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The most irritating Internet words


If you use common words Internet words in the course of carrying out your job, let it be known that you could be driving some people crazy. At least those who were polled in a recent survey by British pollsters YouGov. The group questioned 2,091 adults about what Internet words are most likely to make them "wince, shudder or want to bang your head on the keyboard."

Topping the list was "folksonomy." I thought I just hated most Internet words because they sounded like baby talk or Star Wars characters that didn't make the final script, (like "wiki," "cookie," or "blog.") but I have to agree with those polled about the particularly annoying quality of folksonomy. Why do we have to assign words that are so precious?

According to YouGov:

"'Blogosphere' . . . was second; ‘blog' itself was third; ‘netiquette', or Internet etiquette, came fourth and ‘blook', a book based on a blog, was fifth. ‘Cookie' . . . came in ninth, while ‘wiki' . . . was tenth."

We can't suddenly stop using these words since they're being added to dictionaries as we speak, but maybe we can stop being so darned proud of them. It's almost like people develop an unnatural attraction to the phonetic quality of the words and use them at every opportunity. They eventually become grating. But I guess that's the way with all buzzwords. Just look what happened to synergy. Once the darling of every business meeting this side of hell, if you utter it these days, you're liable to get a conference phone lobbed at your head. And rightly so.

About

Toni Bowers is Managing Editor of TechRepublic and is the award-winning blogger of the Career Management blog. She has edited newsletters, books, and web sites pertaining to software, IT career, and IT management issues.

168 comments
caseprof
caseprof

Good Jargon Yes, Bad Jargon No, never no jargon. Good Jargon (wiki) is the most efficient way to communicate a specific idea. Try to find an alternative 4-letter work (no, not that one) to tell someone that the content in a specific online object is collectively managed. And Bad Jargon (folksonomy would be on my list) has the opposite effect- not clear, pretentious, and therefore irritating.

FiOS-Dave
FiOS-Dave

EMAILS! Horrible English... When did we ever get mails in our mailsboxes??? E-Mail (or e-mail, or just email) is sufficient.

michael.adel
michael.adel

The audacity that some people call themselves 'webmasters'. I've seen many crappy websites where the designers call themselves 'masters'. What exactly have they mastered?

babs
babs

I Think my Portuguese friend described the problem perfectly when he said "They all need to PRACTISIZE speaking English!

AlphA303
AlphA303

haha all "invented" internet words are silly. people combine existing technology and give it a name so they can feel like they've created something. I don't want to bash people who are having fun on the net. even if having fun means making up annoying little nonsense words. but, really, when was the last time something worthwhile came from the net. I say we have too many people wasting too much time (and bandwidth). I assume most are dumb kids. but people keep breeding the little bastards, so they're not going away any time soon. okay, I'm going beyond the scope of the subject. so, I'll stop ranting now.

ghyslain.sabourin
ghyslain.sabourin

let's add to the list "Cybrarian". It's an abuse of an honorable profession ...

marbing
marbing

We can't stop using them because they are in the dictionary? Why? 'Hither', 'Whither' and 'Thither' (or 'Hence', 'Whence' and 'Thence') are in the dictionary and they are hardly a part of everyday speech. Irritating Internet words? We can drop using them whenever we want.

david
david

This thread is stashed full of irony. All these Americans complaining at the corruption of the language - the very language they have been mangling since we gave the colonies over to them back in seventeen hundred and something. Thru for through. Plow for plough. Flavor for flavour. Elevator for lift. Downtown for town centre. Need I go on? I can. Remember: Television? The word is half Greek, half Latin. No good can come of it. C. P. Scott Have a nice day, y'all. :)

Sallee-man
Sallee-man

Blook, folksonomy? I haven't heard these either, and YouGov even does all their sampling online - so these polled people are Internet-savvy. But somehow 2,091 people represent the entire adult population. I'll give them that many of these words are annoying, but I'm almost accustomed to hearing them, sad to say. I used to shudder at 'blog' and 'wiki' but they've worked their way into my head (maybe like a maggot) but I'm also surprised the word 'anywho' [shudder] hasn't been elected into the dictionary. Not to mention words you rarely hear that really are words but still sound silly, like - kibibyte, mebibyte or gibibyte.

Absolutely
Absolutely

"Multimedia" is redundant because "media" are already the plural of "medium"! Double-plus foolish.

maxwell edison
maxwell edison

Google is a noun (and the name of a business); it's not a verb. I don't use "Google" as my standard search engine; instead I use Yahoo. I don't use Yahoo's search capability to "google" anything, I use it to search for things. "Google" has become the term for performing an Internet search. If you don't believe me, just google [i]google definition[/i] (sarcasm intended) and you'll discover it's true. http://www.m-w.com/dictionary/google However, I fear it's here to stay. (But I still hate it.)

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

Cyber- The media is the worst offender. Apply ?cyber? to the front of anything to instantly make it sound cool. Bah.. ?cyber? taken from ?cybernetic? means ?mimics and enhances a function of the body?. Cybereye; yup, duplicate the visual sensory organ while enhancing it with optic technology. Cyberleg; yup, that works too. Cybermail; nothing remotely ?cyber? about it. Cybercriminal; nope, a criminal choosing a digital medium does not a ?cybercriminal? make. Why is a criminal suddenly special because they use a computer instead of a telephone or crowbar? Cybernetics, I love. The media?s buzzword ?cyber? makes my ears bleed. To a lesser extend "cyber" has been replaced by eSomethings and iSomethings but the buzzword stink is still there. Hacker Perhaps the single most misused term in IT. 90% of the time it?s used to mean a criminal. It?s like the freaking modern day boogieman. The news likes it because everyone get?s a cold shiver when you mention the big bad faceless Hacker menace; save yourselves. Bah! Any hat colour but red. Red Hat is a Linux distribution. What Hat, Black Hat, Grey Hat; crap, crap, crap. ?oh, I?m a whitehat.? ?sir, we got hit by a blackhat?.. BS. It?s really very simple, Hackers are not the criminal degenerates referred to as black hats, crackers or any other of the derogatory terms meant to distance there BS from the hacker community. This hat colour stuff is cute at best and I mean ?cute? in as condescending a tone as can be implied.

ghyslain.sabourin
ghyslain.sabourin

I don't know about this wiki business. It's actually Hawaiian for Hurry. What does that have to do with collective management?

Absolutely
Absolutely

That's a good point, but suppose the 'masters' of crappy websites were all required to call yourselves 'crapmasters'!

michael.adel
michael.adel

At least we can all agree on something. Or should I say (ouch) we are all on the same web page.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

I absolutely refuse to search for such an obvious bastardization. That way I can maintain the hope that it's a combination of cyber- and barbarian, and not what I fear are it's actual origins. We didn't need to make any changes to the title "librarian" when libraries began including film, microfiche, or other non-dead tree resources. We don't need to change the title now.

autocaddraftsman
autocaddraftsman

Now do not get me wrong I love what you Brits have given us...The Beatles, mini skirts, punk rock, Princess Diana, vinegar on our freedom fries, etc. Get this straight... The UK did not give us the colonies. We, through God's providence, kicked your butts and through you out!

longwayoff
longwayoff

Brits got no call to squawk about the purity of the English language.:) Fella named James Nicoll said: "The problem with defending the purity of the English language is that English is about as pure as a cribhouse whore. We don't just borrow words; on occasion, English has pursued other languages down alleyways to beat them unconscious and rifle their pockets for new vocabulary." It's not just the former colonies... Lynne

JamesRL
JamesRL

You can hardly find fault for elevator, the word hadn't been invented me thinks when the colonies revolted. Many of us older Canadians struggle to retain our "British" correct spellings, but it isn't easy. Of course our job is easy compared to the Quebecois who are trying to keep the franglais out. You can order a hot dog all over the province (une pogo is a corndog) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Franglais Lot of fun, eh? James

Locrian_Lyric
Locrian_Lyric

Without us, you'd be limited to denegrating the French. While it is a fine exercise, I imagine it would get old after a fashion.

dsimp
dsimp

"Need I go on? I can." I too speak English :) Well said. (less 'Z's & more 'OU's)

Absolutely
Absolutely

[i]But somehow 2,091 people represent the entire adult population.[/i] Whatever.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

It's only two forms of sensory input, visual and audio. Touch is rarely involved, and smell and taste never are.

TonytheTiger
TonytheTiger

Many fish (if the same species) or many fishes (if different species). But then it would be 'medias' :)

goldisan
goldisan

I'm happy to say that in our country with my native language you can not change noun into a verb so easily or just mix couple of words together to produce a new one. So we are quite safe from such language pollution. :)

Level
Level

The meaningless Marketing term of the decade is "seamless." Every application with seams is called "seamless". The worse the seams, the more "seamless" it is. What a joke.

william.hacker
william.hacker

Let me tell you about the mis-use of the word "Hacker" -- particularly with a captial H. My wife refused to take my last name when we got married because if its negative connotations. My last name? Yup -- you guessed it! Hacker. And, yes, I am an IT Manager. There were very few computers in the world when I was born (1952), so I guess that makes me one of the original Hackers. Hmmph! Bill

hercules.gunter
hercules.gunter

The term "hacker" has negative associations (in its origins, it meant someone who reverse-engineered code and/or worked around copy-protections schemes, and these are not ethical activities). No amount of argument about ethical hacking is going to change that. I'd suggest that the hacker community should come up with a neutral word, because in the public mind, to say that one is a hacker is to put a metaphorical black hat on one's head (and that colour of hat goes back a long way, probably to the days of belief in witchcraft, so that's a valid term!).

Big Ole Jack
Big Ole Jack

Even some 12 year old punk who uses script kiddies and knows nothing about true "hacking" or "cracking" is labeled a "hacker" by the ignorant numbnuts in the media. I know how to reset a BIOS password on a motherboard by pulling out the CMOS battery...so does that make me a hacker too? Jeeez!

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

In the U.S., any political scandal gets the "-gate" suffix attached to it. Thank Richard Nixon's Committe to Re-Elect the President (C.R.E.P, pronounced "creep", seriously) for breaking into opposition's HQ in the WaterGATE hotel.

marques.coburn
marques.coburn

Wiki is an anagram for "What I Know Is...". There may be a Hawaiian "Hurry" connotation as most people want their info fast due to attention deficit...Let's all go ride bikes!

ghyslain.sabourin
ghyslain.sabourin

note that the ***** in the url is actually bull manure in the vernacular. seems like the automated censor on this forum didn't like the URL.

ghyslain.sabourin
ghyslain.sabourin

Why, my dear Palmetto, have you not heard of "Conan The Librarian"? Or better yet, a Ficheian [sounds like an obscure philosophy to me]? Close on the heels of these esoteric mis-nomers, how about knowledge manager or Chief Knowledge Officer? What's next? Wisdom Management? No, don't tell me. We don't need that last one. That's why we hire senior management ... .

Locrian_Lyric
Locrian_Lyric

They showed the same magnanimous charity to India, Canada, Australia, Hong Kong, etc. We'll ignore the fact that they were kicked out of the first three and intimidated into releasing the fourth.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

Making fun of the French will NEVER go out of style. Seen "Ratatouille" yet?

Absolutely
Absolutely

I'd apologize, but I know 'medias' were just in your post to annoy me. And, I think you just made up that part about 'fish' (if the same species) or 'fishes' (if different species). No, I can't prove it scientifically, but I have a strong intuition about it!

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

But then, the rest of us technophiles can recognize the title when used towards us by other geeks (if you have to claim the title, you ain't one). In your case, explaining it is your real name not some cheese children's grab at recognition must have grown tiresome long ago. A great name among the geeks but I can see how it's taken some tarnish from media BS publicity and such.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

I question your source of history on Hacking being that its origins are not at all in reference to unethical activities. I?d also be very interested to read more hacking history though if you have a source I?ve not read previously. The community traces itself back to the MIT model train club which spent most of it's time under the model table mucking with wires to see what they could make it do. a "Hack" was a project with no clear outcome, maybe it'll do something cool, maybe it won't but it'll be fun trying. To Hack meant "to understand" (ie. I hack computers; I understand computers at a very intimate level). Or (I get what your saying, I smell what your stepping in, I see what yoru getting at, I can hack that) If you take the old English "Hack" meant taking a horse ride with no clear destination or reason; ie. Just for a hack about in the fields. This is considered one of the sources of the term "hacker". It's purely the news media, Hollywood and the Cracker scum who give the term "hacker" negative associations. Who outside of computer and equestrian communities would even know the word "hacker" without them being labeled the big bad evil terrorist nemesis of movies such as Hackers (which should have been called Crackers being that it had nothing to do with hacking). Nope, the negative association is purely from outside the community. The true hackers are those who look down on Crackers, make it a personal joy to understand how each 1 and 0 moves through the computer. Ironically, the media uses the Internet to denounce the subculture that created the Internet. I say I agree in part with the second paragraph because the Hacker community has repeatedly come up with terms for the general public to use. Cracker is the oldest of the derogatory terms offered for unethical computer use. "Cracker" from Shakespeare "what cracker danes to.." though later drawing similar negative connotations from the American derogatory term being that Crackers are the white-trash of Hacker culture. So far, the media is more interested in buzzwords and readers so "Hacker" continues to be misused to mean criminal. But yes, in the public mind "Hacker" currently means something negative. Thanks to the media, computer uneducated have been trained to fear the big bad faceless "hacker" inevitably coming for them and there incredibly valuable letters to Aunt Edna. As for hat colour, I think it was taken from the western movies; the sheriff in white, the evil land owner in black and the poor victim Emma tied to the railroad tracks. The colours are based on very old stigmas that white is good and black is bad (in our culture anyhow). Suddenly every keyboard cowboy had to be a blackhat or whitehat; again, terms the media latched on too and efficiently continue to devalue as buzzwords. I stick by my initial post; ?Hacker? does not and has never meant criminal regardless of the rampant misuse by people looking for a good computer related buzzword to mean boogieman. ?Blackhat? or hat colour outside of Redhat is a cheesy way for script kiddies to feel important or real hackers to try and differentiate ?hacker? versus ?cracker? in the uneducated public mind. I would be interested to read your sources though. What?s not Bishido related on my bookshelf is computer related and I?m always interested in reading more of either history.

Tig2
Tig2

Is one who takes inelegant code and makes it elegant. A hacker thinks in terms of the smallest and most graceful way to code, leaving the smallest possible footprint. A hacker sought brevity in the code, verbosity in the comment. Most importantly, a "hacker's" code was maintainable. A hacker knows that technology will grow and change and seeks to keep his code as flexible as the medium. In these days where bloat doesn't seem to make a difference, a hacker codes to his principles. God, I feel old...

JamesRL
JamesRL

...year 2000 in fact, when I gave a speech on computer security and someone interrupted to register their offense at my use of the term "hacker". Many old timers (and I am no spring chicken) consider themselves hackers and have never done anything illegal or broke into any systems in their lives. Of course most sane people understand that English is a living language which changes. Word meanings change and expand over time. My terminology was correct for 2000 but wouldn't have been for 1980. James

Locrian_Lyric
Locrian_Lyric

Once again we have Ken and Barbie in the newsrooms defining terms they have no comprehension of....

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

Conan the Librarian? Boy, his overdue book fines are b!tch, especially if you're late with a Robert E. Howard book.

david
david

If your only source of your history is from the Mel Gibson authorised version then you're bound to be befuddled. As many colonists fought on the Brit side as fought on the revolutionaries' side. And, as rightly said, it was the French with their ships, men and economic support which swung the balance against the troops committed by Britain. A small point about 1918: the Germans' Spring offensives were generated as much due to the economic blockade enforced by the British navy as the other reasons put forward. Revolution was in the air in Germany as the populace was, literally, starving. It was the last throw of the dice, and the German High Command realised this. Several sources cite the fact that the storm troopers ground to a halt when they came across the food dumps behind the captured Allies' front lines. Starved for many months, the soldiers boozed and stuffed themselves on rich food, and could advance no further. This is not to belittle the stern defence by French and British troops exhausted but hardened by almost four years of war. The shock troops of the Allied side for the Battle of Amiens were Australians and Canadians, as they had been throughout the conflict; they were augmented by New Zealanders, South Africans, Indians and the many other resentful subjects of the oppressive British Empire who gave their lives and blood.

neilb
neilb

were bled during WWI probably even more than the Germans and their response to that bleeding of an entire generation are what contributed to their defeat in 1940. That and the fact that the Germans went around their defences and attacked from the rear! I don't really profess to understand the lack of understanding of any history outside of their own very iconic version exhibited by some members of this forum - no names, but there have been a few - but I'm getting quite used to it now. Maybe I'll even start to feel grateful that I don't speak Russian or German. That might just be due to the fact that I took French, Spanish and Latin at school. :D

JamesRL
JamesRL

Watched an interesting documentary on Amiens, the Battle in 1918 that kicked off the campaign that ultimately lead to the surrender of Germany. Now give the US some credit, it was the entry into the war of the US and the expectation that they would turn the tide that provoked Germany into launching a huge spring offensive before the Americans were fully trained and ready to fight. Germany also had a large number of additional troops from the eastern front (Russia had gone communist and made peace). But in terms of the actual battle itself, the battle that broke the trench fighting stalemate and turned the war into more of what we saw in WWII (combined arms, co-ordinated use of artillery, air power tanks and infantry), the US contributed one division. Versus Britain's 8 divisions, Australia's 5, Canada's 4, France's 12. How many aircraft did the US contribute=zero - the US didn't build combat aircraft at that point. Ditto for tanks. Between Britain and France, they had 1900 aircraft and 532 tanks for the battle. Those tanks and aircraft were vital, because the attack soon outpaced the rate at which the artillery could be moved. If you want to measure the cost in blood, France lost 1.4 million soliders to your 118,000. Yes America contributed and in other ways too - economically and industrially, and the world should be thankful. But this we saved your asses crap..... James

neilb
neilb

but usually bears some relationship with the truth but it would seem that history is completely invented by the US of A. I bet you think that you "saved our asses" in WWI and WWII, "won" in Vietnam and Korea and are "winning" in Iraq... I was just about to post when JameRL beat me to it almost word for word! In no particular order... We released Hong Kong because the original treaty obligated us to do just that and there was no legal justification for staying. GET OUT OF CUBA! Oops! just slipped out. We got out of India because it was well past time that we did. I don't know if any of the many Indian peers read these threads but I'd really appreciate a comment from an authoritative source as to how THEY see it. Like James, I'd like an Australian peer to explain their side of the history between our nations but I'm confident that it was all pretty amicable. I don't think anybody kicked anybody out. All three of the countries that you mentioned are democracies so I don't think we did too bad. The only reasons that YOUR illegal revolution against us succeeded was because the French helped you out big-time and look how you repay them - with contempt! Without the French to back you up, you'd have been creamed! Good riddance, says I. :) C'est la vie...

JamesRL
JamesRL

First of all if you value your independance, you should thank France. Often. You should also thank most of the Caribean since Britain more valued those colonies for the sugar trade and made concessions with France to protect them. As for India, Great Britain had been planning to let India go sooner, but WWII got in the way, and given that Japanese armies made it to the India border, it was probably a good thing all around. After the war, the new GG had the madate to bring them to independance, but rushing things did much damage (riots over partition etc). Canada was released from colony status over time. After a small rebellion in 1837, Canadian parliaments were made more responsible. In 1867 we were made a Dominion - a country within the British commonwealth. We didn't kick the British out - we co-operated with them. We gave them soliders for the Boer war, and their navy protected us until we had our own. I will let the aussies here give you an Australian history. Hong Kong was a lease. Lease was up. What do you think they should have done? They tried their best to get special status for HK, and today the citizens of HK have much more freedom and democracy than the rest of China. James

Locrian_Lyric
Locrian_Lyric

But the Brits DO need a break every now and again.

Absolutely
Absolutely

No, Mae has not granted me shovel privileges, but I haven't asked yet. Even so, it's a good thing you did exit quickly & gracefully; the projectile vomit provoked by your use of a noun as if it's a verb missed you by nary a hair!

Tig2
Tig2

Tony is just trying to help you solution! Running shoes, check! Exiting quickly but ever so gracefully. Absolutely may just have a shovel handy! :D

Absolutely
Absolutely

Bloat doesn't seem to make a difference, because of the extraordinary hardware advances made possible by the same style of thought you described.

Locrian_Lyric
Locrian_Lyric

They not only missed the boat on this one, they're nowhere near water.

Tig2
Tig2

A co-worker and I are of the same era and got on to the subject of coding on a legal tablet and then punching code to card. Our SME on a current initiative- very bright young man- just looked at us like we had just dropped in from a different planet. *sigh*

Tig2
Tig2

And I agree- he IS the very definition of an uberhacker. And brilliant to boot. Richard Stallman is an uberhacker. Unfortunately, Richard has gotten a tad "over the top". But his legacy will live on. There are certainly others. We should remember and respect them all.

JonathanPDX
JonathanPDX

He's got one application that is about 50k - PLUS it has a 60k help file compressed into it! Talk about awesome coding. Just think if Windows were written using intelligent, efficient code (instead of the bloated monkeys-on-typewriters-generated code they now use)...it might be less than 1MB! ;-) Plus, it would WORK!

Eternal
Eternal

[quote] Main Entry: hack?er Pronunciation: 'ha-k&r Function: noun 1 : one that hacks 2 : a person who is inexperienced or unskilled at a particular activity 3 : an expert at programming and solving problems with a computer 4 : a person who illegally gains access to and sometimes tampers with information in a computer system [/quote] Unskilled and skilled, all in the same definition

Raymond Danner
Raymond Danner

Steve Gibson of Gibson Research Corp. would then be the ultimate example of a hacker. Spinrite 6 can /still/ fit on a 360k floppy (who uses 'em? I don't know either) with enough space to put FreeDOS bootcode, but the program can do so much more than any other HDD maintenance program that's ever existed. So, by your definition, he's an ?berhacker. ;)

Big Ole Jack
Big Ole Jack

Very interesting. We have similar words in my native language that have a different meaning than what one would think.

Locrian_Lyric
Locrian_Lyric

many of them don't translate. "Windhund" means a dog that sniffs other dog's backsides. For a person, it roughly traslates as "a$$-kisser", only worse...

Big Ole Jack
Big Ole Jack

A Wind Hound is what Windhund translated to. Any breed of dog that has "wind" in it is definitely spending most of its time outside. No dog of mine is going to get away with passing wind inside the house because that's my job...LOL

Locrian_Lyric
Locrian_Lyric

LOL, I've got a few prime ones for them too. look up "windhund"

Big Ole Jack
Big Ole Jack

and Uberscheisen (German for supercrap) to describe the junk being produced by the media today.