What does FOUC stand for?

Jess Lee on February 05, 2019

I saw the below screen on my phone earlier and shared it with the team. It went away on refresh and I couldn't reproduce it, but wanted to check th... [Read Full]
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I feel that acronyms often have a tendency to hurt communication instead of helping. If it is not widely used, why create or perpetuate the use of acronym? I have seen cases where acronyms are the same or more syllables than the original phrase, why??

An acronym here and there might seem fine if it helps simplify communication (no one wants to say "HyperText Markup Language" all the time), but in workplaces it tends to build up over the years with company-specific lingo. Bringing in new developers on a project becomes that much more difficult because of all the terms they need to ask about or be ignorant to if they stay quiet about it. Acronyms do not only permeate spoken language, but they end up in the codebase. Not only does the new person have difficult challenges in meetings when these are used, but also when they are developing.

PBTAYAU (please be thoughtful about your acronym usage).


Reminds me of this memo Elon Musk sent out:

Acronyms Seriously Suck

There is a creeping tendency to use made up acronyms at SpaceX. Excessive use of made up acronyms is a significant impediment to communication and keeping communication good as we grow is incredibly important. Individually, a few acronyms here and there may not seem so bad, but if a thousand people are making these up, over time the result will be a huge glossary that we have to issue to new employees. No one can actually remember all these acronyms and people don't want to seem dumb in a meeting, so they just sit there in ignorance. This is particularly tough on new employees.

That needs to stop immediately or I will take drastic action - I have given enough warning over the years. Unless an acronym is approved by me, it should not enter the SpaceX glossary. If there is an existing acronym that cannot reasonably be justified, it should be eliminated, as I have requested in the past.

For example, there should be not "HTS" [horizontal test stand] or "VTS" [vertical test stand] designations for test stands. Those are particularly dumb, as they contain unnecessary words. A "stand" at our test site is obviously a test stand. VTS-3 is four syllables compared with "Tripod", which is two, so the bloody acronym version actually takes longer to say than the name!

The key test for an acronym is to ask whether it helps or hurts communication. An acronym that most engineers outside of SpaceX already know, such as GUI, is fine to use. It is also ok to make up a few acronyms/contractions every now and again, assuming I have approved them, e.g. MVac and M9 instead of Merlin 1C-Vacuum or Merlin 1C-Sea Level, but those need to be kept to a minimum.

That is awesome, I love his hidden joke in the subject line. 😂 I wouldn't expect Elon to get caught up in things like this, but it is good to know that big tech entrepreneurs encounter similar problems.


Jess you've been quietly petitioning for #todayigoogled and I agree. It's a great way to summarize any search you did in the most digestible way for the next person who might be Googling it.


Summarize your search findings so someone else can learn from your journey.

It's similar to #todayilearned but I really do see a bit of a differentiation around context and helpfulness.

But #todayilearned is another useful tag we could lean in to.


Summarize a concept that is new to you.

I agree with Jess about the whole "Google" thing. There are several search engines, DuckDuckGo being a huge one (the only one I use). With privacy being a big thing right now, we really don't want to reinforce Google's (illusion of) ubiquity.

How about #todayisearched, and just ALIAS #todayigoogled to that?


OH yeah. I forgot all about that one. I don't love #todayigoogled bc....I wish I was duckduckgo'in instead! I'm going to throw #TIL on as well.


Ah yes, the seconds until JS fixes what CSS couldn't do.

I'd say like "fouck", like "doubt" or "foul".

Besides I really like FOUC and FOUT (Text) and I'm sad that many websites hide all content until it's all perfectly in place. Unstyled content is still better than no content, and nobody will throw away their phone in disguist of overlapping icons.


TIG localhost by accident for the nth time...

TIL & #TIG would be really awesome to follow!


I think the main reason it's an acronym is to differentiate from FOUT and FOIT. I never have seen FOUC being used, however.


Hahaha, I read it like "poke" but with an F. It's a pretty wackadoodle acronym.


Initially, I read this as For Official Use Only (FOUO) and was confused. Too many acronyms, too many.


Just caught up on our Slack messages and then found this ✅✅✅

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