Use of acronyms in the forum

Jaxon Technical Support Specialist Stafford Heights, Australia Posted   Latest  

Hello folks, I ask in the interest of reducing confusion that a standard acronym protocol be used in these forums. 

Generally, acronyms are used to reduced typing, and as such are introduced at first use, with high lights for clarity. 


"A good Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) is to use an acronym introduction. Other good SOP 's include correct use of punctuation and grammar."

Thank you all, and best wishes for this new year.

Allan Instructor
Winnipeg, Manitoba

I hate acronyms but when I do use them, typically to reduce typing as you said, I will do exactly what you did, use the full worded version then use the acronym after that. What I really don’t like about acronyms is that there are so many that have different meanings. It can be very confusing at times. We have many standards within this industry, why not a standard acronym protocol? I know we’re not going to stop using them so why not at least try to standardize the ones we often use? 

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Jaxon Technical Support Specialist
Stafford Heights, Australia

Hi Allan, thank you for your response. 

I find often the greatest problems arise form miss-understanding. 

Well, That's Fantastic (WTF) That Someone Else (TSE) Wants To Help (WTH) 

Perhaps the path forward is using an acronym introduction, as discussed. 

Does anyone else have input?


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Leo Technician
Rhinebeck, New York

While I applaud the suggestion, I feel like it would be a tough thing to pull off. Every manufacturer seems to use a different acronym for stability control, for example. Heck, Subaru can’t even decide on one for the engine computer- if you’re a tech, it’s an ECM, if you’re a parts salesman, it’s an EGI. 

I’d say, use your judgement as to which ones are fairly easily recognized: ECM/PCM, ABS, etc, and use them. Anything that falls outside the “obvious” category, go with Allan’s suggestion of typing the full term before abbreviating it. 

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Noah Technician
Methuen, Massachusetts

I think it comes down to literacy at the end of the day. Personally, I always spell out, With Capital Letters, (WCL), the full wording of the acronym I intend to use before adding it to the body of anything I write.

I do it with the understanding that it helps to convey my thought process to anyone reading along. 

I know many intelligent technicians whose command of the written word is not as great as their mechanical apptitude, but that doesn't make their posts any less valid, just harder to read.

I fully support your idea, but I don't think that everyone is playing with the same deck of cards in that regard.

A happy and prosperous new year to you as well,


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Jaime Diagnostician
Ocala, Florida

Jaxon, we were cut from the same cloth regarding acronyms. If you ever read my technical articles published in Motor Age magazine, you'll see I try to strictly adhere to those instructions. The rare variance may occur when I'm limited by space constraints yet feel what must be printed is of utmost importance (and the acronym is one that SHOULD be understood by all, like "DTC" or something).

The youth seem to be most often the ones using acronyms without a defining first explanation. That's JMHO. (Laughing hysterically, of course).

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Bob Owner/Technician
East Longmeadow, Massachusetts

"The youth seem to be most often the ones using acronyms without a defining first explanation. That's JMHO. (Laughing hysterically, of course)."

I think you meant to say LOL

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Jaime Diagnostician
Ocala, Florida

Bob, I recently learned that there are THREE separate meanings of lol - depending on which letters are capitalized. Do you think I can remember them??? LOL.

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Matthew Owner/Technician
Beecher, Illinois

I would agree that what you suggested is best practice, regardless of the industry or setting. As an educator I have had to learn to not make assumptions. This has taken time, and I am far from perfect. I think a tech may type out a post and not think twice about the acronym they used. It may be a component that they work on often, or when posted they have been thinking about the acronym in their head for quite some time. 

I think it could be argued that even further explanation could be helpful. For instance, someone could say Smart Junction Block (SJB). What does that mean to a tech that does not deal with Ford? So beyond spelling out the acronym a short explanation about what that particular module does in this example could be helpful too. 

I think these are good practices we can encourage, but it will never be perfect. 

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