Don't say "don't"

This is something I try to remember when reporting problems and asking for change. As it happens, it is a story of two people named John with a decade in between - thanks John!

Don’t do that

Many years ago, someone told me “don’t do that”, whatever that was. I was left wondering what I should be doing instead, and also somewhat miffed that he had made no effort to help.

Do this instead

At this point I concluded that “please do this instead” is far more helpful. It can come in various flavours.

How it can help generate new ideas

After saying “don’t”, I remember I want to say “but do”. I find I can’t, so I say sorry.

Now I’m thinking about solutions, and an idea pops into my head from nowhere! Here’s a bit out of the bottom of the email where it happened

…but I don’t have a better suggestions (sorry), so it looks like […]

Is there any scope for [… new thing which wasn’t there …] ?

This is such a stunningly obviously good idea that I was surprised it doesn’t exist, and have so raised an issue to request it […]

See also