From: George Murphy (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Date: Thu Sep 25 2003 - 15:11:53 EDT
Jan de Koning wrote:
> Thank you, Sheila.
> Despite my previous requests, we still get many postings with acronyms
> unexplained. I have taken the view that, if acronyms are not explained,
> they are not intended for me, and therefor they are often deleted before
> reading the whole posting. I warned in the past that I would be forced to
> do so. In a book or an article, even if they are scientific, acronyms are
> explained. If it takes too long to do so, it is obviously not intended for
I'm afraid I'm going to be hard-nosed about this. A listserv is not a scholarly
book or article but a quite different medium. It is much more conversational.
Moreover, one like the asa list is intended for people who have some familiarity with
the subject. Expecting everyone who uses YEC to explain that it means "Young earth
creationism [or creationist]" in every post is like expecting a physicist to explain at
the beginning of a paper that c is the speed of light. & scanning through a post before
sending it, noting all the acronyms I've used (some of them unconsciously) & then
explaining each, destroys their purpose, which is abbreviation.
Having said that, I think it's reasonable to have a resource that people can
easily consult to find frequently used acronyms and abbreviations. & having looked it
over once, it shouldn't be hard to remember or call up relevant ones.
& often you can figure out acronymns or abbreviations from context: In a
discussion of cosmology it isn't hard to guess that BB means big bang. & sometimes you
can work around them - as I often do with a German word I don't know instead of opening
the dictionary. Of course you can miss things that way, but you usually don't have to
get 100% of the words in a message to understand it.
George L. Murphy
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