I used to work for this one software company.
To protect innocent standers that are by, or bystanders, I'll keep that software company's name secret. For now anyway. I might reveal it's true identity after it tanks. And by tanks I mean sinks to the bottom of the Pacific - not the bottom of Utah Lake where it currently resides. It's a good thing this company is a tall one. Utah Lake is almost 10 feet deep in the middle, so some of it's floors and a few of its employees are still afloat and breathing. Others? Not so lucky.
Anyway. While at this software company, I worked with many personality types. One such type was the Creative Writing Reject Gone Software Documentation Superstar (or CWRGSDS). You know the type. The type who's sole purpose in life began at the age of 3 - when they learned to read and mostly write.
Write, I tell you. They were born to write.
Some of us were Born To Run. Some of us were Born To Be Wild. Others of us were simply Newborn. These guys were born to write. They had dreams of releasing themselves, fresh with collegiate cap and gown, onto the typewriter (or word processor - whatever these new writing kids on the block are into), only to discover that the world doesn't buy stories from the unknown.
And so they write software documentation. And they try to make it snazzy. And then people like me, who were hired to test software and its documentation for accuracy, would have to break it to them softly - I'd have to tell them that Sweet Grandma Edna and Little Ol' Uncle Chuck would not be able to understand their ornamental operative for sending an e-mail.
Make it simple, I'd tell them. Use smaller words, I'd also tell them.
Since I left this software company, a little web site called Facebook has changed the way people keep in touch. I've been keeping in touch with my old work cronies on this Facebook thingee. And just last week, while responding to a controversial topic, one of those Creative Writing Reject Gone Software Documentation Superstars (CWRGSDS) got me back.
Here's how the conversation ensued...
A former up-worker (he was a VP - so he's an up-worker not co-worker), one with a controversial countenance, posted a controversial photo with attached question. It was something about Victoria Secretish supermodels showing off their mastectomy scars. He asked if the photo was offensive. I responded with "that depends on whether or not the scar was photoshopped."
Then Creative Writing Reject Gone Software Documentation Superstar (CWRGSDS) said, "Peeve alert! When the options expressed by 'whether' are affirmative and negative and no other, it's unnecessary to include, 'or not.' For example, 'Depends on whether or not the scar....' could be simply, 'Depends on whether the scar....' There. I feel better; hope you don't feel worse."
First, lets say that I welcome feedback, criticism and corrections in all things - and this includes the way I write. In fact, consider this an open invitation to hack through any post of mine, preferrably with a red pen, and let me have it. I make no claims on the goodness (or badness) of my writing, so give me your best shot.
But Facebook? You're going to project literary corrections on Fellow Facebookers? A place where OMG and WTF and LOL are without a doubt the most transcribed expressions?
Makes me wish that we could send texts back 'n forth. So as I can see him munch up his allotted character space lashing out at the literary illiterate.