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The occasional two or three post question and answer on some point of
grammar seems reasonable to me, but the recent octothorpe and "since"
discussions seem excessive in the context of technical writing.
I have never had the time, as a tech writer, to spend several days
debating a single word.
The nature of the business is to write and move on. Come back for
revision, move on again. Fast. If I think "since" might confuse my
reader, I don't use it. If I'm not sure what my reader calls a symbol, I
refer to a style guide, and show a picture of the thing in question the
first time I use it, and in the glossary (if any). A matter of seconds or
minutes, not hours or days. This isn't Great Literature for the Ages,
this is getting the information communicated in an accurate and timely
I'm not saying anything definite about what can and can't be discussed.
What I am doing is pointing out the contrast between the way these
discussions have been going and the way the job is done.
Certainly, these things are the tools we use. But if it's subtle enough
to warrant more than two responses, it's too subtle for my readers, and I
find another way.
From: Penny Staples[SMTP:pstaples -at- UBISERVER -dot- CHS -dot- MB -dot- CA]
Sent: Friday, October 04, 1996 11:56 AM
Subject: Re: Writing vs. ??? TECHNICAL writing
.. I believe that the rules of
grammar and usage are among the most important tools of our
profession. If we don't use them properly, then we aren't
professional writers -- technical or otherwise.
Given this, I am somewhat mystified as to why anyone would
have a problem with a discussion of usage on this list (hope
this isn't too incendiary...).