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iiRDS – How a Novice Sees the Information Delivery Standard

Lately, the newly developed tekom standard iiRDS has gained quite some attention. The next exciting step will be the release of version 1.0, which will be released soon. Requesting and delivering intelligent information as a standardized approach between individual enterprises is a pioneering step in the Internet of Things – but let’s rewind a little. more ...

Pets at the office. Part I: Molly

The atmosphere at our office is always good, but when Molly is there, it gets even better. Molly is good for us. more ...

Soft Skills of a Technical Writer

What soft skills should technical writers have when they start their career? Linguistic and technical understanding is important in our profession. So are the soft skills - just like in any other job. more ...

The parson mug prize draw #5. Congratulations to the winners

In which country was the parson mug photographed, we asked at the beginning of December. more ...

RDF is not XML – RDF serialization and iiRDS metadata

The world of technical writing loves XML. Its document type definitions are the foundation of structured authoring. XML and the underlying schemas structure the content of our information products. The benefits are twofold. Content is consistently structured and easy to read. Authors have an easier time writing the content. The structure provides guidelines for authoring. more ...

The Exclamation Mark Killer

I'll come right to the point. I dislike exclamation marks. I avoid them. One exclamation mark feels loud, two or more even threatening. If you use the right word, you won't need one. "You're an idiot." That will do. 

Terry Pratchet says: "Five exclamation marks, the sure sign of an insane mind." I cannot agree more.

Don't get me wrong. I do not want to abolish the exclamation mark. We need it. According to the Duden, the dictionary of the German language, we may use it with commandsrequests, or exclamations:

"Give it to me!"
"But I want ice cream!"
"Ouch!"

We also like to use the exclamation mark with allegations and insults. Latter are common in social networks and online newspaper comments. There, the commentators like to fill entire lines with exclamation marks. They are also a favorite of the tabloid press. Just look at those headlines.

For those who love series of exclamation marks, I recommend the Ausrufezeichen-Vernichter. It's in German and translates into something like "exclamation mark killer": http://www.buchstabendose.de/dosen/ausrufezeichen.php. Try it anyway, it's multilingual.

In technical documentation, the exclamation mark makes sense. For example, we use it to indicate potential hazard:

"WARNING! Risk of burns! Do not touch the screen."

I suppose I could write a lot about warnings in technical documentation now. But I won't. I just wanted to say something about unnecessary exclamation marks!

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