Messages#

If you help write the message text for a product or you suggest edits to message text, use the guidelines in this topic.

Note

Change message text only at the request of (or as a suggestion to) the developer. When citing message text in a document, cite the text that the user sees in the product.

Guideline

Example

Comments

Use complete sentences, when possible.

Use:

The authentication token isn’t valid.

Avoid:

Invalid authentication token

Include articles (a, an, the) to make the sentence complete. If possible, use active voice.

Note: Message text that serves as a heading or label (such as Elapsed:hh:mm:ss, which indicates elapsed time) is acceptable as a fragment.

Use more than one sentence if required for clarity.

You must provide a name for each domain. null isn’t a valid domain name.

Write brief and simple sentences that clearly state the problem. Separate the sentences with a period (or question mark, if applicable), not with a semicolon.

Avoid using only uppercase letters.

Use:

The requested image $UUID has automatic disk resizing disabled.

Avoid:

THE REQUESTED IMAGE $UUID HAS AUTOMATIC DISK RESIZING DISABLED.

Lines with excessive capitalization are hard to read. Use all uppercase letters only for words that require it, such as a keyword, a data type, or a specific table name that’s displayed in all uppercase letters to a database user.

When possible, include a recommendation, either a potential fix or a reference to a document for more information.

The system is out of virtual IP addresses. Contact Support so they can allocate more virtual IP addresses.

The value -1.0 can’t be accepted. Specify a positive integer value for the volume size.

Messages should provide specific information about how the user should continue.

Be specific.

Use:

The live migration of instance 89a5e582-d3f3-4665-ate2-03c2114f0bib to host compute2 failed.

Avoid:

Live migration failed.

Messages should provide as much detailed information as possible.

Use n to represent an unspecified or generic number. Use x to represent an unknown version number.

The rate limit has been reached (n requests in 24 hours). Please try again later.

This option is available only for Ubuntu 12.x.

None

Avoid blaming the user.

Use:

The request couldn’t be understood by the server because of malformed syntax.

Avoid:

You entered bad request syntax.

Rewrite messages that imply fault on the part of the user. Use passive voice when necessary.

When possible, use positive statements.

Use:

The given limit must be positive and must be less than 50.

Avoid:

The given limit can’t be negative and can’t be greater than 50.

Positive statements are easier to understand than negative statements.