Using the word "disable"

Subject: Using the word "disable"
From: Chris Hamilton <caxdj -at- EARTHLINK -dot- NET>
Date: Tue, 20 Jul 1999 11:29:53 -0400

I'm documenting a product for technical people. The software allows you
to send messages from one enclosed domain to another using an internet
link with heavy-duty security. Domains are referred to as trading
partners. Because people will be billed by volume being sent through our
service to them, they need to be able to select who, in the outside
world, can send them messages.

The terms we're using on the GUI that allows you to make such selections
are "enable" and "disable." For internal political reasons, I don't want
to raise this issue unless it's likely to offend people. Absent any
likely user outrage, I have other more important hills to die on.

So please send me your opinion about whether disable is verboten and
I'll summarize for the list. I'd really rather not start a holy war
about this.

I checked MS Manual of Style and they said that in some technical
situations, disable is okay. This is a technical product, but the
reference is in a GUI, so it's not a clean line. Read Me First! doesn't
deal with it in their index.

Chris Hamilton
Technical Writer
Tampa, FL
caxdj -at- earthlink -dot- net

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