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Acronyms, acronyms, acronyms (part I)

By goldjag ·
Why have we developed a system of acronyms (SOA) such as we have? I call them three letter acronyms (TLA). We have created so many that many conversations just don?t make sense anymore. I wonder, what is the NEED for all of these acronyms? Is it so we can communicate better? I don?t think so. I have had conversations with techs that speak in nothing but TLA?s. It drives me nuts. Sometimes I think they start conversations JUST so they can demonstrate how many TLA?s they know. I always have to stop listening for a brief moment while they are talking so that I can translate the TLA to it?s Full English Equivalent (FEE). It causes me to briefly lose the Topic Of Conversation (TOC). Is this helping us to communicate? I don?t think so. These arethe same people that think they sound more experienced when they use TLA?s. One tech told me ?TLA?s make you sound cool?. I know it is cool to be a geek nowadays but come on?TLA?s just for the sake of TLA?s? It is a bit silly (ABS)isn?t it?

When I worked (WIW) with the US Navy (USN) a few years ago, I came across a book called ?DicNavAb? (Dictionary of Naval Abbreviations). I kid you not, it was a BOOK, not a pamphlet or a booklet, of abbreviations. They had so many that they needed to compile them into a book to make referencing them easier. Are we getting that way too? I think we are fairly close.

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Acronyms, acronyms, acronyms (Part II)

by goldjag In reply to Acronyms, acronyms, acron ...

Another thing to consider (ATC) is that when you write on a technical subject and you use TLA?s, it is correct form to fully spell out the TLA the first time it is used in the document. Don?t assume that your readers know all of the TLA?s. Most people don?t. If it is spelled out the first time it is used, the reader will either remember the TLA or be able to go back and reference it again. NEVER start writing on a subject by using TLA?s only in the body. Have you any idea how long it took me tofind the meaning of SAP, CRM and ERP? I had to do a search online for those TLA?s. Of course, I found thousands of hits (TOH) that had the TLA included in the body of the text (BOT) but NO DEFINITION OF THE TLA! Try it, you will find the same thing.Bad technical writers (BTW)?tsk?tsk?tsk.

I guess what I am trying to say here is this (IMHO):
1. Too many TLA?s
2. They are not used properly in technical documents
3. They are (in many instances) NOT helping us communicate better

I know there will be many of you out there that support the use of TLA?s. Many of you probably think you sound more experienced or technically savvy when you employ TLA?s. Some of you (probably very few) do understand the majority of TLA?s and use them effectively. Whichever group you belong to, I am sure that you will reply with your comments. Please do. I am keen to hear (KTH) your opinions on the subject (OOS).

Until next time (UNT)...

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Ping Pong Balls

by admin In reply to Acronyms, acronyms, acron ...

I get asked to do presentations a fair amount, and one of the tools I sometimes use with appropriate audiences is to throw some ping pong balls out to them and then invite them to throw them at me everytime I use an unexplained acronym! :)

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Excellent!!!

by goldjag In reply to Ping Pong Balls

I hope you don't mind but I am going to do the same thing. What a great non-confrontational (sort-of) way for your audience to help you do a better job. I love it!

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Sharing makes everything better!

by admin In reply to Excellent!!!

Of course I don't mind! I actually asked permission to do it from another presenter, who told me the same thing :)

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And afterwards??

by GuruOfDos In reply to Sharing makes everything ...

Off to the bar for a POG (Pint Of Guinness). I assume if you're doing a presentation that you get LTI (lunch thrown in)??

Of course, being a Busy Old Admin (BOA) you have to eat OTH (on the hoof) and there are always times when the food is NFG (no f***ing good!) so it's time to go OTL (out to lunch).

And doesn't it GYD (get you down) when the audience don't TOB (take on board) what you are TTC (trying to convey)?

Actually, in our workshops, defective equipment gets the letters NFG written on it with a fat indelible marker. Dead computers get (WNB) Will Not Boot and worn out technicians have the letters FRO stencilled on their foreheads. Not telling you what the 'F' stands for but the other two words are 'Right' and 'Off'!

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Well, that about wraps it up.

by admin In reply to And afterwards??

Now I'm thinking maybe acronyms are our friends, you say so much in such a short time and get on with it!

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admin - TAGI

by maxwell edison In reply to Ping Pong Balls

That's A Great Idea.

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That'll be...

by GuruOfDos In reply to Ping Pong Balls

The PPB methodology then??!!

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Comm. ACM

by john_wills In reply to Acronyms, acronyms, acron ...

I find the use of unexplained acronyms makes many articles difficult to read, although an acronym may have been explained the first time it was used; there should be a glosssary at the end of each article.

As for books, when the Popes were at Avignon they had a congregation or department concerned entirely with abbreviations - but writing surface was much more expensive then.

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Good point.

by goldjag In reply to Comm. ACM

A glossary is a great idea. Sometimes in long documents, it is time-consuming to go back to find and re-read the definition. A glossary would certainly make things easier.

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