[drupal-devel] [task] Consistent return 'passive voice' in form_set_error() and drupal_set_message()

puregin drupal-devel at drupal.org
Sat Apr 23 08:49:20 UTC 2005

Issue status update for http://drupal.org/node/15595

 Project:      Drupal
 Version:      cvs
 Component:    base system
 Category:     tasks
 Priority:     normal
 Assigned to:  stefan nagtegaal
 Reported by:  bertboerland at www.drop.org
 Updated by:   puregin
 Status:       patch

A big -1 from me on replacing "you" with "me" :)

Regarding the use of the first person - I find it extremely awkward and
confusing to see
usage such as 'My Account',  "Here are my recent posts", etc.   From my
as a native speaker of English, I find that this kind of usage violates
"conversational context".    

To clarify,  if I am communicating with another person *via* the medium
of a
program then I expect that person to follow the normal conventions of
in particular, to say "me, my, I" when referring to him/herself, and
"you, your, etc."
when referring to me.  

If I am communicating with a program, I *also* expect it to follow
conventions.  Particularly obsequious programs may always refer to
in an indirect second person: "This unworthy program was unable to
execute your
most excellent command, and will henceforth terminate itself"   I have
to say
I really don't like this kind of interaction.   I like a program
that tells me straight up "I can't find my configuration files!  Sorry,
I'm giving up!"
People like, understand, and are extremely good at direct
conversational interaction.
It's intuitively clear who is speaking and what the relation to the
listener is.

I might tolerate a page with title "My Account", but really, a message
such as

   'This page shows my site-wide referrer statistics. I can optionally
view just the
    "external referrers" or the "internal  referrers". Referrers are
web pages, both
    local and on other sites, that point to your my site.'

is just plain confusing and unclear.  To quote Sendmail:  "I refuse to
talk to myself"

Please don't inflict this gratuitous use of first person on us!



Previous comments:

January 14, 2005 - 05:59 : bertboerland at www.drop.org

*My* drupal not *Yours*!

I think that when one addresses the user or the administrator of a
site, it is best to do this outside in instead of inside out. So when
in the documentation the coder is referring to the site of the
administrator, this site should be called "your site" (/inside out/)
but "my site" (/outside in/). There are numours examples where the text
in referring to "your"where "my"would be apopriate [1]

There used to be some "your" in the userinterface for the enduser as
well, but that has been solved in 4.5. Before that you had "my
account", but "track your postings". This has now all beens replaced by
"my"and "mine". If everybody agrees, lets also corect this for the
administrator as well; my administrator, not yours ;-)

[1] examples:
admin/logs/referrers "...that point to your web site."
admin/settings "General configuration options for your site"


April 19, 2005 - 08:36 : stefan nagtegaal

We should consistently use the 'passive voice', when returning messages
using form_set_error() and drupal_set_message().


April 22, 2005 - 04:05 : stefan nagtegaal

Attachment: http://drupal.org/files/issues/drupal_set_message consistency part 1 of 2 (51.16 KB)

first patch of 2 to make the drupal_set_message(), form_set_error() and
watchdog() messages more consistent.

please review/comment and apply..


April 22, 2005 - 04:05 : stefan nagtegaal

Setting status to Patch.

More information about the drupal-devel mailing list