Re: the technical name for the #?

Subject: Re: the technical name for the #?
From: Geoff Lane <geoff -at- GJCTECH -dot- FORCE9 -dot- NET>
Date: Wed, 2 Dec 1998 12:35:37 -0000

In response to Don Timmerman's:
>>
I just had a moment of inspiration and ask if one is writing procedures that
include the use of the subject symbol, why even bother to give it a name?
Why not use something like the following.

When finished, press the # key.

Why should the statement be written as,

When finished, press the pound (#) key.

Of course, this method works for only written communication. Verbal
communication is another issue.
<<

Andy Cheyne wrote:
>>
Well, I think you've answered your own question in that last
paragraph, Don. In my experience, you can seldom consider product
manuals in isolation. Just imagine a user, who has learnt all about
the product from the manual, having to make a call to technical
support:

"Hello, I've a problem. My system hangs when I press the... er... what
d'you call it?...you know... that key with the funny symbol..."
[rest snipped]<<

------------[ REPLY SEPARATOR ]---------

I think that Don has a perfectly good approach here. Try reading the
following sentence aloud: "To exit, press #." Chances are that if you're
British, you said, "To exit, press hash."; if you're American, you said, "To
exit, press pound." or "To exit, press the number key." Most people are
familiar with the #, so why not let them use the name with which they're
familiar?

Technical support will be in the user's own country, and will use the same
term as the user. Writing "When finished, press the # key" could avoid
(rather than cause) confusion.

Of course, you'd need to know that nearly all of your readers are familiar
with the object before using this approach.


Cheers,

Geoff Lane
Cornwall, UK
geoff -at- gjctech -dot- force9 -dot- net


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