OASIS Mailing List ArchivesView the OASIS mailing list archive below
or browse/search using MarkMail.


Help: OASIS Mailing Lists Help | MarkMail Help

[Date Prev] | [Thread Prev] | [Thread Next] | [Date Next] -- [Date Index] | [Thread Index]
RE: [xml-dev] Schematron Question: proper way to express the text version of assertions?

> Even for texts that are not diagnostic, the tone may be 
> important. An old usability text I read said that users react 
> strongly to messages that they think are strident and which 
> seem to blame the user. So shifting "must" to the more polite 
> "should", which will be a locale- and language-dependent 
> consideration of course, might be friendly. On the other 
> hand, when assertions are used contractually, then precision 
> and definiteness may override politeness, I suppose.

This was very much the kind of thing I was thinking of. Techies are used to
"bad date" or "illegal username", but non-techies regard these words as
suggesting some kind of unethical behaviour. In fact, as programmers we make
so many mistakes that we rarely take it personally when our mistakes are
pointed out, so we forget that people in clerical jobs can be surprisingly
sensitive to anything they construe as criticism of the quality of their

The other important thing in phrasing messages is to decide whether you are
addressing people who know what the rules are, and just need to be told that
they've slipped up, or whether you are addressing people who don't know the
rules and need to be told what they are.

Remember that many integrity constraints are there because the system can't
handle something perfectly reasonable, not because the request is
intrinsically absurd. In such cases a "Sorry" might not go amiss: "Sorry,
the system cannot handle orders placed more than one year in advance".

Michael Kay

[Date Prev] | [Thread Prev] | [Thread Next] | [Date Next] -- [Date Index] | [Thread Index]

News | XML in Industry | Calendar | XML Registry
Marketplace | Resources | MyXML.org | Sponsors | Privacy Statement

Copyright 1993-2007 XML.org. This site is hosted by OASIS