I am wondering if we should be discouraging (or at least editing out) web abbreviations used in questions. Just to be clear I'm obviously not campaigning against biological abbreviations, more things like:

  • IMO
  • IMHO (which I think is fine on Meta if used sparingly)
  • OP (which again is fine when in edit logs)
  • tl;dr
  • IIRC

All of which turned up in a few searches I ran.

My concern is that people who are not perhaps overly net-literate may be confused by their presence, that they could if used in the middle of an answer be confused with biological shorthand or simply that the lack of formality may put off experts.

What does everyone think?

  • $\begingroup$ You might want to add tl;dr, which is probably the one I most often encounter on SE sites. $\endgroup$ Jan 11 '12 at 15:25
  • $\begingroup$ @MadScientist Perfect example - I had to look it up on meta.stackoverflow as I hadn't personally encountered it $\endgroup$
    – Rory M
    Jan 11 '12 at 15:27

Just posted as an answer to allow for up/down votes to show (dis)agreement.

I'm in favour of editing out these abbreviations either by completely removing them if superfluous (e.g. it's clear that it is your opinion when it is your answer so IMO is redundant) or by replacing them with their full-text equivalent.

As comments can not be edited, I would suggest in each case asking the commenter to avoid use of netcronyms where possible. The same for comments.

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ editing them out of questions seems ok, although such copy-edits also push an answer close to community wiki. Regarding comments: I think that asking people in the comment thread creates lots of noise and is off-topic to the actual discussion. If the acronyms are edited out of answers, then this will hopefully set the tone for the comments. $\endgroup$ Jan 11 '12 at 15:45
  • $\begingroup$ @biocs if needs be it's now possible to edit comments to remove/replace if necessary $\endgroup$
    – Rory M
    Jan 11 '12 at 19:01
  • $\begingroup$ I think it's only possible for you as mod :) $\endgroup$ Jan 11 '12 at 20:09
  • $\begingroup$ @biocs sorry yes, that's what I was meaning. If the community agrees that it's a good thing to do then it is possible to implement =) $\endgroup$
    – Rory M
    Jan 11 '12 at 21:30
  • $\begingroup$ @biocs no, it is possible for everybody if you have enough reputation points: I can do it on the main SO site and I don't have any mod privileges there: you just need >2000 reputation. Even with much less reputation you can edit the post: the next mod will approve your changes and they will be seen for everybody. $\endgroup$ Jan 12 '12 at 16:25

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