Eschew obfuscation. Espouse elucidation.

I get annoyed when a nice, straightforward term is replaced by something obscure and new people can’t easily enter the conversation. For example, in the field of exercise, core has replaced “stomach and back muscles”. Easier to say, yesÂ…but it makes understanding difficult for the new guy. I guess that’s why Wikipedia’s so helpful…they usually give a total beginner’s guide to the subject without the assumption that you already know what they’re talking about. But they fail sometimes too. Look up domain-driven design there and try to figure out what a domain is (assuming you’ve never heard it). (Domain, in this case, means “the activity or business of the user”.) But they just assume you know what it means and it may deflect the interest of a beginner before they’ve even begun. I used to like using the most concise word available even if it was scholarly. But now I think the point of language is to be understood no matter what the cost or number of words is. People in groups usually just nod their heads anyway, even if they don’t understand what’s being said. It’s politeness and the fear of being seen as stupid. So on the other side of the coin, I’ve come to enjoy asking the stupid questionsÂ…especially when “obvious” code words like this come into play. My point? Write and speak so that a sixth-grader or someone new to the language can understand you. If you have to use code words, explain them at least once. Especially do this for websites about an obscure topic. There’s nothing more annoying than going to THE website for a subject and being frustrated that you can’t even figure out what the subject is. (And then they make sure to hide any contact info so that you can’t tell them about the problem.)

2 thoughts on “Eschew obfuscation. Espouse elucidation.”

  1. I totally agree with you Nathan.
    I think a lot of people just do it because they think it makes them sound superior.

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