Re: Slam?

Subject: Re: Slam?
From: "Walker, Arlen P" <Arlen -dot- P -dot- Walker -at- JCI -dot- COM>
Date: Wed, 26 Mar 1997 17:08:56 -0500

I am under the assumption that this is a list for technical writers
to learn through their peers. I have been reading and participating
occasionally for several months. Every time I try to be helpful or
say something, other people on the list say oooh! here is a
opportunity to slam someone. Who cares that there in my profession or
that they are trying to learn, or that they might not be as
experienced as I am. I'll slam them anyway.

I just went back and reread some recent list traffic, because I was afraid
I'd missed something. Here I was cruising along, thinking we were all
getting along quite well, and I ran across the post above. I'm afraid I'm
still confused, and I'd truly like some kind soul to enlighten me.

Here's the sequence of events, as near as I can trace it:

Steve Warren posts:

This is an interesting point because there are two standards.
One would include Microsoft standards of To do x, click x. This is
universal through microsoft documentation. Then again I've always
been taught to write in active voice (click x, to do x)

Wayne Douglas replies:

Am I missing something? Both examples are active voice.

And Steve Victor replies:

I don't want to resurrect the old "passive vs. active voice" debate,
really I don't, but I simply must point out that "To do x, click x"
is not in passive voice. "To do x, click x" and "Click x, to do x"
say exactly the same thing in somewhat different ways. Both sentences
are in active voice, imperative mood. The (slight) distinction you
make is one of syntax, not of voice.

And then Steve Warren returns with the first-quoted passage. I guess I need
some help understanding who got slammed by who? (Or is it whom?) I honestly
don't see it. Am I missing some of the relevant events in this chain? Has
my mail server dropped some posts? All I can see is three people
disagreeing over what should be an easily settled factual question about
passive versus active voice. And no one slamming anyone. I guess I'm
confused, or perhaps just insensitive. Would someone please do me the favor
of enlightening me?

(I have to admit that I haven't been following the "click to add" thread;
I'm not a SW writer, so it didn't seem an especially fruitful one for me to

Have fun,
Chief Managing Director In Charge, Department of Redundancy Department
DNRC 224

Arlen -dot- P -dot- Walker -at- JCI -dot- Com
In God we trust; all others must provide data.
Opinions expressed are mine and mine alone.
If JCI had an opinion on this, they'd hire someone else to deliver it.

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