Josh (the blog)

Hey there. I’m Josh, a SydneyCanberra-based maker of Internets. I don’t update this very often.


Words not to use in a product announcement

I was on a blog I (used to) run that uses WordPress 2.x today, and noticed the 2.0.5 release announcement.

Opening copy runs like this:

It’s new release time. The latest in our venerable 2.0 series, which now counts over 1.2 million downloads, is available for download immediately, and we suggest everyone upgrade as this includes security fixes.

I skim read it, as I tend to skim-read things on the Internet or when sitting reading with someone (do you do that? reading as a competitive sport? When I’m in those scenarios I read things by making multiple passes over the content and developing what I actually comprehend each time, just so I’ve read it all if they have… stupid, yeah), and on second pass saw “vulnerable” in the first line.

It might have been the “upgrade or get haxx0red” warning at the end of the second sentence (which, incidentally, has an absurd number of clauses in it for product release text) that made my glance at the word “venerable” distort somewhat, or maybe not. Maybe some signs are just a little to close to other signs to be safely used as signifiers in certain contexts. This, I would suggest, is one such context.

(There we go, a little bit of Saussure to brighten up your evenings, if not my day. Death to functional grammar and pseudo-linguistics courses engaged in guerrilla warfare within English departments. We need a Third Force.)