IMO and IMHO are necessary

Often, if you say(type) something online that people reading it won't like they'll try to completely discount any validity of your statement by claiming that you're stating your opinion as fact. By adding "IMO" or "IMHO" to what you say, or "I think" (which usually makes it easier to read), you prevent that possibility.

I've noticed this in newsgroups about fandom of one thing or another - when people speculate about what's going to happen in the show/toy line/etc. next, and don't specifically say that it's their opinion or just speculation, it tends to come off as if they're foolishly sure that they "know" what's going to happen next, or are acting like they have inside information. People who write very directly and matter-of-factly often sound like they're stating their opinion as fact, and people who don't have a valid contradiction for someone else's point may use that as a invalid invalidation of the point, so to speak. IMO and IMHO can be valuable to remind people that what they're reading does not profess to be fact, and to prevent people from using cheap contradictions.

Of course, they can be overused. Personally, I don't think it's very good to use the abbreviations in anything longer than a paragraph. It's easier to read if you write out the full phrases, or use alternate terms. However, I think the abbreviations are appropriate and useful for short messages and posts, and do serve a purpose.

You know, "necessary" is really too strong a word. The title should probably be "IMO and IMHO are useful," but I wrote it right after reading "IMO and IMHO aren't necessary."

Also, they're only useful in a casual setting. So another better title would be "it is useful to mention that you're stating your opinion and not fact," but that's really long-winded.

Abbreviation for "In My Humble Opinion".

"in my honest opinion" is a latter-day misreading of this coinage. IMHO used as In my Humble opinion dates back to the earliest days of the internet. Just look at the Jargon file. It has the "humble" reading and no others.

Back when the net was new, and email and news were all there was, people found that in this new medium, their emotions got out of hand too easily, and discussions turned into all-out arguments. It was called flaming. Not much has changed.

At the root of the problem is the way that plain ascii text, quickly written and sent, has a very conversational style, and is read as if you where talking to a person. However there is so much that it doesn't convey, and so misreadings are easy. This is why we have developed ways to signal your non-verbal content. For instance fake-HTML tags are becoming popular: <sarcasm> this is in a different tone, in case you hadn't noticed </sarcasm>

I have never observed anyone misreading someone's opinion for a deliberate lie, i.e. for a dishonest opinion. In My Honest Opinion, even if it were the original coinage, would be completely unnecessary.

In fact, the reverse is true. It is easy to read the ascii text of a hesitant statement of current opinion as a high-handed command on The Truth (tm). It is all to easy to infer arrogance that is not there, i.e. to take a humble opinion for a arrogant commandment. It became common to avoid flames by writing "In my humble opinion, xyz sucks and abc rules", instead of just "zxy sucks and abc rules".

Hence, IMHO was born as an abbreviation for this phrase, followed shortly by IMNSHO (In my not-so-humble opinion) when speaking on a subject on which you know yourself to be an expert, and many other variations.

ill-behaved = I = Imminent Death Of The Net Predicted!

IMHO // abbrev.

[from SF fandom via Usenet; abbreviation for `In My Humble Opinion'] "IMHO, mixed-case C names should be avoided, as mistyping something in the wrong case can cause hard-to-detect errors -- and they look too Pascalish anyhow." Also seen in variant forms such as IMNSHO (In My Not-So-Humble Opinion) and IMAO (In My Arrogant Opinion).

--The Jargon File version 4.3.1, ed. ESR, autonoded by rescdsk.

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