RE: Terminology nitpicking (was: Positive feedback...)

Subject: RE: Terminology nitpicking (was: Positive feedback...)
From: Mike Stockman <stockman -at- jagunet -dot- com>
To: "Melanie Shook" <mshook -at- com2001 -dot- com>, "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 15 Sep 1999 19:35:51 -0400

On 09/15/1999 5:21 PM, Melanie Shook (mshook -at- com2001 -dot- com) wrote:

>No matter how saddened or peeved Stallman, Sandy and others are, terms like
>"hacker" and "positive feedback" have long term accepted meanings in the
>mainstream (American) culture that differ from their original meanings.

True, but when a word is still changing, don't we have an obligation to
apply the correct usage in documentation? Most people use "baud" and
"bits per second" interchangably, but I hope any piece of documentation
would use them correctly, despite the common usage.

I just finished a project where I explained "hacker" vs. "cracker" up
front, and then proceeded to use "cracker" throughout to indicate the
criminal types. None of the reviewers, technical or otherwise, expressed
any confusion.

I think that if a word is in the process of changing, we still need to
stick to the correct meaning, and use the opportunity to educate the
reader. After all, that's what we do.


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