I have read "What is the recommended wording for a generic error message" and it's helpful, but doesn't address my main question:

What should I prefer in any written programm: The polite or the straight forward way if my program is interacting with the user (e.g. giving feedback to an action or pointing out that something does not work).

I wonder if it's better if the program responds straight to the point or politely.

Consider the following example: The user clicks a button to print something based on a template. However, the template does not exist.

Which feedback would you prefer:

  1. The template is not defined yet. Please make sure to set the template before you print it out.
  2. Make sure to configure the template before printing.

What is generally better?

  • 1
    Unless someone has someone has some real user studies to quantify this, this is an invitation to give subjective answers. Please resist ... – Stephen C Jun 5 '14 at 10:44
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    You give more information in the first example, although it's still lacking (does "it" refer to the template or something else? if something else, what else?). – kdgregory Jun 5 '14 at 12:28
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    Most ideally, the user never gets the opportunity to select an option that doesn't exist yet. But if it's just about the message: "That template hasn't been set. Would you like to configure it now? (Y/N)" – Erik Reppen Jun 5 '14 at 12:31
  • @FabianBigler meta.stackexchange.com/questions/194476/… – gnat Jun 5 '14 at 15:12
  • @gnat thank you. I hope I made my point somehow clearer – fabigler Jun 5 '14 at 15:49

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