"There are only two industries that call their customers ‘users’: illegal drugs and software.” Edward Tufte
“There are only two industries that refer to their customers as ‘users’, one is of course IT, the other is the illegal drugs trade…” — Edward Tufte
Full disclosure, I did not fact check the accuracy of illegal drugs and software (IT) as the only two industries who call their staff \ customers 'Users'.
I am, however, trying to get rid of 'User' from our policies and standards documents. So far using staff or employees has worked out well. Then I came across the phrase 'user level passwords' in our AUP and thought staff level passwords didn't sound right.
While, I do welcome suggestions for this fix, the main point of the post is to get the Community's thoughts on improving the language used in IT/Security that may not age well as time goes on. I had heard of this quote before and didn't think much about it until one of our Counselors, who specializes in addiction, mentioned this as well. They weren't offended necessarily but it did spark up a good conversation on the matter.
Perhaps "account holders" would work in policies.
The problem with trying to come up with a more precise term is that that it tends to result in exclusions for populations you did not consider, such as "contractors", "interns", "volunteers", etc. And, the more you enumerate, omissions seem increasingly intentional.
How about "workers"? Define it to include managers/executives, but not administrators. Then you have worker-level passwords and administrator-level passwords.
Or, you could have regular workers, privileged workers, and management workers or executive workers.
Microsoft's Synonyms for Users: Operators, Workers, Employers, Manipulators, Handlers
Any votes for 'Manipulators'? LOL
@jmikesmith Yeah, I think whatever we decide to standardize on we'll need to first define what we mean. It's hard to find a word with the same strength and as well known as 'User'. I like 'Operator' as well. We used that in the Military when referencing anything that could be completed or conducted at the owner / user level.
Someone else said "account holder", and I concur that's a good choice. I would modify that and create a compound word: accountholder
Why the compound word? Indexing. Depending on how indexes are created and searches are parsed, when you need a granular, or pinpoint-specific result, doing searches for accountholder will yield better results than either account or holder.
Census as in company census or members comes to mind. I also say end users not the derogatory "users" as in the drug connotation. Sounds overly sensitive but that would be true of most things today.
whatever we decide to standardize on we'll need to first define what we mean.
I once asked this forum about a word. The definition is "a device in current use, which may be subject to near-term or EOL replacement", and the best term I could find is extant. The word itself is used by zoologists, typically to describe the status of a threatened species. There are other uses, but it seems an appropriate term for a specific stage in a device's lifecycle.