Re: Killer -Reply

Subject: Re: Killer -Reply
From: Kris Olberg <kjolberg -at- IX -dot- NETCOM -dot- COM>
Date: Sun, 17 Nov 1996 16:41:49 -0800

This thread has generated alot of discussion about the differences between
"abort" and "stop." The definitions presented generally say that "abort"
implies an abnormal end to a process where stop does not.

Before I argue against the irrelevant nature of these definitions within the
context of this thread, let me say first that I do not condone the use of
negative connotation terminology in professional documentation. Why not?
Because I don't think it's necessary. I use "stop" for "abort." I use "end"
for "terminate." I use "run" for "execute." And on and on.

The definition of "abort" and "stop" are not relevant to this discussion
because the difference is not relevant to the readers. For many nontechnical
(and maybe even technical) software users, their perspective is this: the
program stopped, and there may be consequences as a result. In the case that
the program "aborted," an error message emanating from the program should
say ...

The program stopped. <insert consequence/action here>

... rather than

The program aborted ...

Here are some examples of error messages that would be meaningful to users
(assuming that online help contains meaningful info):

The program stopped. Your work was not saved. Press Help for details.
The program stopped. Press Help for details.
The program stopped. You need to restart your computer.
The program stopped. Press F6 to restart it.

The only time the technical distinction between "abort" and "stop" MIGHT be
useful to readers is for product troubleshooter or programmers. Even so, the
error message still need not use the term "abort" but rather should convey
meaningful information instead--like "Failure at process x" or "Unable to
access table y."

kjolberg -at- ix -dot- netcom -dot- com (preferred)
kjolberg -at- aol -dot- com
kjolberg -at- msn -dot- com
kolberg -at- actamed -dot- com
102031 -dot- 3556 -at- compuserve -dot- com
s -dot- othoudt -at- worldnet -dot- att -dot- net

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