Abbreviations are used to represent large or common words. They are space-saving techniques. They are effective only if the reader understands what the abbreviation stands for.

The very nature of the internet brings diverse people from around the world into your computer room. Slang and abbreviations should be avoided when writing nodes unless they are defined before they are used. If someone says they're at 296 B.C., does it mean they were transported back in time to the year 296 Before Christ, or does it mean they live in the 296 area code district of British Columbia? Most of the time people can guess from the context of the writeup, but that again makes the assumption that everyone reading your writeup is perfectly fluent in english. BC may mean Bueno Cucha to someone in Spain. Maybe they think you're a stud with 296 sexual conquests because you were not clear to readers in different cultures.

Try to use "common" abbreviations as little as possible.

Abbreviations can be used effectively if they are defined before the first use.


  • The Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP) is used to dynamically assign an address to the networking adapter in the computer. DHCP can also speed up the installion of many computers in a network because you do not have to manually enter an address for each unit.

    I first wrote out the complete term Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol, then I introduced the abbreviation DHCP. From this point forward, I can now use DHCP or the entire item spelled out interchangeably.

    I use this technique when writing up factual nodes here on Everything2 and when I write technical manuals. It is better to write out what you want to say than have your real message buried beneath frustration and confusion.

    If you have any suggestions for improving this node, please /msg Rancid_Pickle in the chatterbox.

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