Many acronyms got their start in the military, and spread to civilian life. Two examples from WWII:
FUBAR: Fucked Up Beyond All Recognition.
SNAFU: Situation Normal - All Fucked Up.
A few good ones I use regularly-
IMHO- in my humble opinion
IME- in my experience
IIRC- if I recall correctly
YMMV- your mileage may vary
These darn young whipersnappers are coming up with new ones all the time. Makes communication more direct. Contractions were a new linguistic convention once upon a time too, but they seem to have stuck over time.
Join the game! You'll love it once you start to play.
It seems like they could be unclear sometimes. SMH seems to be under some debate. YOLO becomes tiresome and fails too take into account that the Hindus might be right about reincarnation
Imagine how scandalized I was when I realized what MILF meant!
This is a classic example: I have no clue what any of those are.
I guess it all depends on which circles we travel in. For example, I don't 'text'.
YOLO... UFSSYDCP ITRTTD
"Ellowell" is a word I've heard around. I have a teenager. She doesn't say it but her friends do. It no longer means "i have laughed out loud" it's more subtle and nuanced than that.
Oh-emjee is another one they say. I guess "oh my God" doesn't have much of a meaning to begin with.
One that gets used on these forums is DE for diatomaceous earth. Clearly that is a long word and it's nice to abbreviate but it's helpful, especially for new people, to define the acronym before using it.
Now I often write epic texts full of really long words; or just a
wtf='What the fuck' can be handy...
I've seen 'lol' used twice by older people thinking it meant 'lots of love'.
Not a problem in my case, but imagine someone signing off with 'lol' in reply to a text about a pet dying or something!
This would be bad enough if it were just me texting something to my kid in a one on one exchange. The average message posted here is read hundreds of times. So, a poster saves 10 seconds by using an obscure acronym - over time 1000 people puzzle over it for 15 seconds each. In this example we have just wasted a little over 4 hours of our reader's time. More than that was wasted if you posted something fairly long, but in the end the reader isn't sure of what the entire comment meant, due to the missing information.
Writing in this way tends to ignore the need to have consideration for several demographic groups. It effectively tells many potential readers that this message is meant for a select few. Others are unwelcome.
1. Many elderly readers are completely unacquainted with text speak.
2. Many visitors to the site read English but are more familiar with another language. Slang and text speak are likely to exclude them from the conversation.
3. Some people are marginally literate. Giving them something else to figure out, makes reading an even more daunting task.
4. Some people tend to read using whole word recognition, rather than the phonetic approach. Acronyms force them to switch to another way of receiving the information.
5. A good number of visitors with varying degrees of literacy, come here to learn about permaculture, and not to play word games with children who think they're being clever. Many will simply skip by messages that are designed to make them work at a guessing game that they never agreed to play.
I've often wondered about languages and how they evolve over time. I think the reason a lot of this started was because it saved people real money, when it used to cost a quarter to send each text. People adopted these time and money saving alternatives to full words and some folks have tried to adapt it to real verbal speech with little to show for it. But as time passes we'll see that some of these acronyms will stick in our vocabulary for a while.
Because of the internet, people are being somewhat forced to learn a common language. While there are translation services today, eventually people will have a native tongue and a world tongue. Time and technology will all but ensure this.
Some of the difficulties people have in learning language or written text, will shape how the new common language will look and sound. On the other hand, some folks will be left behind... but that's going on every day. These are some of the things Dale addressed. There are challenges and some people can't keep up. I'll admit that I have a difficult time reading manuals and technological sounding stuff because it doesn't read the way a real person would talk. I read slowly to myself with a little voice in my head. (all good voices I assure you) That seems to work OK but it takes a lot longer for me to get through a book than most folks. Acronyms throw a wrench in my gears and often find myself going back two pages to find out what the heck I'm reading about again. Or if the topic isn't really my cup of tea, I just put the book down and walk away. Reading should be fun ... not work! (sorry Shakespeare).
BTW: Help Control The Pet Population. Have Your Pet Spayed Or Neutered.
I just had a look at one of the "similar topics" at the bottom of the page --- BSFL and sawdust. A few postings down, someone says this.
Steven Feil asked for clarification --- Probably more newbies than me are scratching their heads about the acronyms above. PLEASE define your acronyms before using them, just like when using pronouns. Makes it easier to follow the discussion.
And this was the reply --- Steven - I want to say this most respectfully and I hope you can hear me. You are right, we 'could' think to define, more common terms to us, that maybe lesser known to others. But, most of us are putting more effort into addressing a thread than wondering what the readership may or may not know. I know, when I was beginning and still do I would look up terms/things that I didn't understand and/or wanted to know more about. Taking initiative will better help your understanding and your needs rather than someone else trying to imagine what you or another needs. If you had clicked on the link provided above, it would have more than answered your question...
And Steven again --- I am going to try to say this most respectfully as well: If a person does not even know where to begin, how can that be helpful or encouraging to the new person. This site has soooooo many jumping off points that have cross information that it would be IMPOSSIBLE to even think about where to START an investigation. Is the acronym related to sawdust or some other indiscreet thing?
And actually, in a fraction of the space it took for you to respectfully tell me I am on my own, you could have done a decent job of explaining what I needed to know.
The reader was blamed for a problem that clearly began the moment the acronym was chosen as a title. Right away, most Earthlings were excluded from the conversation. If you write something down and an intelligent, literate person has no idea what you are saying, your communication skills are at fault. http://www.permies.com/t/24370/composting/BSFL-sawdust This topic should probably be moved to "Tinkering With This Site" since it has to do with how user friendly the forum is or should be. Excluding the majority of readers due to poor title choice or excessive text speak within that thread, makes us all look silly for participating in such silliness.
Back in college I was one course shy of a minor in linguistics. I find language and language change really fascinating. If I were in college following my frivolous interests instead of on a farm following my instincts I'd be doing research on things like acronyms and hashtags and slang and regional accents.
On a forum like this, I agree with Dale, undefined acronyms are a hindrance to communication, not just an annoyance.
I have a few years left before I get my masters in Old Fogey.