RE: Use of "You"

Subject: RE: Use of "You"
From: "Brierley, Sean" <Sean -at- Quodata -dot- Com>
To: TECHWR-L <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Mon, 29 Nov 1999 11:24:03 -0500


That's a very good point: when in class, do as your instructor tells you.

However, if your instructor is wrong, I would and would recommend that you
debate the point. Of course, the instructor assigns grades. However, if an
instructor teaches something, they ought do so with reason. I assume the
instructor is open for a reasonable discussion on the issue. One of the
greatest things about university is that you have the opportunity to learn
how to think for yourself . . . which such a debate would reinforce.

And, if the teacher is not willing to bend on the issue, then you have two
choices: an 'A' or being true to your beliefs (okay, I know this is only a
discussion about writing . . . but, it is my life <vbg>). Remember, Joanne
quoted: "NEVER use 'you' in technical documentation" NEVER is an awfully big
word that carries a tonne of overhead. NEVER might often fly in the face of
"know your audience."

As an aside, the student might argue that the professors are the audience.
But, realistically, the student is at school do more than please the
student's audience. In my Utopia, anyway, the student is there to learn,
learn how to think and, when necessary, challenge the status quo. Asking for
reason from the professor is part of that . . . and may not be part of the
tech writer's interaction with an audience in the business world. (I
understand the student might have a 4.0 GPA as your goal and dammned be the
learning and thinking)

Similarly, at work, one should debate and discuss style guides and changes,
recognizing that timing, the nature of the change, and the relative
importance of the issue, et al., play as important a role as being right. As
a boss, as a professor, one should be open to learning, suggestions, new
things, and one ought change direction if needed. I'm not sure one should
roll-over and be submissive automatically because one's boss asks for it . .

I suggest that, whether it be at school as a student, or a tech writer at
work, we, you, one, the student, and I are not just bricks in the wall. Now,
where's my pudding??????


sean -at- quodata -dot- com

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Mitchell Gibbs [SMTP:gibbs -at- gnv -dot- fdt -dot- net]
> Joanne,
> When you're in class, do what your instructors tell you to do.
> When you're part of a tech. writing department, do what your boss tells
> you
> to do, or what your style guide tells you to do.
> When you're in a position to make the decision yourself, research the list
> archives on this topic, then decide what's appropriate for your audience.

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