Word to describe an empty check box

Subject: Word to describe an empty check box
From: Helen OBoyle <hoboyle -at- gmail -dot- com>
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Date: Tue, 14 Jan 2014 12:34:18 +1100

Hi all,

Our internal standard is to format our description of UI check boxes as:

"If selected, blah. If cleared, blah."

CLEARED? My mind silently screams in pain whenever I have to read this, to
say nothing of when I have to write it. It's probably not a grammatical
error, but to my ears it is such an unconventional usage (at best) that I

First of all, the state of being clear is "clear". The sky is clear. The
glass is clear. The action of clearing, past tense, is "cleared". They
cleared the area. He cleared them of charges. Unfortunately, our manuals
are not describing what happens when the admin selected or cleared the
check box, which probably happened 3 years ago during installation.
They're describing how the state of the check box affects operations TODAY.

Somehow someone on the relatively new team decided before I arrived that
since the MSTP recommends the verbs "select" and "clear" for actions
related to check boxes, that the appropriate terms to describe the status
of a check box are "selected" and "cleared" rather than (for example)
"selected" and "not selected", or even "selected" and "clear".

Does anyone out there use "cleared" to describe the state of a check box?
If not, what terminology do you use instead?

Kind regards,
* Helen *

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