Avoid Using Trivializing Words

Daniel Starner on October 11, 2018

After being around software engineers for a few years, I've started to pick up on some trends and habits that most devs follow. One habit that I ... [Read Full]
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I learnt this a while back. Not just in speech. Technical documentation is another common culprit.
"Configuring your project to use this package is simple! Just do this..."

Since then, I've been really intentional about my writing and speech. I try not to use "simple/simply" except I know it's likely to be simple to the person I'm speaking to. And I've run away from "just" since it always fucks up deadlines ("oh, I just need to finish this method and I'm done.")

 

Such an important thing to point out! My focus in this battle has been on the word "obviously", but I've also heard engineers in particular actually use the word "trivial" itself. As in, "it should be trivial for you to do xyz." Should it? What if it turns out not to be trivial? It often doesn't add anything helpful to use these types of words, but it does risk alienating people from each other and themselves.

 

Alienating is such a great word for this! I may steal it when I taught about this topic in the future 😂😂

 

You've bring really amazing point out here.

It's something almost as much frustrating as starting explanation with: "This is actually really simple" when someone was struggling with this for a while an finally decided that he need help.

Can make you feel even worse and demotivated because you have problem understanding something so simple.

When presenting any concept we should really remember that everyone has a different background, knowledge and experience.
Not less. Different.
I think we should stop assuming everyone has the same point of view.

 
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