Using exclamation marks

Subject: Using exclamation marks
From: "Carnall, Jane" <Jane -dot- Carnall -at- compaq -dot- com>
To: "'TECHWR-L'" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 12 Nov 1999 21:41:29 -0000

Moving away from peanut butter and on to subjects of perhaps equal
importance, what do techwhirlers think of exclamation marks?

During a recent document review, a tester said that he had difficulty
spotting the rather small message at the bottom of a window, indicating that
the installation was successfully completed, and would I please highlight it
in some way in the illustration in the manual.

I obliged with a box, with an arrow pointing to the actual message. When
composing the message for the indicator box, I at first put:

Look! Execution successfully completed!

but then I wondered if it looked too enthusiastic, too... ungrey... too...
unprofessional... perhaps even condescending... (Also, it's late on a Friday
evening and I wondered if I were just getting silly: the impulse to add a
little animated ferret in honour of AskTog's prairie dog *was* definitely
silly, and I suppressed it like a guinea-pig in Wonderland.)

So I entered instead the bland but accurate:

Execution successfully completed.

which, with the outlined box and the arrow draws attention to the message,
which is what I was originally asked for.

So, my question for the weekend is: What would you have done? Exclamation
marks? (Dancing ferrets? A little wav file, making little wavs?) Or just
plain full stop? (Or even period. Whatever.)

Have a nice weekend!


Jane Carnall
Technical Writer, Compaq, UK
These opinions are mine, and mine alone.

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