Silly tests and foul language

Subject: Silly tests and foul language
From: Matthew Stern <MAStern -at- PLATSOFT -dot- COM>
Date: Tue, 17 Sep 1996 09:24:00 -0700

LurkMode()=off

I've been following the string about one poster's use of the f-word. I
agree with everyone else that such language is inappropriate for a
public online forum. However, I disagree with one poster's comment:

>...If you let their language get in the way of your listening, you reduce
>your ability to communicate.

>We are writers, and all words are ours.

As technical communicators, we are responsible for expressing ourselves
so that our message can be understood clearly by the reader. If anything
might prevent the reader from understanding the information or distract
him or her from reading it, we need to remove it, no matter how nice or
hip it sounds. If the reader finds that our language gets in the way,
it's our fault -- not the reader's.

Clearly, profane language distracts the reader and interferes with the
reader's understanding. If the poster had written the same message
without that four-letter word, we would have just agreed with the
message and gone on.

So, now that the point has been made, let's go on to other technical
writing issues...

Thanks,
Matthew Stern
Sr. Technical Writer
Platinum Software Corporation
mastern -at- platsoft -dot- com

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