… Several Words Arranged To Confound preHension.
I currently suffer from a severe case of acronygnorance (see what I did there?) at work, where the TLA (three letter abbreviation ((Yes… abbreviation. An acronym forms a pronouncable word and since when has TLA been anything of the sort?)) ) rules supreme. I, as an upshot of this, find myself staring blankly at emails, notes and documentation bemused by the needless density of hidden meaning generated by a fascination with reducing everything to a minimal length.
When you text someone or post a classified advert in a newspaper, I can understand the need to abbreviate – letter count can cost money and time better spent elsewhere. However, anyone communicating thoughts, intentions or a new process should endeavour to do so with clarity. No one wins over anyone with confusion. Send me a document laced with acronyms and you can expect me to attend the next meeting none the wiser and far from convinced about the point and purpose of your initiative. Want feedback? Sure – stop using stupid acronyms.
Adding a glossary can help, but even that represents a degree of laziness. In theory, a piece of software like Word can actively replace a series of letters with something else – so if you know you intend to use a technical term that begs for an acronym, set it up for automatic replacement. HTML provides an alternative with the ACRONYM tag, which allows you to provide the meaning together with the acronym – revealed simply by hanging over the term in a supporting browser. Perhaps software could provide something similar for those reading documents via computer? That would considerably assist poor sods like myself who struggle to keep up…