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Nathan Kallman
Nathan Kallman

Posted on • Originally published at on


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Just STAHP already!

S ome
T imes
A cronyms (and Abbreviations)
H urt
P roductivity


Before I rant too much, all right, yes. Some acronyms are OK and even helpful. Because (hopefully):

Acronyms (should) save effort in communication.

But whose effort? Communication requires the effort of two parties; senders and recipients (and for most conversations we obviously switch roles rapidly between sending and receiving texts/calls/etc.).

"Good" acronyms save effort from both the sender and the receiver. These are often well known acronyms like ASAP or KISS. They are quick to say; quick to write; and quickly understood because of how widespread and memorable they are (being memorable and not too specific makes them widely useable).

All acronyms save a minuscule amount of effort from the sender. But many drastically increase the effort of the receiver (as they mentally translate; or worse go dig through some archaic document of abbreviations; or costliest of all, ask someone the meaning). These are the "bad" ones that I'd like you to STAHP making up. Just remember when weighing the costs and benefits of your acronym, in business, most communication has more recipients than senders. So you should probably STAHP.

Acronyms (and Abbreviations) Hurt

Each acronym and abbreviation we use adds one more point of confusion and catching up for new members of our teams. After a while, new people nearly learn a whole new language of words in order to communicate with you. Not only that, but acronyms aren't unambiguous even in the same business. Imagine reading this in your email inbox:

PR repo ea Mon by ISO for REV to be uploaded to GH


What? Pull Requests repossessed each Month by the International Standards Organization for review will be in Github?

No, no, no. Obviously I'm telling you that the public relations report each Monday by the Internal Service Organization for Recruitment, Engagement, and Volunteerism will be uploaded to Greenhouse. Duh.

This example may be a bit over-contrived. But it also falls painfully close to the reality of corporate communication. I wonder how much time we waste each day explaining and decoding these acronyms instead of spending a fraction of a second to say what we mean (and mean what we say). So just STAHP.


I will accept some acronym use. But please, STAHP inventing new abbreviations and acronyms for every word you say! It usually wastes more time than it saves. This concludes my rant, thank you for reading (and STAHP'ing 😅).

Do you want someone to STAHP? Here's a markdown STAHP linked to this article for you to use:

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Top comments (5)

curiousdev profile image

I think it heavily depends on the context, but in general it is better to write it normal and not as an abbreviation, if you are not sure, if it will be understood by everybody.
With context I am for example referring to a team working together with a technology, for which we can expect shared understanding, like "CSS" should be known among Web Developers. You do not even need to know, what it would be normally written and can understand the meaning. Of course it is different, if you start to create your own abbrevations. This is similar to not putting some effort into writing chat messages, you know, like not writing properly and everything lower-case or mixed with upper-case.

kallmanation profile image
Nathan Kallman

Yep; some acronyms are good. Most (especially the ones someone makes up for themselves, as you said) are not good.

shriekdj profile image
Shrikant Dhayje

Just Chill Bro, Don't Stress Out too Much.

shriekdj profile image
Shrikant Dhayje

Just Chill Bro, Don't Take too Much Stress.

adam_cyclones profile image
Adam Crockett 🌀

ENGLISH it stands for

Non determistic

That's why acronyms exist 😂