Stupid commentary in DISCOVER about jargon in journals

Robert Maas rem at shell.netmagic.net
Sat Dec 5 00:35:23 EST 1998


> Re: Stupid commentary in DISCOVER about jargon in journals
> Author:   H.V.Taylor
> Email: cbiei01 at uni-tuebingen.de
> Date: 1998/11/18
> Forums: bionet.cellbiol
> Message-ID:   <3652ad10.1808214 at newsserv.zdv.uni-tuebingen.de>

<<although I haven't read the original commentary, and as such cannot
judge it's content, I do know that it has become a quite common (and
lamentable) practice to use abbreviations in our publications which
are not contained in the corresponding abbreviation list. This makes
it unnecessarily difficult for colleagues in other fields as they
then, in order to  understand the article, must look up the
appropriate abbreviations.>>

I agree that's a problem. My quibble was that the commentator acted
unnecessarily lazy about guessing abbreviations from obvious clues in
the text of the abstract, bragging about he's a professional in that
field yet claiming to not have the slightest idea what some
abbreviation meant that I, a mere layman in that field, was able to
easily figure out from context. As a result of his feigned (or actual)
stupidity, he undermined the find point he was trying to make. The
cliche goes like this: "With friends like that, I don't need enemies."
I'm as annoyed with his poor example, undermining the valuable point,
as I am with NASA chief Golden over-stating the reasons for sending
people into space, thereby undermining the good reasons, and scientists
using lies to brainwash children in favor of science instead of
sticking to the truth which is good enough for the purpose, etc.



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