Thursday, July 26, 2012


I'm so sick of 'issues'. What happened to talking about errors, problems, faults and mistakes?

Today, Twitter is down and on their official status page it says:

Look at the weasel words in that statement: "Users may be experiencing issues accessing Twitter. Our engineers are currently working to resolve the issue." Three uses of the word 'issue' and the silly 'may be'.

Visit Twitter you are faced with the following:

How about saying the following?

Is it so hard to admit that (a) there's a problem and (b) that people are experiencing it? Let's stop the weasel words and talk in clear unambiguous language.

It's better to speak truthfully than in a mealy-mouthed manner. For once you start down the path of the mealy-mouthed forever will it dominate your vocabulary. You'll have a hard to telling the plain truth if you don't do it all the time.


Ivo Nascimento said...

Agree, but I have sure about the fact this language isn't to people who can understand what a problem really means.
This way to communicate such thing is, in fact, to people normally use the word 'error' to issue,improvement missing and confuses be without internet connection with a bug in applications.
Of course a message communicate different things to different people, so, need analyse their focus.
and Yes, they are vague in message, but I trying to understand it motivation.

Anonymous said...

Hear, hear!

At a previous job, I was told never ever to call anything a 'fault', a 'bug', or a 'problem' because our software never had problems and admitting otherwise might put us in legal trouble (since everyone knows that software is problem-free and always works first time).

That our customers were not idiots, called the things 'bugs' themselves, and often got unhappy when they were corrected to 'issue', did not apparently matter. That our own suppliers all called a bug a bug in their online bug databases apparently did not matter either.

Charles Hill said...

Love this part: "For once you start down the path of the mealy-mouthed forever will it dominate your vocabulary."

Great reference to star wars, thank you for the laugh! #Nerdgasm

Charles Hill said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Aaron Davies said...

@nix: don't forget to say you're "facing a challenge"

Matt Doar (CustomWare) said...

I once wrote the following in "Practical Development Environments" )O'Reilly 2005)

"It's hard work to sell products that have known bugs, faults, or failures, but products with unresolved issues, anomalies, artifacts, or even potential defects somehow sound better to prospective customers. You may even come across some products with design side effects."

The variety of words still makes me smile.

Dogsbody said...

We weren't allowed to say that our customers server caught fire... officially it suffered a "thermal event"!

Ralph Corderoy said...

This is similar to politicians being unable to utter the word problem any more, it has been pronounced challenge since at least the mid-90s.

After a time, politicians, and corporate-speak status-update writers, don't even know they're doing it.