Re: Summary: "The dialog box appears"

Subject: Re: Summary: "The dialog box appears"
From: "Richard J. Collins" <writejob -at- DNAI -dot- COM>
Date: Wed, 2 Apr 1997 19:10:55 -0800

Hi Mike,
The standard justification I have seen used for preferring the present
tense is that technical writing is a branch of scientific writing and in
scientific writing the present is preferred. It is easier to keep
relationships clear if you "normalize" everything. For example, in an
astronomy book you will read something like "the moon revolves around the
earth" not "the moon will revolve around the earth". Unless you have a
pointed reason to go off into the future, processes are always better
understood if everything is couched in terms of the present.

Science writing goes back several thousand years so one does not discard
that tradition lightly. It must be that our minds are wired to make it
easier to assimilate knowledge of processes more easily if everthing
happens in the present.

My 2-bits.

Rich. Collins


----------
> From: Mike Starr <writstar -at- WI -dot- NET>
> To: TECHWR-L -at- LISTSERV -dot- OKSTATE -dot- EDU
> Subject: Re: Summary: "The dialog box appears"
> Date: Wednesday, April 02, 1997 9:06 AM
>
> I sent this reply direct to Geoff H and he suggested I post it to the
list.
> I access the newsgroup because it conserves my email bandwidth but forget
> that if I post to the newsgroup, it doesn't automatically get mirrored to
> the list. (duhhh).
>
>
From ??? -at- ??? Sun Jan 00 00:00:00 0000=
>
> The usage I've used for quite some time is:
>
> Click the Add... button.
> Windows displays the Create Shortcut dialog box.
>
> Mike
>
> --
> Mike Starr | WriteStarr Information Services
> Technical Documentation | Telephone: 414-697-6333
> 8920 Wilmot Road | Fax: 414-697-6334
> Kenosha, Wisconsin 53142 | Email: writstar -at- wi -dot- net
>
> geoff-h -at- mtl -dot- feric -dot- ca wrote in article
> <9702308597 -dot- AA859754975 -at- feric -dot- mtl -dot- feric -dot- ca>...
> > A week or so ago, I asked for opinions on whether it is
> > better to use wording such as "the dialog box appears"
> > (present tense) or "the dialog box will appear" (future
> > tense). Nobody cited any usability (or other) studies that
> > demonstrated any difference between the two wordings, but
> > the consensus was nonetheless that present tense is
> > preferable: it's more common, it reflects the user's
> > immediate experience, it avoids the problem of "_when_ does
> > it appear?", and it's shorter. In the absence of any
> > usability studies, I'd class these supposed benefits as
> > "hypotheses to be proven"; however, because the approach is
> > what users have come to expect, the greater familiarity
> > would certainly compensate for any hypothetical lack of
> > difference in usability between the two approaches. Thanks
> > to all who responded.
> >
> > --Geoff Hart @8^{)} geoff-h -at- mtl -dot- feric -dot- ca
> > Disclaimer: Speaking for myself, not FERIC.
>
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