Random Inkings

March 6, 2008

With All Due Respect

Filed under: Random — Little Miss @ 11:24 pm

When one prefaces a statement with this phrase, isn’t it pretty much like saying f*** you? That’s how I read it. I never “hear” it with a tone of genuine respect. It’s a phrase that glosses over the coming snarky, snide, arrogant, and pissy comments that are sure to follow.

I recently responded to a post on one of my professional writing group discussion lists about how to write something when documenting a process around software. I’ve been doing this a long time and cited my source, which was Microsoft Manual of Style for Technical Publications. Granted, they aren’t the only style guide around for documenting software, but they are the predominant one. Sun Microsystems style guide is out there, but they conflict in some areas with other established style guides, such as Chicago Manual of Style, so I discount what they say. I’ve got all three books in my library and have studied them all. In fact, the Chicago book was required reading in my technical writing and editing courses. Not reference – reading. We were assigned complete chapters to read for the week and then were tested on it. I learned to love that instructor and why she made us do that.

Anyhow, I digress. The response I got to my post started off with “With all due respect to the geniuses at Microsoft, I disagree.” He then went on to quote how many hits he got off Google by writing the phrase in a way I would consider incorrect. That seemed to justify his statement. Just because it comes up in a Google search doesn’t make it correct. Google just about anything and you can get the results to support your skewed thesis. Doesn’t make it less ludicrous. Anyway, it’s not my document so why do I care? I guess his intro phrase just pissed me off.

And why do people hate Microsoft so much? Is it a hatred for their success? Is it fear of global domination? These are rhetorical questions, because I really don’t care that much and it would probably end up in some political discussion, which is somewhere I refuse to go. Microsoft has done great things – some crappy software, to be sure – but new and great things are coming out of that campus these days. Plus, they’ve (indirectly) paid my mortgage for many years now, so I’m quite happy following their style guide.

Oh, and the stupidest question ever about Microsoft asked of me by an engineer when we were implementing a Microsoft product that worked marginally (less than one percent) better with Internet Explorer than with Firefox (Mozilla): “What’s the deal? Does Microsoft want us to only use Internet Explorer?”



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