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Re: Use of the first person in messages from the computer

Quoting Steve Langasek (vorlon@debian.org):

> I categorically reject the notion that removing second-person usage from our
> debconf questions is at all beneficial.  And when you fix non-problems in
> your language, you almost invariably make things worse by reducing clarity
> or increasing verbosity.
> Instead of trying to eliminate second-person pronouns, it would be far
> better if people tried to find ways that fewer questions would need to be
> asked of the user at high priority in the first place.

We actually had this discussion with Steve when some of his packages
were reviewed by the team.

I have to mention, in name of the team (and also because I feel like
being the target of some of his comments), that nothing has ever been
enforced on anyone. We're doing proposals and they are discussed with
maintainers. When maintainers don't agree with our proposals, then we
revert them, and the final proposed text is always (I think)
reflecting the consensus with package maintainers.

It is true that we (and I, in particular) try to avoid too many
recurrences of "your computer" and similar things, actually
second-person use (and indeed not all of them: addressing the reader
with second-person is most of the time left as is).

This is however not as strict and anal as some comments seem to
imply. My main point here is avoiding a recurring assumption that
people configuring things on Debian are doing so and their own laptop
and that this is the only use of the operating system. So, for
instance, when I install a samba file server, this is 99% of the time
not on "my" computer but more often on one one my company's file
server. In such case, I feel like saying "Do you want <foo> on this
computer?" instead of "Do you want <foo> on your computer?" is more

This is all. Nothing more, nothing less.

I encourage readers of this thread to read some texts we reviewed in
the past : you'll find second-person uses and even some that haven't
been debated at all...

It's less likely that you find *first* person uses...but this is
mostly because we always convinced the original writer that there were

> Yes.  I'm unlikely to use my finite Debian time for template reviews anyway,
> but I'm certainly not going to do so as long as debian-l10n-english is used
> as a vehicle for imposing arbitrary personal style rules that don't have
> consensus among the wider English speaking communtiy.

Wouldn't this be sent by someone I consider being a friend, I could
feel offended. I encourage readers to check how things work in dle and
how the anal suggestions related to my arbitrary personal style rules
are well balanced by my fellow co-workers (/me bends to Justin,
here....he's doing much more work than I do). I very much doubt that
the final result is that bad.

In some cases (that might actually happen with the review of
xonft-straditional, that triggerred this thread), I may give up
because we're obviously in disagreement with the maintainer, leave
things as they were when we started the reivew and just jump to the
task of translating this to properly written <my_language>. That's no
big deal..:)

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