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Thoughts on "reversion"

Not Actually Jenny


Thoughts on "reversion"

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Have been reading Steven Pinker's The Stuff of Thought recently - pleased to discover that the linguistics part of my brain hasn't gone entirely rusty - and for some reason this had me thinking about the use of the term "revert", in the sense that people's annoying bosses* use it.

The email:
Please read the following list and revert back to me with any comments or edits.

What your boss means:
Please read the following list and email a response to me, with any comments or edits.

What you** interpret from this:
Please read the following list and then return to your previous state, in which you were, in fact, me.

So the recipient is a figment of the boss's imagination, or some sort of employee-construct homunculus whose sole purpose is to do the bosses's bidding before being reabsorbed back into The Boss, like some kind of primordial extra limb. (This is a pretty reasonable assessment of Anet's employee relations, actually.)

Or... this is a perfectly reasonable new/emerging use of the term "revert", and I should get the hell over it. (But did I ever tell you about the time these employers made me spend a whole afternoon chasing a pigeon?)

[Edit: Wow, "bosses's" is totally not a word.]

*Specifically, my annoying boss from three years ago.
** By "you", I mean "I", which sort of invalidates my entire argument here.
  • I see it all the time in emails, nearly always from lawyers.

    I like the notion of a boss dispatching one on a mission and demanding one re-dock with him upon completion...
  • Oh, pleeeease tell the pigeon story!! I just burst out laughing on the bus!!
  • Nah, I'm with you, and I always eyeroll when I see someone use it that way.

    Also, I laughed a lot at your homunculus theory.
  • My cousin does it! It absolutely wrecks my head because it's so clear he's going "look at me with my Jargon and business words!" And I'm sitting in the corner thinking "if only IF ONLY you were using the word in the correct context."
    *le sigh*
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