Inspired by this meta question, where acceptable abbreviations are discussed, and the existence of this reference on bicycles.SE, I thought: would it make sense to create a similar CW question where to put reference to common terms used/accepted around the site?

I feels it somehow overlaps with tags, but not entirely IMO (In My Opinion ^^).

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    \$\begingroup\$ I am worried that this is going to turn into a mess where everyone will list their obscure pet abbreviations. The result will then have the opposite effect of intended, since it will give the impression that all the abbreviations are valid and acceptable. \$\endgroup\$ – Olin Lathrop Apr 30 '14 at 14:13
  • \$\begingroup\$ OK, thought about it some more. This might work if each answer only listed ONE abbreviation. Then people could vote on each one separately. Acceptable abbreviations would bubble to the top and unacceptable ones to the bottom. It could even be a reference of what you should NOT include in a post, while at the same time explaining what the unacceptable abbrebviations mean. \$\endgroup\$ – Olin Lathrop Apr 30 '14 at 14:15
  • \$\begingroup\$ @OlinLathrop indeed, my idea is along the lines of the second comment: one abbreviation per answer, negative score means "likely non accepted" \$\endgroup\$ – clabacchio Apr 30 '14 at 14:23
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    \$\begingroup\$ The entire point of wiki posts is to prevent these off topic and annoying 100+ questions. It's design to let a single answer be edited by multiple people. OFF TOPIC. \$\endgroup\$ – Passerby May 1 '14 at 0:29
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Passerby I recognize this is being pedantic, but it is not off topic as much as a complete re-appropriation of the system for something it is poorly suited for, or maybe just Too Broad. \$\endgroup\$ – W5VO May 5 '14 at 14:53
  • \$\begingroup\$ @jippie I disagree. The abbreviation can be listed with the two meanings in the description. Ultimately, bad/uncommon abbreviations should be removed from the list, hence sorting is not a priority. But make the comment an answer, so it can be voted on \$\endgroup\$ – clabacchio May 5 '14 at 17:09
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    \$\begingroup\$ Someone put a bounty on this. Weird. \$\endgroup\$ – Scott Seidman May 5 '14 at 21:59
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    \$\begingroup\$ I have locked the question and removed the bounty while we sort this out. \$\endgroup\$ – W5VO May 5 '14 at 23:24
  • \$\begingroup\$ @ScottSeidman I think bounties can interfere with close votes and voting to delete by 10k's. Not immediately relevant, but was annoying on Arqade when someone kept using bounties abusively \$\endgroup\$ – Nick T May 5 '14 at 23:25
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    \$\begingroup\$ @W5VO aww, I had a list of 30 more abbreviations I found on this random datasheet that I thought the community would love to have. If you can't beat 'em, bury 'em. \$\endgroup\$ – Nick T May 5 '14 at 23:27
  • \$\begingroup\$ @NickT That's fine, but this has really gotten out of hand. Let's sort out if the post should exist and then where it should exist first. \$\endgroup\$ – W5VO May 5 '14 at 23:28
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    \$\begingroup\$ @W5VO there's only one place that will do. \$\endgroup\$ – Nick T May 5 '14 at 23:33

This is clearly getting out of hand. As it stands, this question, which obviously fails many of the tests for a good and valid question on this Q&A network, has 157 "answers", which have been alphabetically organized into a nearly useless, ridiculously long list of links with a subjective number next to them, and this is only going to grow. There is no end to electronic and electrical acronyms.

But what is really, really bad is that this appears to be another stick to beat people with regarding "question quality"! Why are we so keen on drawing a line and determining what is "acceptable to use on this site"? How many questions actually demonstrate a problem? Is this a pandemic, and site failure will result if we don't get this under control, or is this the result of a few busybodies that are annoyed at the one or two questions per month with somewhat odd acronyms?

If someone uses an unfamiliar term, you either move on to another question where your expertise is more useful, or you ask for clarification in a comment. This system has worked very well for every other Q&A site, and it has worked wonderfully here for the last few years.

  1. The list is endless. There's no way to contain it so that it could and would be useful. I could double the existing list in a short period of time, and it wouldn't even scratch the surface of all the acronyms I would immediately recognize in standard electronic literature.

  2. We already have a system to manage unclear questions, and it already works by community consensus. There is no need to define yet another set of standards one must meet.

  3. The question/list absolutely does NOT belong on the site, failing many tests in our don't ask help page:

What types of questions should I avoid asking?

First, make sure that your question is on-topic for this site.

You should only ask practical, answerable questions based on actual problems that you face. Chatty, open-ended questions diminish the usefulness of our site and push other questions off the front page.

Your questions should be reasonably scoped. If you can imagine an entire book that answers your question, you’re asking too much.

If your motivation for asking the question is “I would like to participate in a discussion about ______”, then you should not be asking here. However, if your motivation is “I would like others to explain ______ to me”, then you are probably OK. (Discussions are of course welcome in our real time web chat.)

To prevent your question from being flagged and possibly removed, avoid asking subjective questions where …

  • every answer is equally valid: “What’s your favorite ______?”
  • your answer is provided along with the question, and you expect more answers: “I use ______ for ______, what do you use?”
  • there is no actual problem to be solved: “I’m curious if other people feel like I do.”
  • you are asking an open-ended, hypothetical question: “What if ______ happened?”
  • your question is just a rant in disguise: “______ sucks, am I right?”

(The above section was adapted from MetaFilter’s FAQ.)

If anywhere, this list might exist comfortably on meta. But it doesn't belong on the main site. We should not use it as a bar to bludgeon the rare question asker who uses odd acronyms.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Moving to Meta seems a possible alternative to me too \$\endgroup\$ – clabacchio May 5 '14 at 19:02
  • \$\begingroup\$ We should move electronics.stackexchange.com/questions/616/… and electronics.stackexchange.com/questions/1024/… for mostly the same reasons, but who would be searching for actual content on meta? I think community wiki entries are not reqular questions, but more like a reference. Hence wiki. Apart from that, no need to use large/bold font to make your point. \$\endgroup\$ – jippie May 5 '14 at 19:46
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    \$\begingroup\$ What necessary purpose does it serve? What is the justification for abusing the site in order to host it? \$\endgroup\$ – Adam Davis May 5 '14 at 19:49
  • \$\begingroup\$ Most entries explain the meaning of the abbreviation, allowing you to understand it or to ease searching Internet for more details. \$\endgroup\$ – jippie May 5 '14 at 19:58
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    \$\begingroup\$ That doesn't justify throwing out the site guidelines. At that point you might as well copy whole sections of wikipedia into electronics.se. \$\endgroup\$ – Adam Davis May 5 '14 at 20:05

Good idea. I got the ball rolling at https://electronics.stackexchange.com/q/108522/4512.

I already flagged it to be converted to CW.


One of the goals for the question is to have the votes be an indicator of how likely the abbreviation is commonly known. But what if a single abbreviation can have different meanings. As an example I split up PAL and PAL and also RTL and RTL. I think that is the way to go. Thoughts anyone? Maybe improve the question text?

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    \$\begingroup\$ So we can be the arbiters of who has the correct abbreviation? I'm pretty sure we have it wrong then, because PAL (TV) pre-dates programmable array logic by about a decade. If I have a PAL TV and the latter is higher voted (it is currently), then should I conclude that my TV is full of those little chips? \$\endgroup\$ – Nick T May 5 '14 at 23:29
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    \$\begingroup\$ the point isn't to specify which abbreviation is right in the grand scheme of things. The point is to get everyone on the same page for this website, so when someone here says PAL in a question/answer the assumption is it's the logic chips \$\endgroup\$ – Gorloth May 6 '14 at 0:02
  • \$\begingroup\$ @NickT Where did I write "the correct abbreviation"? People are upvoting an abbreviation if they are familiar with it and downvoting if unfamiliar. So an abbreviation with low votes and used in your question, needs a brief explanation and one could link to this question. \$\endgroup\$ – jippie May 6 '14 at 4:48
  • \$\begingroup\$ So it's a popularity contest for abbreviations, which, given absolutely zero context and meaning, as there is no real question to address, are all equally useless. Down vote the lot of them I say. \$\endgroup\$ – Nick T May 6 '14 at 8:39

No. Stack Exchange is not Wikipedia. We already would close a question asking "what's a motor" or "what's voltage", why would we have a giant list of it?!

If the community insists on replacing that twig in an otherwise nice figgy pudding, why not go all the way?

  • \$\begingroup\$ Actually we do have a question on what is voltage (electronics.stackexchange.com/q/50976/4512) and another one on what is charge (electronics.stackexchange.com/q/103489/4512). There seems to be a misconception that we close low level questions, but that's not the case. What we close ruthlessly are low quality questions. \$\endgroup\$ – Olin Lathrop May 2 '14 at 13:01
  • \$\begingroup\$ The vote count doubles as a how-well-do-we-understand-this-abbreviation-indicator when it is used in a question or answer. That is information that you will not find in Wikipedia or at Digikey (or any other site). \$\endgroup\$ – jippie May 5 '14 at 17:03

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