Terseness a no-no?

Subject: Terseness a no-no?
From: "Geoff Hart (by way of \"Eric J. Ray\" <ejray -at- raycomm -dot- com>)" <ght -at- MTL -dot- FERIC -dot- CA>
Date: Fri, 6 Nov 1998 06:37:22 -0700

Karen Peterson <<...recently heard that terseness is a tech writing
No No when writing end-user documentation.>>

Maybe. <gdr>

<<What exactly is terseness? Does it refer to the style of writing
that says, "If drive is external, install" as opposed to "If the
drive is external, install it"?>>

I think that as with many (most?) things in writing, there are
multiple definitions floating around and it's a better bet to make
sure that _you_ know what you're talking about rather than relying on
a presumed definition. If by terseness you mean "bad minimalist
design", then you're correct that it's a no-no; if you mean omitting
necessary functional words ("Start computer. Seek Woman. Make like
Cro-Magnon."), then you're also correct. If, on the other hand,
the definition involves writing concisely, without unnecessary
padding, then terse is very good indeed. Of course, then the trick
becomes defining "unnecessary"...
--Geoff Hart @8^{)}
geoff-h -at- mtl -dot- feric -dot- ca

"By God, for a moment there it all made sense!"--Gahan Wilson

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