot- EDU>
Date: Wed, 28 Aug 1996 13:18:35 +0100

>Date: Tue, 27 Aug 1996 10:00:36 -0400
>From: DURL <durl -at- BUFFNET -dot- NET>
>Subject: Re: Sanity check& intangibles

> Yes, I think we should constantly be doing all those things like
>encouraging the's how we get him/her to read our stuff. BUT
>this might be more about usability & audience analysis & getting to know
>our audience, and not working out of our own biases. Do you know what a
>veliger is? I didn't, and wanted to change it to a better-understood term
>(a larval mollusk; now you know!!). Then I found out my audience knew
>veligers from mollusks like I know my phone number. What I would've
>thought was helpful would've been perceived as patronizing.
> So: do we really have here an argument for usability & audience
>analysis before moving on to the rhetoric? For ex, do *all* engineering
>firms work solely in greys and maroons? All lawyers in Times?

I want to know how the writer found out the audience knew the term
"veliger" and why can't we define it in such a way that the audience would
not consider inclusion of the definition patronizing?

I can see the professional (academic or industrial biologist) having no
need for the definition, but a less professional audience in most areas
would not know the word. Thus, by not defining the word, you limit the
future use of the document or the potential distribution of the document to
populations familiar with "veliger" -- in this case, concentrated primarily
in the great lakes region. So, where do we draw the line?

Marilyn Barrett O'Leary
Louisiana Sea Grant College Program
Louisiana State University
Baton Rouge, LA 70803-7507
moleary -at- lsuvm -dot- sncc -dot- lsu -dot- edu

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