Re[2]: Killer Language -Reply

Subject: Re[2]: Killer Language -Reply
From: Iain Harrison <iharrison -at- SCT -dot- CO -dot- UK>
Date: Thu, 14 Nov 1996 11:26:09 GMT

Melissa writes:
This is why I use "abandon." It also means that we are in the
middle of a process and are going to bail out ASAP even if
that creates even more problems than we already had. And it
doesn't bring up the specter of human abortion.

I don't mind using "hit," but people who work with me prefer
"press," so that's what I use, even though it seems overly
dainty to me. I don't mind indulging their sensitivities. It
would be nice if they would return the favor.

I have to disagree. 'Abandon' implies leaving 'whatever' where
it is, possibly in its half-finished state, but still there.
'Cancel' is nearer than 'abandon', but neither mean the same as
'abort'. You may think of what doctors like to call
'terminations' in humans - (a termination is an abortion that is
deliberately caused, whereas <I>any</I> miscarriage of a foetus
is technically an abortion), but that says more about your
thinking than the true meaning of the word.

You can abort a process, causing it to end prematurely without
completing, and destroying the products of the process thus far.
This has nothing at all to do with human life.

Where would this silliness end? Will we be banning 'Stop'? We
already have the nonsense of coffee with or without milk, rather
than black or white. Let's not promote such misunderstandings of
what language is about.

Do you really think that use of the word abort in this context
will cause one human life to be lost? Does describing 'coffee
with milk' as 'white coffee' really damage the life experience
of a single black person?

As for using 'hit' instead of 'press', I am less clear in my

There is an issue here with that the user is supposed to do.
Mostly, what is wanted is a short press of the key, but not
holding it down long enough to auto-repeat. I do not like
violent language, and 'Hit' does seem slightly odd to me. It
also implies more force than the average keyboard is designed to

Generally, we use 'type' to tell a user to press a key or keys,
and 'enter' if they are expected to press Enter after the
prescribed keys. I don't see that as a bad solution, but I don't
remember any discussion of it - we just wrote that way.

BTW, not a comment to your posting, but I've never heard of
<I>anyone</I> who thinks 'nuke food' when using a microwave

Iain Harrison
iharrison -at- sct -dot- co -dot- uk

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