Sometimes, a question is not clear simply because it contains an abbreviation or acronym that a reader doesn't understand. I wonder if the instructions should encourage the definition of these things in the body of the question.

There are experts in some fields that may get some of these abbreviations or acronyms on the spot, but for some newbies here or some basic users, it may not be clear to them at all. This thus affects the way in which they will interpret the post or event review it.

Is this worth a mention in the help/instructions?

  • 1
    If an abbreviation or acronym is something you can't understand you can definitely ask OP to expand that. For example, we all know WSL, but if you type windows subsystem for linux, it will increase length of question and take more time to type and read, :-)
    – Kulfy
    Commented Nov 16, 2018 at 19:18

2 Answers 2


You haven't given an example, so I'm not sure which acronyms and abbreviations you've seen that could cause problems. As Fabby pointed out, many tech-related things are better known by their acronyms than their full names, and typing out the whole thing would be both cumbersome and obfuscatory.

On the other hand, when editing posts (though I wouldn't always edit a post only for that purpose) I expand abbreviations which I think may not be as easily understood as the whole word, or which may hinder machine translation or text-to-speech. For example, I'll change cmnd to command, win10 to Windows 10, ex to "for example" and so on.

I do think it could be helpful for the Help Center guidance to say something about using clear language so that people can decipher what you actually want to know, but it would be better to avoid overly prescriptive advice, I think.

This site is a community based around a shared interest, and many terms that would be obscure to passers-by will be widely understood here, as Kulfy hinted. My own view is that acronyms are very useful (because who likes typing?) and by using them here, we teach them to others who might find them helpful too. Rather than avoiding acronyms, in a context where you think they might not be understood and their meaning is important, you can hyperlink them to some explanatory resource, like so:

UEFI has largely replaced BIOS...

  • As usual: a more balanced and better answer than mine. ;-) Keep up the good work! 0:-)
    – Fabby
    Commented Nov 17, 2018 at 11:03

One of the Universal Serial Bus ports on my Universal Serial Bus hub is not recognised. Is this due to the Peripheral Component Interconnect or the Central Processing Unit or the Universal Extensible Firmware on my computer.

(IOW: banning acronyms is not going to work IYKWIMAITYD )


  • 5
    Hah, so I guess it's not just for the sake of brevity we use acronyms for computer stuff... it's also because the actual names are so cryptically grandiose they sound like advertising slogans. All aboard the universal cereal bus kids! Fortified with vitamins and minerals...
    – Zanna Mod
    Commented Nov 16, 2018 at 22:11

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