Words to avoid?

Mike MacCana mike.maccana at gmail.com
Tue Jul 4 03:18:31 UTC 2006

I'd like to get a list of words to avoid - mainly because they're ambiguous.
Apple and Microsoft's own documentation do a good job of avoiding these

* Word to avoid: System.
* Why: Ambiguous. A system is a series of parts that work together to
achieve some overall purpose. Which describes just about everything in life.
I am writing you know using a system involving SMTP, a web based client, and
a regular expression parsing engine. In computer terms, 'system' is
ambiguous, and can mean:
 - A computer
 - The kernel, as opposed to user space.
 - A method of performing some operation
* Better word to use instead:
 - Computer
 - Kernel

* Word to Avoid: Architecture
* Why: Ambiguous.Is my architecture 'x86 64', or 'thin client'? The front
page of Community Docs has used the terms with both meanings for a couple of
months now. Most humans aren't aware that computers have architecture.
* Better word to use instead:
 - CPU type

* Word to avoid: Configure, configuration
* Why: Unnecessary - 'configure' means the same thing as 'set up', but isn't
used part of regular, plain speech.
* Better words to use instead:
  - set up, setting up

Any more suggestions/additions folks?

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