Re: negative language in warnings:

Subject: Re: negative language in warnings:
From: Barb Philbrick <caslonsvcs -at- IBM -dot- NET>
Date: Mon, 19 May 1997 17:48:19 GMT

>Because of the reason for warnings, it's important to communicate accurately
>and for the reader to remember the warning accurately. However, it is
>extremely difficult to recast warnings into concise positive sentences. Does
>anyone else edit out negative language in the main text and think it is
>something to be concerned about in the text of warnings and alerts?
I do exactly the same thing for the same reasons you cite. It is
difficult sometimes. I sometimes cheat by using "un" and "in"
prefixes, but it's still better to recast the sentences.

Sometimes it's impractical to change. For example, the first line of
one of our cautions is:

Do not use a megohmmeter for continuity checks in the drive.

Ideally, we would tell them what to use, instead of what not to use,
but eventually we still have to tell them not to use a megohmmeter

Lose the nots!

Barbara Philbrick, Caslon Services Inc.

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