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Which is to say, "Enough with the furkin' acronyms"!

I know we're all pressed for time, and that if you're writing a long report in which you plan to reference "self-contained underwater breathing apparatus" or "international standard book number" many times, it's much easier to call them SCUBA and ISBN. I admit to using "ASAP" and "FYI" myself, because everyone understands them; along with "TMI" and "WTF?" because they're amusing. But I didn't become a stay-at-home mom solely to gain the shiny new acronym of SAHM, which makes it look like a disease; and IMHO (in my humble opinion) and AFAIK (as far as I know) have always bugged me a bit.

Back in chat room days, we pegged annoying dorks instantly by their use of "A/S/L?" ("Age/sex/location?," or "Where are you, are you hot, and are you old enough to cybersex me?"). The other day I saw a post ending with "KWIM???" Took me a second, but I got there--"Know what I mean?" Now, was it so hard for me to type those four words? Why, no. No, it wasn't.

What are your acronym pet peeves? Or pet loves?


( 18 comments — Leave a comment )
Oct. 26th, 2006 07:39 pm (UTC)
I have always volunteered that GDA (great and dreaded authority) on TLAs (three letter acronyms,) the SCA (Society for Creative Acronyms) but some folks seem TTO (to take offense) at that... haven't been able to figure out why, especially as they often admit to being SCA members...
Oct. 26th, 2006 09:47 pm (UTC)
I always heard that the SCA is not the Society for Creative Acronyms, but rather, Society for Creative Anachronisms, which might make a difference.

And if this was mean only as a play on Anachronisms/Acronyms, then pardon my geek
Oct. 26th, 2006 11:40 pm (UTC)
Yep, some of them thar Anachronists are the ones who get their feathers all ruffled over that... although others find it very funny, which, of course what it is supposed to be... =)
Oct. 26th, 2006 08:11 pm (UTC)
I strongly dislike the use of "AFAIK." I don't think the phrase "as far as I know" should EVER be used enough to merit an acronym. "IMHO" bugs me a lot, but, oddly enough, "IMO" doesn't bother me nearly as much (maybe it's the removal of feigned humility).

I am, however, a big fan of "OMG" and "WTF" and the various related combinations and permutations, especially those taken to an exaggerated and humorous level, such as "ZOMGWTFBBQ" (as in "Dude, that guy got ZOMGWTFBBQPWNED!!!!11!!!!one!!"). That's a personal favorite.
Oct. 30th, 2006 06:35 pm (UTC)
LOL on those last ones. :) Yes, making fun of acronyms and internet lingo is entirely welcome. And the cool thing about "WTF" is that you can tell instantly what it stands for--probably because when you actually just try to say the actual abbreviation, it almost sounds like the full three words.
Oct. 26th, 2006 08:28 pm (UTC)
Oh sheesh, if you haven't seen Fandom_Wank recently, you should go look at it just for the horror that the rampant acronym abuse will inspire in you.

While I can't deny that they're handy, I tend to avoid IMHO, IIRC, etc. Typically, I even shun that staple of online communication, "LOL". I just like the way that normal, typed-out words look as opposed to big acronyms. Having little pods of capital letters floating around breaks up the flow of reading for me because caps, like numbers, draw the eye but take longer for the brain to process than normal, flowing text does.

(Which is why, to tangent off into random trivia, most signs--or most good signs, anyway--will have the really important information like "SANDWITCHES", "STOP" or "WE ACCEPT ALL CREDIT CARDS" in all caps: you want to catch the eye, and to the normal English-speaking brain, caps say "this is important". You also want people to actually assimilate the info, not just read it with the back of their mind and then forget they ever saw it. So you put it all in caps so that hopefully, since the brain will have to take longer and work harder at actually reading the words, enough of the conscious brain will become involved for those words to make it into the frontal lobes. You learn interesting things about language and the human brain when you work in sign design and manufacture.)

Okay, so where was I? Ah, yes. typing in all caps, to me, says "Look at this!" and since most of the common acronyms are for sets of words that are so commonplace that they're practically omnipresent (hence the reason they become acronyms at all) it's kind of backwards. My attention is being directed to a non-essential part of the sentence, and away from what the sentence is actually talking about.

I think this comment might actually be longer than your original post, at this point, so I'm not even going to bother going on about how these acronyms render so much inaccessible to uninitiated internet noobs like myself when used too frequently.

Oct. 26th, 2006 09:49 pm (UTC)
Although I've read research that states that although allcaps draws attention, it is harder for the brain to actually read (takes more time) due to the block nature of the letters, and thereby fewer shape markers for actual recognition. So maybe allcaps signs are a double-edged sword
Oct. 26th, 2006 09:54 pm (UTC)
That's true from what I understand, but back when I was being taught how to design, the fact that all caps took longer to read was said to be a good thing, because it made the brain slow down and actually read the words as opposed to "skimming" them. The idea being that if the brain spent longer on figuring out the word, it was more likely to actually comprehend the message it was reading. Not sure if this actually works or not, but it seems to be common practice in the signage business, for what that's worth.
Oct. 30th, 2006 06:44 pm (UTC)
typing in all caps, to me, says "Look at this!" and since most of the common acronyms are for sets of words that are so commonplace that they're practically omnipresent (hence the reason they become acronyms at all) it's kind of backwards.

Late reply, but...

Yes! Quite so! Your attention gets drawn to the "IMHO" rather than their humble opinion itself. Which is kind of obnoxious. Then the ones we can't figure out just confuse us, as you point out with your inaccessibility comment.

On "LOL"--I use it in response to things, but really dislike when people use it in their own writing, as a response to something they themselves wrote. But I've been reluctant to say so, since many people I like very much do it. Heh.

I suppose in proper sign design you aren't supposed to use quotation marks to emphasize? Like:

"Fresh" Strawberry Shakes!

...which I saw one time. Gah. So, are they fresh or not?
Oct. 30th, 2006 06:57 pm (UTC)
Re. using "LOL" in the context of one's own writing: I am peeved by this, too, but as you say there are many perfectly intelligent and articulate people that use it. My favorite explanation of the definition of "LOL" came from a rather acerbic friend, who was trying to explain the term to his less-than-web-savvy wife:

"LOL used to mean that the person was 'laughing out loud' in response to something, but now people use it as a kind of punctuation in their own writing, to denote when something they've written is supposed to be funny. Which is silly, because if the reader is not laughing at that point, it's not going to do them any good to know that you laughed out loud at your own quip."

A tad harsh, since I think a lot of folks just use it because they've seen it used that way so often that it's become part of the language for them. But I couldn't help but laugh.

Also, the quotation marks on signs? Are those sneer quotes? Are we quoting someone as saying they're fresh? What the heck. That's just one step up from green-grocer plurals in my book.
Nov. 3rd, 2006 07:02 pm (UTC)
Maybe I'm mean, but I have to agree with your acerbic friend. I wish I could get the point across to the nice people I know who use it. Then again, who am I to dictate, I suppose? It's just my own peeve and doesn't have to be theirs.

Ah, apostrophe misuse. Another peeve. Gargh.
Oct. 26th, 2006 11:55 pm (UTC)
They BMBT (bug me big time), but a couple of funny things I've seen done with them:
Terry Pratchett, in _Carpe Jugulam_: someone with a pseudo-Scottish accent says something like, "He was born weak, immhoe!"

And for the Gilbert and Sullivan fans among us: BYIAD (bless you, it all depends).
Oct. 27th, 2006 12:27 am (UTC)
I'm a big fan of YMMV - your mileage may vary. (it seems snarkier somehow) Likewise to omg & lol - but because I feel dorky to the extreme typing out "laughing" or "laughing out loud" - if you have to describe a reaction, is it a real conversation? The arconyms subvert that discomfort.
Oct. 30th, 2006 06:46 pm (UTC)
In instant messaging, LOL is useful; and I don't mind it as a reply to comments on LJ either. Though I like it better when people type "You just made me snort tea all over my screen." :)
Oct. 30th, 2006 12:17 am (UTC)
IMO bugs me a little bit. But I love using btw (by the way) when I'm chatting on AIM. I find that very handy.

The tricky thing is to remember not to use Japanese phrases when talking to non-anime people. o.O;
Oct. 31st, 2006 04:44 am (UTC)
OMG, I know. WTF? IMHO they're a PITA, but AFAIK & FWIW I suppose they do save some time if you're in a hurry. :)

Honestly, I find it takes more time to think about the acronyms than to just type the damn words with similar exceptions to those you mentioned. I find myself having to translate half the posts in the few forums I keep tabs on. I usually just spell it out myself.
Oct. 31st, 2006 04:46 am (UTC)
As for a few acronym pet peeves of mine... again from the forums mentioned before:

FIFY - fixed it for you (often used when somebody edits somebody's words to make them funnier)

AFAIK - took me weeks to figure out!

I'm sure I could rattle off others, but you get the idea.
Nov. 3rd, 2006 07:06 pm (UTC)
I know what you mean. Some message boards are crawling with the things, and I usually can't find a handy list anywhere on the site to explain what they mean. One page I've been to regularly uses "RIS" (received in swap), "GWP" (gift with purchase), and "R/O" (read on--i.e., click the link and keep reading for more--and why is there a slash, anyway?). Drives me crazy trying to work it out.
( 18 comments — Leave a comment )