Re: Killer Language -Reply

Subject: Re: Killer Language -Reply
From: "Kenneth M. Nuckols" <KNuck -at- BESTBUY -dot- COM>
Date: Tue, 12 Nov 1996 12:18:29 -0600

At 01:23 PM 11/11/96 -0500, you wrote:
>IMNSHO:

>Personally, I'm apt to use "hit return" or "'hit enter", but what bugs me
>about terms like "abort" and "Kill" is not the violence but the melodrama. I
>get visions of reactor core meltdowns and Tom Cruise ejecting himself
>from a burning fighter plane. We're documenting software or hardware
>(mostly for civilian use), not writing screenplays.


Hey all;

I've been following this thread quietly, but Amy's post made me think of
something, especially her comment about distracting language. I find
verbage like "hit any key" excessively harsh (sorry, Amy). Even more
distracting to me, however, is the phrase "touch any key," that seems to be
the product of somebody's twisted attempt at a kinder, gentler mutation of
technical writing. I suppose next we'll see somebody tell us "caress any
key." Why not simply tell the user what you really want them to do: "press
any key."

Of course, there is still a danger with this approach--as one of the PC
Techs at a store wrote on the company e-mail, a customer called him to
complain she couldn't find the "any" key that her software manual kept
mentioning.

So here's my question for the group--what examples of "excessive tenderness"
as opposed to "excessive violence" have you noticed in technical documents,
user manuals, or other instructions? Or am I the only one who sees being
too passive (I refuse to use the nonsensical "pacifistic" --eeewww) in
writing as a fault?

Ken
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Kenneth Nuckols Best Buy Co., Inc.
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Eden Prarie, MN 55344
Ph: (612) 947-2518 FAX: (612) 996-4242

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--Anonymous


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