Voice and Tone

One way we write empowering content is by being aware of our voice and our tone. This section explains the difference between voice and tone, and lays out the elements of each as they apply to ReactiveUI.

What’s the difference between voice and tone? Think of it this way: You have the same voice all the time, but your tone changes. You might use one tone when you're out to dinner with your closest friends, and a different tone when you're in a meeting with your boss.

Your tone also changes depending on the emotional state of the person you’re addressing. You wouldn’t want to use the same tone of voice with someone who’s scared or upset as you would with someone who’s laughing.

The same is true for ReactiveUI. Our voice doesn’t change much from day to day, but our tone changes all the time.

Voice

ReactiveUI’s voice is human. It’s familiar, friendly, and straightforward. Our priority is explaining our products and helping our users get their work done so they can get on with their lives. We want to educate people without patronizing or confusing them.

One way to think of our voice is to compare what it is to what it isn’t. ReactiveUI’s voice is:

  • Fun but not silly
  • Confident but not cocky
  • Smart but not stodgy
  • Informal but not sloppy
  • Helpful but not overbearing
  • Expert but not bossy
  • Weird but not inappropriate

Tone

ReactiveUI’s tone is usually informal, but it’s always more important to be clear than entertaining. When you’re writing, consider the reader’s state of mind. Are they frustrated and searching for a better way? Are they confused and seeking our help on Twitter or StackOverflow? Are they curious about a post on our blog? Once you have an idea of their emotional state, you can adjust your tone accordingly.

ReactiveUI has a sense of humor, so feel free to be funny when it’s appropriate and when it comes naturally to you. But don’t go out of your way to make a joke—forced humor can be worse than none at all. If you’re unsure, keep a straight face.

Style tips

Here are a few key elements of writing ReactiveUI’s voice. For more, see the Grammar and mechanics section.

  • Active voice Use active voice. Avoid passive voice.
  • Avoid slang and jargon Write in plain English.
  • Write positively Use positive language rather than negative language.