I was just browsing the newest questions and looked a bit a a World of Warcraft question. I noticed it was full of abbreviations (bk, pj, BoA, BGs, ...) I did not recognize. I don't play the game so it does not matter if I don't understand it, but I guess that newer players would have the same problem.

So I'm wondering whether that abbreviation usage is perfectly acceptable, as most (nearly all?) people playing the game will understand it anyway. Or should we encourage people to explain/write in full those abbreviations that may not be universally known.

4 Answers 4


I have mixed feelings about this. On the one hand, explicitly writing out the term will make the question clearer to everyone.

On the other hand, I suspect there would be a few cases where people searching Google for this question would use an acronym or abbreviation rather than the full term. This might cause Google to not display the link to a useful answer on this site.

I think a good middle ground would be to include the full term (in parenthesis) after the acronym. This will make it a little wordier, but posts with more than a couple abbreviated terms should be fairly rare. Also, if you know the meaning behind the abbreviation, I think it's perfectly valid to edit it in.

  • 2
    I was thinking of writing my own answer but this one basically covers it for me. There are the new people who won't know the lingo yet, but there are the veterans who will probably search for PB first, and then end up posting a duplicate. Having both is liable to reduce the number of duplicate questions we get asked, and hopefully make the site experience nicer for everyone.
    – Grace Note StaffMod
    Nov 5, 2010 at 12:35

I try (though I sometimes forget, please slap me if I do!) to only use abbreviations for terms when I'm repeating them. I.E., I'd only use the term 'BoA' after using 'Bind on Account' the first time the phrase comes up. It's just good manners and should be standard practice where possible, though it's hardly enforceable.

If an answer is such an impenetrable wall of jargon that you can't understand what is being said, downvote.

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    ...and add a comment explaining that the jargon was confusing!
    – sjohnston
    Nov 4, 2010 at 22:08

Abbreviations are fine as long as they are defined once in either the question or the solution. I think the abbr tag should also be supported for this.


I believe this problem is self correcting. So far as I can tell, being as clear as is needed is part of what gets the best answers voted up. Basically, the best answers already get points in part because they spell out abbreviations and slang, or send you somewhere that does.

What's more, many of the highest viewed questions are asking for clarifications on exactly the abbreviations/slang you're talking about. In short, that slang means more content for us! (If you like, I will see about coming up with some examples)

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    While the problem is self-correcting in terms of clear questions getting more/better attention, I don't see how explicitly defining a policy for clarity could harm us. I also don't think questions that merely ask for definition of a term add a whole lot of quality to the site.
    – sjohnston
    Nov 4, 2010 at 21:59
  • The only slang/abbreviation question with over 2k views is this one on "cheese", which is more of a general gaming term. You might squeeze this one as well, but that's not really "slang" but sort of an 'in-term'. Otherwise, terminology really doesn't rack a lot.
    – Grace Note StaffMod
    Nov 5, 2010 at 12:26

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