The other day I received an email along the lines of:
On the first of the month after next we will be sunsetting the whatamI4 system.
I knew what it meant, but it struck me as a strange phrase to use.
I suppose I ought to explain what it meant for those of you who don’t understand the meaning. I’ll replace the word sunsetting with something else to see if that helps:
On the first of the month after next we will be turning off the whatamI4 system
That’s right sunsetting = turning off.
Sunsetting with 10 characters = turning off with 10 characters.
Sunsetting with 3 syllables = turning off with 3 syllables.
I suppose that’s my question, why not just say that it’s being turned off.
Returning to the original sentence, why not say:
On the first of the month after next whatamI4 will be turned off.
There you go, that’s shorter and simpler than either of the previous ones.
whatamI4 will be turned off on the first of the month after next
I prefer this because it gives a much better call to action.
I’m not objecting to sunsetting it just feels like redundant complexity.
Perhaps I’m not being entirely fair though. There is a picture being drawn here and there is a difference between turning off and sunsetting. The term sunsetting is trying to communicate that the light is drawing in on a the application and that it’s time to move over to something else. Turning something off happens quite quickly, even instantaneously; sunsetting may happen over an extended period.
It’s not a word I hear people use in normal life though – it’s office speak.