Use of jargon when posting questions

So as to not further hijack this thread, what is board policy/position/tradition of using jargon while posting questions on the Dope? This thread unfortunately was hijacked quite severely by responders complaining about the OP’s use of unnecessarily technical terms (I don’t happen to believe it was overly technical, but there was quite a pile on).

But here are 3 threads I found (all current in GQ) that lay on the jargon WAY thicker than the above thread, and not one response that I could see was chiding the OP for their use of technical jargon.

Experimental design question
Apple - BOOTCAMP drive disappeared, boot Windows from EFI Boot drive
Dumb Linux LAMP folder permissions question

Did the OP of the first thread violate some unwritten/obscure “code” that brought on the hate? FWIW, the “obscure” terms the OP used in the first thread (direct report, C-level) were defined very early in the thread, but at least half of over 100 responses are about how poorly the question was asked rather than any attempt to give an answer.

So, for my own edification in board etiquette, when is jargon OK and when is it verboten?

I have seen posters chide an OP for posing a question or making a statement that was not clear, either because of typos, bad grammar, or just poorly chosen words that didn’t effectively communicate the idea they wanted to get across. But this appears to be something different.

Anyway, very curious to hear responses, especially from those who participated in the pile on in the above referenced thread (Melchior, chappachula, elbows, as well as others). This is your chance to explain why the OP’s use of business talk was inappropriate.

Technical jargon is quite a different thing than corporate slang. One is clarifying (if you don’t know what it means, you probably don’t know the answer to the question) and the other distancing (you may know the answer but not the jargon).

Posters should tailor their posts to their audience. Inability to do that is a sign of something odd.

But there is no rule about it. Looks like people were deliberately feigning an inability to understand. That’s hardly uncommon here.

With the technical questions, the post probably makes more sense with the technical terms than without them. With the one in question, it would make more sense in plain English.

Exactly. The OP of the thread in question shows a complete lack of discretion.

Because the only thing dopers like more than beating you over the head with their ‘smartness’ is beating you over the head for your ‘smartness’. The OP of that thread did nothing wrong except expect people not to be jerks.

It should be the board’s real slogan: “If I don’t know it, it doesn’t exist or isn’t important.”

Yes. It was the assumption that his bizarre jargon was intelligible to the public at large. I suppose undertakers have their own jargon, but they sure as hell keep it to themselves.

Sure, the OP could have said “one of my employees whose performance and development I am personally and directly responsible for”, but chose to say “direct report” instead. IMO, saying simply that the person in question was his employee or subordinate (as suggested by some) does not adequately describe an important nuance of the situation. Why not use the word that was created to describe that specific relationship? I argue that NOT using the correct term may have led to advice that was not necessarily relevant or helpful.

When I read the 3 threads above, I can barely understand what the OP is asking. But rather than say to them “why don’t you say it in plain English”, I simply assume that if I don’t understand the terms used in the question, I probably don’t know the answer.

In addition, UNLIKE the technical POSTS, it was relatively easy to decipher the terms “direct report” and “c-level” from context, even if you didn’t know what they meant. (I call bullshit on those that said they work in corporate environments and never heard those terms…you haven’t been paying attention).

Not an expert, new here myself. So, YMMV.

My expectation would be if you’re asking for a consultation with others in your field, use language, jargon if you will, consistent with that field. Biz speak for business question. Technical terms for a computer question. Military terms for a military question.

In the thread you mention I thought the terms were appropriate by that definition. The OP wanted assistance on a business question from others likely to understand the ins and outs of his (or her) dilemma (others in business).

I didn’t understand the pile on, but the interwebs are like that. One second you’re having fun, the next second someone’s calling you an idiot and the fun’s over.

A handy rule of thumb is that if you don’t understand the question, they don’t want your answer.

Oh really? that’s hilarious, and wrong.

Speaking as one who had never heard the ridiculous terms before and so did not post in that thread, I would think the posting entirely appropriate on another forum, Business Manager Issues & Other Piddly Office Crap World. com say, but not on a mere generalist forum where it may as well be in Bulgarian since most normal people don’t utilize this jargon.


Yay for the Voice of Reason!:slight_smile:

Why? We have posts on knitting, supreme court opinions, whether Uwe Boll is a good director, whether an airplane can take off on a treadmill, how to set up a Windows boot drive on an Apple, whether masterbation requires confession according to the Catholic church, which brand of vodka is best, how to have a bra fitted, and anal bleaching - what makes a business discussion here inappropriate? What other topics are inappropriate here? Can you provide a list?

When I can’t follow the jargon on a thread on legal opinions, or in one where the M.D.s are talking about hormonal disorders or where a bunch of knitters are talking about dropping stitches - I assume that I am not an expert on the topic…I either ask for clarification, stop following the thread, or do the best I can to follow along, but don’t offer opinions since obviously there are people with more expertise in the thread. Why when we have a thread about business topics is the jargon of business suddenly inappropriate?

So are you saying the other 3 threads I linked to above ARE appropriate to this “generalist” forum? If so, why the difference?

jsgoddess could you elaborate on what you meant by clarifying vs distancing, maybe with some examples? Honestly, I don’t see how the terms used by this OP were distancing.

ETA: yeah, what Dangerosa said.

So don’t read it. There are dozens of threads that I don’t care about or are out of my area of expertise so I don’t get it. The issue is with me and not with the person who started the thread.

It’s not like we’re running out of electrons. People should post and the thread will live or die on its merits.

Well, I did try to figure it out, but wasn’t sure whether “direct report” would mean a person who reported to me, or the person to whom I reported. Then, with C-level, that seems to imply that there are A and B levels, which turned out not to be the case. I have no problem understanding the concept of a hierarchy, but I couldn’t tell who fit where from the context. I understood the problem once the terms were cleared up.

With the technical computer stuff, I can see right away that the terms are referring to things I have no clue about.

Anyway, I read the OP and was mildly annoyed to see that a situation that I thought I should understand was muddied by unfamiliar terms for fairly familiar things. I was kind of relieved to see that I wasn’t the only one. If things hadn’t been explained as quickly as they had, I might have Googled “direct report” and 'C-level."

Right- in that thread people asked, got a polite explanation and it should’ve ended there. Nothing wrong with googling an unfamiliar term or asking.

The difference is that most if those threads — most of which which I would carefully avoid reading — particularly on Uwe Boll or bleaching — are presented in grade-school english or worse, suited to my understanding. Technical terms such as frame-rates, kernel system calls, or GUIs are not jargon, even if I do not understand them because they refer to real understood things. Jargon terms may be necessary in the environment where they flourish, but if used outside the pond they simply confuse whilst attempting to impress. Which is part of the purpose.

I found the thread in question’s language odd and overly complicated. Direct report seems pretty straight forward to me; I currently am one, and have had them myself. But I’ve never heard of a “C-level” before, and it took a couple of readings to fathom even from context what that person’s relationship was to both the OP and their direct report. Like Silvorange, I thought it was a term of hierarchy but it’s not really.