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Old 18-09-2019, 12:41   #1
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Semantics, Syntax, and Understanding

While this comes from a thread on Solar Charge Controllers, when I finished writing it I thought it might be more apropos in a more general setting.

Quote:
Originally Posted by john61ct View Post
No, other than FOSS projects
Quote:
Originally Posted by john61ct View Post
but a BM like BMV-712 relay based on SoC can take the bank offline from the alt, or stop the power input to the VR.
Oh, come on! Surely you can add more jargon/abbreviations to make this post entirely unintelligible!

Your fingers can't be so tired such that you are unable to provide actual complete words. And that goes for the rest of you, with your high-falutin' idioms, vernacular and argot!

Seriously, in both written and oral communication, if you wish to be understood by your audience, use commonly understood terms - even if that means "dumbing it down".

As a young engineer many years ago, I learned such a lesson, much to my chagrin, when dealing with an automation system in a school in West Virginia. I couldn't understand why there were continuing issues regarding a "Sequence of Operations" (a narrative describing how various equipment would systematically start, run, interact, etc.), when I had so clearly described this on the blue prints.

After several written responses to the school/custodian/principal to no avail, I personally visited the school to address the problem(s). It turned out that the head Custodian in charge of the school (who originally had been hired many years before to shovel coal into a boiler) could not read!

I then spent the afternoon going over the system in a hands-on manner with the gentleman. Though he could barely read, he was smart and quickly picked up the operating details of the various systems. Problem solved.

As a technical writer, I have also tried to tailor my communications to the intended audience. You write in a different manner when addressing a church building committee, than you do for the Morbidity and Mortality Committee at say, NIH. Occasionally you have to put the hubris aside. I can hurl jargon with the best of them, but if it requires a simplified version, so be it! Know your audience.

And another favorite bit of advice for communicators:
"Eschew excess verbiage"
Mark Twain
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Old 18-09-2019, 12:46   #2
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Re: Semantics, Syntax, and Understanding

I agree. Often time i do not understand the abreavations
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Old 18-09-2019, 16:01   #3
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Re: Semantics, Syntax, and Understanding

Also agree.

Another pet peeve is when someone responds to a technical question giving the response in a manner that assumes the OP is also an expert in the subject.

The majority of the time, the OP asked the question because he/she is not an expert otherwise they wouldn't be asking

You got to read the question and from that, try to answer in a manner the OP will understand with their limited knowledge of the subject. Explain it simply or if a more understanding is required, work up to the knowledge in smaller steps.

If you have to use abbreviations, do so only after writing it in full e.g. if needing to use a Three Letter Acronym (TLA) then do it this way before using the TLA.

Not "BTW is a FLA a TLA or just a AFA". Yes, some can translate it but others not. By the way, is a four letter acronym a three letter acronym or just a another f'ing acronym.

Finally, why is so hard for some to use paragraphs. Paragraphs makes reading TTE (ten times easier).
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Old 18-09-2019, 16:51   #4
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Re: Semantics, Syntax, and Understanding

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Also agree.

....Finally, why is so hard for some to use paragraphs. Paragraphs makes reading TTE (ten times easier).

One step at a time, young Luke...

I understand that spelling errors will occur (and I am not the grammar Nazi - have you met my wife?), and that in haste we might not always be clear in our comments. Just take a moment or two to ensure your comments are understood by those who might not be as informed on the subject as you.

Thanks in advance (TIA)
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Old 18-09-2019, 17:00   #5
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Re: Semantics, Syntax, and Understanding

Well...

1 - context. If the thread has been going for a while and readers know it's about solar charge controllers, and models have previously been introduced, then abbreviations shouldn't be a problem later on.

2 - ask for clarification, if something isn't clear. Maybe the commenter isn't aware that not everyone in a thread is up to speed on the jargon.

3 - initiative. I try to look up something new every day. for example FOSS: highlight it, right-click on it, select "Search Google for FOSS"... boom.

A similar thought - should we come down hard every time someone types "your" for "you're", or similar?
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Old 18-09-2019, 17:29   #6
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Re: Semantics, Syntax, and Understanding

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Well...

A similar thought - should we come down hard every time someone types "your" for "you're", or similar?


Hey, hey, hey!!! I didn't go there.
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Old 18-09-2019, 17:37   #7
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Re: Semantics, Syntax, and Understanding

+1
I think many of these overly complex, TLA encrusted threads are more for the writers ego than the readers education.
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Just in case,
TLA: three letter acronym.
Acronym: noun, an abbreviation formed from the initial letters of other words and pronounced as a word (e.g. ASCII, NASA ).
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Old 18-09-2019, 20:52   #8
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Re: Semantics, Syntax, and Understanding

I can overlook spelling and I can overlook your and you're; there and their and such like because the meaning is usually clear and in context but too (to? two?) many abbreviations do GUMG (get up my goat)!

EDIT: google has just informed me TLA isn't an acronym, rather it an abbreviation.

Apparently acronyms are pronounced as words e.g. RADAR and SCUBA while abbreviations aren't e.g. GPS.

I never knew that - this thread is useful
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Old 18-09-2019, 22:08   #9
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Re: Semantics, Syntax, and Understanding

Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul L View Post
+1
TLA: three letter acronym.
Acronym: noun, an abbreviation formed from the initial letters of other words and pronounced as a word (e.g. ASCII, NASA ).
TLA and most of the other abbreviations being discussed here are not TLAs.
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Old 18-09-2019, 22:55   #10
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Re: Semantics, Syntax, and Understanding

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TLA and most of the other abbreviations being discussed here are not TLAs.
No, but they are Three Letter Abbreviations i.e. TLAs.
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Old 18-09-2019, 23:30   #11
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Re: Semantics, Syntax, and Understanding

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No, but they are Three Letter Abbreviations i.e. TLAs.

I should have finished with "... according to Paul's definition of TLA".
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Old 18-09-2019, 23:39   #12
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Re: Semantics, Syntax, and Understanding

^^
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Old 19-09-2019, 08:22   #13
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Re: Semantics, Syntax, and Understanding

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TLA and most of the other abbreviations being discussed here are not TLAs.
I believe they are defined as initialisms.
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Old 19-09-2019, 08:33   #14
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Re: Semantics, Syntax, and Understanding

I've often thought the same. Here's my take.

If it's obvious from the question the OP (ahem) has no experience then the answers should be simple and direct. All too often the original query is escalated by the experts into a discussion much much more complex than the first person wants or needs. (Start your own damn thread...)

If it's obvious from the question the OP (ahem) has a great deal of experience then have at it. Geek speak all you want. It's probably what makes great threads great.

I can discuss sailing,canvas work, rules of the road, navigation, live aboards, travelling, heads and provisioning at a higher level than I can electronics, or electrical stuff. I know those are my challenge areas, that's why I'm asking the question - don't compound my frustration by talking over my head.

Point being, if the purpose is to help the OP (ahem) then help them at the level at which they ask. Showing off just doesn't cut it IMHO (ahem).
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Old 19-09-2019, 08:38   #15
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Re: Semantics, Syntax, and Understanding

Oh great thread , I agree the simple language the better , I appreciate that Geeks like to be Geeks , by God my wife will bore me to death with Staistical anaylis of larva of the leech (Dr of Ecology )
But spare a thought for us Dyslexics no matter how much I try I still cant spell yatch
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