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TheBlueCat

Writing Style, Which Do You Prefer

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After posting on another thread, I read my post and decided the writing style sucked so tidied it up a bit. I'm interested though, which of these does the HPC collective prefer and why?

Version A

If you're the CEO of somewhere the size of Yahoo, there is an infinite amount of work you could do. The skill is in picking the right 40-50 hours' worth, anything more is an attempt to boil the ocean. Anyone who regularly works a genuine 130 hours (on-call but asleep doesn't count) is either incompetent or has a behavioural disorder.

Version B

If you're the CEO of somewhere the size of Yahoo, there is more or less an infinite amount of work you could do. The real skill is in picking the right 40-50 hours worth, anything else is just a futile attempt to boil the ocean. Anyone who regularly works a genuine 130 hours (on-call but asleep doesn't count) is either incompetent or has some kind of behavioural disorder.

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A is more efficient, B is more friendly. Preference depends on context. If you were providing me with information then A, if you were disagreeing with me then B.

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The appropriate writing style is always dependent on context. For emails and fora I always tend towards the verbose because it's too easy to misconstrue terse language as hostile, even when it isn't.

For official things at work there is an accepted scientific writing style (terse, and anything in the past is 3rd person) that I always stick to.

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Sadly there are always people who will write 'Within the curtilage of the hereditament to which this report refers ( see paragraph 1 above and site plan in Appendix A)' when they could have written 'on site'.

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Google have some good guidelines for writing for an online audience:

https://material.google.com/style/writing.html#writing-language

  • Be concise
  • Write in the present
  • Write simply and directly
  • Write for all levels of readers
Etc.

Worth a read, esp if you're writing for the yoof...

Not much use for HPC off topic, we're mostly old farts.

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When I was in charge of getting stuff written by teams of finance bods and engineers (God help me[1]) I used to chuck the Economist Style Guide at them. Not that they read it or acted on it - but at least I'd felt I'd tried.

http://www.economist.com/styleguide/introduction

[1] I was one too.

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When I was in charge of getting stuff written by teams of finance bods and engineers (God help me[1]) I used to chuck the Economist Style Guide at them. Not that they read it or acted on it - but at least I'd felt I'd tried.

http://www.economist.com/styleguide/introduction

[1] I was one too.

I like the six rules very much. They are, by coincidence, what I used to do when trying to improve the letter writing skills of junior staff

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