Use Descriptive Titles When Starting Threads

Well that is the gospel according to Xash. And of course, it makes easier to decide which threads you may wish to read.

However, could we “encourage” posters to also include what acronyms actually stand for?

In this thread, the title refers to “NCAA” but no where in the post does it state what NCAA actually is. It may be very obvious to the author and indeed USA members but to others it is not.

I understood it was a canon of effective writing that in the first use an acronym is defined eg “National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA)” for the purposes of clarity. It is then just referred to as NCAA.

When I refer to the USA, do I need to first write “United States of America (USA)”? Because that’s effectively what you’re asking in regard to the NCAA. You might be unfamiliar with the term outside the US, but even that would surprise me. And if you don’t know, then the thread is going to be pretty meaningless to you.

Also, it took me to page 15 of a google search of “NCAA” before I found a link that wouldn’t give you a good idea of what it meant.

I find Wikipedia even more useful to explain obscure abbreviations. However, I do sympathise with the OP (original poster): if at least one third of your audience won’t understand an abbreviation, you should expand it at least once in your posting.

I see dear Munch has come back with the normal constructive reply.

if you wish to equate USA to NCAA, then feel free.

The term is unfamiliar in Australia. believe it or not, College sports of United States of America (USA) don’t get much airplay here.

And of course I could do a google search- as could anyone else who didn’t understand the term. However, if the term is presented up front it saves all us ignornat people from having to do that.


I’m not sure about demanding that people expand every acronym on first usage, but in the linked thread, it would have been nice for the OP to provide a link or some additional context to tell people WTF she was talking about. Not everyone reads sports news all the time. It’s really just a minor irritation, but it does bug me when people open threads to discuss some ongoing thing in the news, and just assume that everyone else is fully aware of that thing and doesn’t need any links or context.

And yes, I could easily Google “Jim Tressel NCAA” and find out what she’s talking about, but I feel like it’s sort of incumbent on the OP to throw us a bone and tell us what the hell she is referring to.

FYI, I looked at the New York Times website and found an article in the sports section about The Ohio State University issue, and the Times didn’t bother to expand NCAA on first mention either.

That I can understand given the coverage. If our paper mentioned RACW I wouldn’t expect them to enlarge.

To a US audience I wouldn’t feel the the need to explain NCAA. While not everyone knows what the acronym means exactly, the vast majority know that it relates to college sports. It’s a problem that the worldwide audience might not know that on first reference, but I think the bar would be set too low in the is case. Should we also spell out NBA, NFL, MLB, and NHL?

The place where you have a point IMO is that this thread was started in the BBQ Pit. If it had been in the Game Room I’d say you have no leg to stand on. In the Pit or IMHO, you might have a case, but again, I wouldn’t think to do so for NCAA.

Telemark, I understand what you are saying (I think) but I am not sure I agree with you that it is valid.

Because the term is so familiar (I understand) in the USA you seem to assume that all readers should be familiar with it when - especially within the Games Room.

I respectfully disagree. If I used the term “LBW” in the games room I could be confident that anyone in India, Pakistan, England or any cricket playing nation would be familiar with it. However, that does not extend to ALL the members of the board.

For that reason an initial (bad pun) indication of what it stands for would be useful.

You realize, of course, that spelling out NCAA is going to make for some awfully long thread titles? What you really want - and what the body of your post is actually calling for - is for people to post descriptive OPs, so you can figure out what they’re talking about with a mouseover.

So, Mr. Cicero, use a more descriptive thread title.

I thought this thread was going to be about the root canal thread titled “Be honest with me”.

Since there are so many current event threads and the NCAA thread was one of those, I think MsWhatsit’s suggestion of linking to a news article when making a thread is even more of an issue than an acronym, especially for those not living in the US. Googling from outside the US isn’t going to give results for a regional US news story.

“Wow, time flies” indeed.


Read my post again, but this time, try reading beyond the first sentence.



I use the Acronym Finder site a lot. It has never let me down.

This post looks really silly now that you’ve edited the one I was responding to. :mad:


Lousy Mother Fucking America Online?