So we now have a Terminology Reference

Original Meta Question

Well this has grown into something much larger than originally intended. This started as a quickly implemented suggestion of a moderator, and that's part of the reason why it has stayed around so long. As of this writing, there are 174 answers (including the deleted ones). I have locked the post while we figure out what to do with it.

To summarize the opinions I've seen (and feel free to leave a comment if I'm missing anything):


  • Centralized "repository" of jargon, abbreviations, and acronyms.
  • Allows users to assess whether a given acronym is common or not.
  • Each individual post can be linked to in Questions/Answers/Comments.
  • There are entries for items that do not have tags and/or tag wikis (60+)


  • It violates the guidelines of StackExchange
    • It is NOT off-topic. Stop trying to use that excuse any time you want to get rid of a question.
    • Using criteria from the Help Center, this question is not practical, answerable, based on a problem. It is by definition open-ended, and certainly has generated a lot of chatter. "All the acronyms used in EE" is not a reasonable scope. Every (well, almost every) answer is equally valid, and there is no problem to be solved (other than a lack of an acronym reference). The question is not subjective.
  • It replicates the functionality of the tag wikis
  • It replicates a number of existing acronym indexes on the Internet (thanks Adam)
  • It is not close to being complete - there are plenty of acronyms or abbreviations missing, resulting in activity for weeks if not months.
  • It will serve as a poor indicator as to the type of questions allowed.
  • It will encourage more list-style questions (e.g. "What types of capacitors are used in EE?")
  • It requires maintainence (checking back to see new additions, updating of the index)
  • Voting gives a preference to oldest answers

So what do we do?

Honestly, I'm torn on what to do with this question. The only "Con" that I don't really care about is following the StackExchange guidelines, as long as there is community consensus. I've seen three suggestions on what to do with the post: Leave it as it is, Move it to meta.EE, or delete it. Those three options will be placed below as answers for a poll (see, it's fun to subvert the StackExchange engine for fun and profit). I'll be going by total answer score, so yes that means you can upvote what you like, and downvote what you don't like, or even have a preference in your options. If there is another solution, add it as an answer.

tldr: Vote Below!


  • At a net vote count of +8 (+18, -10), the majority of the community has voted in favor of keeping the reference question. The second closest option, deleting the question, was at +1 (+12,-11). Moving it to meta was at -1 (+8, -9). The question will stay around (unlocked) as long as it is maintained.
  • \$\begingroup\$ Why don't we let it go a bit, and then move the index with the definitions to a community wiki ANSWER instead of the question, delete all the other answers, and let the wiki EDITS maintain the answer form that point? That way nobody needs to run perl scripts to keep updating the index. One issue is that there are some defs missing because there are more than one abbreviation in many answers. \$\endgroup\$ Commented May 6, 2014 at 19:35
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Isn't that how CW answers are designed to be maintained?? \$\endgroup\$ Commented May 6, 2014 at 19:35
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ @ScottSeidman I think that's secondary to the question at hand: "Should it exist at all?" \$\endgroup\$
    – W5VO
    Commented May 6, 2014 at 19:38
  • \$\begingroup\$ Some of the cons are mitigated a bit by this being community wiki. In the end I think it serves a useful purpose, but locking it for now until someone can make a case for a abbreviation we really need sounds like a good idea. This has taken on a life of its own way beyond what I imagined at the beginning. I thought we'd have 30-50 abbreviations and then it would just sit in the back as a reference. That was very naive in hindsight. Too many people tried to dump every last abbreviation there they could think of. \$\endgroup\$ Commented May 6, 2014 at 20:21
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ "It is not close to being complete" should be "There is no logical end" I wonder if those voting for the question to remain open have seen what these types of poll questions ended up like on other sites when the community allowed them. After 2 pages, no one bothers to go through and vote on all the good contributions, and after 20 pages the community finally realizes how utterly useless the whole exercise was. \$\endgroup\$
    – Adam Davis
    Commented May 7, 2014 at 4:40
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ I guess for some people it's not enough that there are EE acronym lists all over the internet, and google is very helpful. allacronyms.com/tag/electrical_engineering ... ee.washington.edu/circuit_archive/text/acronyms.html ... abbreviations.com/acronyms/ELECTRONICS ... digikey.com/Web%20Export/Supplier%20Content/GenCable_42/PDF/… ... allacronyms.com/tag/electronics ... Shoot, running out of room. Here, have a Google Search! \$\endgroup\$
    – Adam Davis
    Commented May 7, 2014 at 4:44
  • \$\begingroup\$ @AdamDavis Added this as a reason against. (Thanks) \$\endgroup\$
    – W5VO
    Commented May 7, 2014 at 4:55
  • \$\begingroup\$ @W5VO point of order for future "polls", you really should not count down-votes as it effectively gives everyone 2+ votes. \$\endgroup\$
    – Nick T
    Commented May 10, 2014 at 5:46
  • \$\begingroup\$ Concerning maintenance of the index: Everyone with sufficient rep to edit the question can do that now. There is a URL in the question that will create the index with correct markup to copy and paste. The URL will be updated once per day at max to prevent abuse. \$\endgroup\$
    – jippie
    Commented May 10, 2014 at 7:13
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ @NickT I expressly said I would count net vote counts so that people could express a preference for all 3 options. Even if I didn't, it wasn't really close. \$\endgroup\$
    – W5VO
    Commented May 10, 2014 at 12:42
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ This is now a failed experiment. Too many people are now either deliberately abusing the question or don't get it and are adding every last silly abbreviation that pop into their little minds. I thought we could work together to make a useful reference, but there are too many vandals and morons for that to work. The fact that it has now been vadalized by a moderator is the last straw. As the question author, I tried to delete it, but the system won't let me. I have voted to close. Hopefully 4 people will join me and we can put this mess behind us. \$\endgroup\$ Commented May 11, 2014 at 21:44

3 Answers 3


Just leave it alone!

Remove the moderator lock and let the question and answers progress "naturally"

  • \$\begingroup\$ I like this option best, but maybe leave the moderator lock until someone can show a need for a abbrevation we don't already have. There will always be more than whatever we have, but the list we have so far is pretty good for actual purposes here. \$\endgroup\$ Commented May 6, 2014 at 20:18
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ @OlinLathrop The post probably would not be locked. It's not just the acronyms you know, it's "all" the acronyms. \$\endgroup\$
    – W5VO
    Commented May 6, 2014 at 20:47
  • \$\begingroup\$ That's the problem. We are getting all abbreviations that pop into anyone's head, whether they are really worth listing here to help people understand what they are reading when they encounter them or not. \$\endgroup\$ Commented May 6, 2014 at 22:05
  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ @OlinLathrop No - there is no "impartial" or even "fair" way to decide which terms stay or go. Either we have an open-to-everything (electrical engineering only) list, or nothing at all. That's not to say there aren't boundaries, but it will be very broad in nature. \$\endgroup\$
    – W5VO
    Commented May 7, 2014 at 1:40
  • \$\begingroup\$ You can rank the abbreviations by use frequency. There shouldn't be a reason to remove existing commonly acknowledged abbreviations from a comprehensive list. \$\endgroup\$ Commented May 7, 2014 at 9:04
  • \$\begingroup\$ I for one am curious to see how many "answers" can exist on any one question. I also pine for the day when the front page is completely full of people updating these 100+ answer list questions. \$\endgroup\$
    – Nick T
    Commented May 8, 2014 at 4:53
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Unlock it and leave it alone. It's useful as a data-gathering mechanism, but quite useless as a long-term reference resource -- the tag system is much better at that, and the data gathered in the question should be transferred to the tag wiki where appropriate. \$\endgroup\$
    – Dave Tweed
    Commented May 8, 2014 at 12:59
  • \$\begingroup\$ @OlinLathrop Maybe there should have been a requirement of an abbreviation actually being / been used on EE.SE. I am getting the impression that some people are just adding anything they can think of (or make up) to frustrate the Q. \$\endgroup\$
    – jippie
    Commented May 10, 2014 at 20:10
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Jippie: Yes, I'm seeing that too. Now that the question is unlocked, we are seeing mostly silly abbreviations being added. Either people don't get it, or they are deliberately trying to sabotage the question. Hmm, what would happen if I tried to delete the question? I wonder if I can do that, since I originally asked it? My patience is wearing thin. I'll probably try that soon if this nonsense keeps up. \$\endgroup\$ Commented May 10, 2014 at 23:24
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ @jippie We don't even have all the varieties of wire insulation. Probably another few hundred to go. \$\endgroup\$
    – W5VO
    Commented May 10, 2014 at 23:36
  • \$\begingroup\$ @OlinLathrop One of the mods is setting a great example \$\endgroup\$
    – jippie
    Commented May 11, 2014 at 20:33
  • \$\begingroup\$ @jippie: That really sucks, especially coming from a mod. My patience has now run out with a mod jumping into the fray trying to make things worse instead of better. I tried to delete the question, but it wouldn't let me. Oh well, there seems to be nothing more I can do. \$\endgroup\$ Commented May 11, 2014 at 21:34
  • \$\begingroup\$ But hey, we have a third set of close votes again. How many times can a question be closed and reopened :D \$\endgroup\$
    – Passerby
    Commented May 12, 2014 at 5:02

Kill it with FIRE!!

The question (and all acronym "answers") should be deleted.

  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ +1, mostly because of the maintenance issue. \$\endgroup\$
    – The Photon
    Commented May 6, 2014 at 16:04
  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ And, SE is a terrible format for such information. The highest voted answers will be the ones you least need to look up, and there's no good way to search, and only a limited number of answers are displayed on each page. \$\endgroup\$
    – Phil Frost
    Commented May 8, 2014 at 11:58

Move it to Meta.EE!

Remove the moderator lock, and migrate the question and all answers to meta.


You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .