Let's Make This Crystal Clear

@Raelove (17749)
Saco, Maine
December 14, 2015 9:30am CST
Quite a few years ago, a series of books came out that were entitled "Blah blah blah For Dummies." There was a book "For Dummies" that dealt with all kinds of topics, from computers to car repair. An adjunct to that is that some people who write online, be it in a blog or a social media site, write as if everyone who's reading their posts understands what they're talking about. The reality is that, many, including myself, are often "Dummies" when it comes to certain topics, acronyms, or what have you. One of the most important rules I learned as a newspaper reporter was "Never leave the reader guessing." And never assume that, because you know what something means, or what an acronym stands for, readers will, too. So clarity is crucial. And on many social media sites that are frequented by a global audience, it's even more important to be clear about certain things that might not be commonplace in all areas. I find I read posts here, too, wherein I'm left wondering, "OK, and what exactly is he (or she) talking about?" Clarity ensures that readers will continue to the end of the post. Otherwise, if they have to wrack their brains trying to figure it out, they might not. And I'm sure that the goal here as far as generating responses and comments goes is to be as interesting as we possibly can be, which means also not leaving anything to guesswork.
12 people like this
11 responses
@MALUSE (46016)
• Uzbekistan
14 Dec 15
Two things annoy me repeatedly: 1) Members mentioning things they've explained in a former post. Each post must be a stand alone one. If I'm expected to check former ones, I leave. 2) Abbreviations for insiders. This is an international site. I don't have to know American (or whatever) abbreviations.
3 people like this
@JudyEv (141761)
• Bunbury, Australia
15 Dec 15
I'll bear this in mind even more so. It's commonsense really that each post should stand alone. I don't some of mine don't but need a prop from an earlier post.
@celticeagle (121073)
• Boise, Idaho
14 Dec 15
I think that the second rule you mentioned(.And never assume that, because you know what something means, or what an acronym stands for, readers will, too. ) is a very important one. I think that you can tell a good journalist by the way they infuse all the needed info into a article. Clarity is important. I am sure going to try to remember this and make sure I make it a part of my posts going forward.
2 people like this
@Raelove (17749)
• Saco, Maine
14 Dec 15
Great. I wouldn't expect you, or anyone, to want to read my posts if they weren't clear. There are plenty of others that are, so wasting time on trying to decipher the meaning of one isn't fair to anyone else who took the time to write a decent one. It's OK to use a catchy title to get someone's interest. But then I feel like something's missing if I leave an important piece of information out. I love how life is just one long learning process!
1 person likes this
@celticeagle (121073)
• Boise, Idaho
14 Dec 15
@Raelove ....Me too! I think what it really boils down to is to proof read a post before posting it.
1 person likes this
@Raelove (17749)
• Saco, Maine
14 Dec 15
@celticeagle That's it. And I love the "edit" function here that we can use anytime, even after a post has been published. So there is no excuse whatsoever for major typos either in the titles or the posts themselves. We can edit at any time.
1 person likes this
@boiboing (12879)
• Northampton, England
14 Dec 15
I do get a bit frustrated when people seem to assume that we know their entire back-history and can identify every member of their extended family.
2 people like this
@Raelove (17749)
• Saco, Maine
14 Dec 15
So do I. And I'll just move on to a post that makes more sense to me.
@boiboing (12879)
• Northampton, England
14 Dec 15
@Raelove We are never under obligation to read, like or comment on stuff that doesn't make sense.
1 person likes this
@Raelove (17749)
• Saco, Maine
14 Dec 15
@boiboing No, we are not. But to those who want to make this work and earn a few dollars, it behooves them not to create "Mystery Posts." Otherwise, they're just defeating their own purpose.
• United States
15 Dec 15
I try to make myself clear, like in the post I am getting ready to write not many will understand the joke, so I will explain it. As for the "dummie" books, I have looked up "math for dummies" many times while taking my classes..lol
1 person likes this
@Raelove (17749)
• Saco, Maine
15 Dec 15
So do I. As for the "Math For Dummies," I could sure use that one. It is NOT my strong suit.
1 person likes this
• United States
15 Dec 15
@Raelove I hear you, I finally finished getting my associates degree in "Creative Writing" yet I had to take math. I tried the algebra path and was in tears more often than not, so thankfully they had another path I could take which was still hard, but at least doable.
1 person likes this
@Raelove (17749)
• Saco, Maine
15 Dec 15
@Carmelanirel2 Wow, the same thing happened to me in college! I failed algebra, so took Statistics 101, and barely passed that, but I did. And that's all that mattered to me, as I was pursuing a BA in English.
@BelleStarr (40244)
• United States
15 Dec 15
I am glad it isn't just me, sometimes I can't respond because I have no idea what they just said.
1 person likes this
@Raelove (17749)
• Saco, Maine
15 Dec 15
No, it's not just you.
1 person likes this
@JudyEv (141761)
• Bunbury, Australia
15 Dec 15
Sometimes it's hard to know if outsiders will know certain terms or not. @MALUSE has a good point about each post needing to be stand-alone. I would do well to remember it.
1 person likes this
@Raelove (17749)
• Saco, Maine
15 Dec 15
She's right. And if it is a continuation of a thought in another post, then we need to state that and briefly explain the original idea so others can pick up on it.
1 person likes this
@TheHorse (75076)
• Walnut Creek, California
14 Dec 15
Acronyms and esoteric terms can be my undoing. When people use them about finance or computers, I'm lost. When I use them when discussing stereos or guitars, I try to explain them.
1 person likes this
@Raelove (17749)
• Saco, Maine
15 Dec 15
That's right. So many areas have what I call "expert-speak" that only those in the know understand. When we use acronyms, such as PTA, we have to spell out what that means, as someone in India or Viet Nam might not get that it's a school parent-teacher organization. And they shouldn't have know that for the writer's convenience!
@LadyDuck (188663)
• Switzerland
14 Dec 15
No better timing for such a discussion. I just commented to someone that I was unable to understand what she was meaning. People write slang and they suppose that everybody understand.
1 person likes this
@Raelove (17749)
• Saco, Maine
15 Dec 15
What began this discussion for me was seeing a post in which someone stated that he/she started a new "acronym." I didn't feel that I should have to ask what that meant, so I scanned to see if I'd get it from the context. But no. Even that was too obtuse. So, I moved on to greener, or more comprehensible, pastures.
1 person likes this
@amadeo (78596)
• United States
14 Dec 15
Oh!I am doing my best.If I am not clear.Then let me know.Sometime I can get foggy.(kidding) You always been clear to me.
1 person likes this
@Raelove (17749)
• Saco, Maine
14 Dec 15
Thanks, Alfredo.
@marlina (80710)
• Canada
14 Dec 15
You are so right about being clear. There are way too many posts here where I can't figure out what they are talking about and it is not because I do not understand English.
1 person likes this
@Raelove (17749)
• Saco, Maine
14 Dec 15
That's right. In the case of other cultures, it is sometimes understandable. But those with a good command of English really should not assume we "get" what they're talking about. Acronyms are the worse for me. If I don't understand what an "xxxx" is, I will read more in the hopes that the context will clear it up. When that doesn't happen, I just don't continue to read.
• United States
14 Dec 15
In writing it is helpful to be clear and also concise in my mind. I do not like to write long winded anything. As long as it is understood by many people in all manner of places is my goal.
1 person likes this