RE: Does a rhetorical question need a '?'

Subject: RE: Does a rhetorical question need a '?'
From: "Johan Hiemstra" <webmaster -at- techexams -dot- net>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 16 Jun 2005 01:34:52 +0200

>Is that necessarily a distraction, though? A question is intended to get
>a person to think about what was just stated. By phrasing your idea as a
>rhetorical question, you are inviting the reader to consider other
>security risks. Giving the reader a moment to pause and think will bring
>them further into your subject and make them active, rather than passive,
>readers. Is that a bad thing? ;)

Interesting feedback, in your second reply too. Thanks for that. There are
several, yes several, reasons why I found it distracting and thought it mind
be to others. As I mentioned in my initial post, I started thinking about
it. Something I probably shouldn't have done, and just put that ? behind it
like Word suggested and Bill pointed out so clearly. The discussion about
the impact was worth the question though. I tried rewording it, but indeed
found it lost impact. I like Chris' suggestion, but I like exclamation marks
even less than question mark. I never use those in educational material
unless it has the word "Thanks" in front of it and is part of the
Acknowledgements or Credits section. ;)

I'm not, as Bill suggested in one of his replies, underestimating my users.
I'm sure, especially considering it is a paragraph from one of the last
chapters in a book about InfoSec (for the Security+ certification), readers
will understand it is a rhetorical question. The opposite might be true.
I.e. smartass would answer:"Because he's on a different continent?". A
comedian could answer:"Because he's in a wheel chair." Just examples, I get
easily distracted. :) The questions ask for reasons, instead of a simple
yes/no rhetorical question. Then I realized I have that more often, and
that I don't like questions in text that explains something (unless it's a
practice exam question). As I mentioned earlier, I think it is lazy writing,
'if' it is done for the sole purpose of answering the question. I think it
looks cheap. Maybe a bit FAQ-ish. Like I said earlier, it's just a
feeling/personal preference. In this particular case, even considering it is
rhetorical, I felt it took the pace out of it, and it 'must' be a relatively
fast read. That's why I find your feedback very interesting. That pause
isn't necessarily distracting but more importantly adds to the impact. This
is important as I'm not just explaining concepts but also like to create
some awareness. Malicious individuals walking into offices and stealing
laptops or entire servers actually happens. And very often those companies
have full-blown network security systems with firewalls, intrusion detection
systems, and strong authentication systems. I've seen it happen at one of
the world's largest international publishers actually...



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RE: Does a rhetorical question need a '?': From: Lori Olcott

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