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R U RLY NT A LWYR? PRVE IT! PPL MAY NT UNDRSTND SHRT ACRNYMS LIK DIS! IANAL, TINLA, I<3OS! AAMOF, N BTW, WHT M I DOIN? OMG WHT M I SYIN? WL, THX THX TQ FOR LSTNING!


Translated as...

Are you really not a lawyer? Prove it! People may not understand short acronyms, like this! I am not a lawyer, This is not legal advice, I love open source! As a matter of fact, and by the way, what am I doing? Oh my goodness, what am I saying? Well, thanks, thank you for listening!

Don't worry. I don't use short forms either. I just searched all that up on the internet.

How many of us easily understood the first part of this post? If you have to look closely, or double check, then it's a sign that the post is trouble.

Oddly enough, short forms in posts, have started becoming the norm. Acronyms, such as IANAL, and TINLA, are becoming more and more common. For new users to the site, seeing such acronyms can possibly be confusing for many users on the site, whether they asked the question you answered or not.

I get it. You don't want to be providing legal advice to strangers on the internet. And neither do I.

I'm not asking to remove those acronyms.

I'm simply asking that we use the long form: I am not a lawyer, and this is not legal advice.

If we write the longer form, and limit our use of acronyms, we will be able to create posts that are more professional and high quality (if not aesthetically pleasing too).

So can we do this? Thoughts?

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    As an aside, I'm also somewhat curious to knowing if this entire "legal advice" topic impacts your willingness to answer. If that is happening, then it would be great to find ways to mitigate that. – Zizouz212 Aug 18 '16 at 1:47
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    I've edited the title of this because it's just a little incomprehensible at the moment - while that does demonstrate your point perfectly, it's probably a good idea to have a comprehensible title and demonstrate your point in the post. – ArtOfCode Aug 18 '16 at 10:09
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    @ArtOfCode Perfectly cool with me. I think it's better than the original too :) – Zizouz212 Aug 18 '16 at 16:56
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    My thoughts: excessively using acronyms doesn't help, but sometimes internet users are best served by learning the most common internet acronyms. It is extremely easy to find out what they mean. IANAL is a useless statement anyway. If you don't want the acronym then it's better not to say it at all. – curiousdannii Aug 20 '16 at 15:31
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    @ArtOfCode Well, this got out to a lot of people :P – Zizouz212 Aug 31 '16 at 1:07
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I think we could even go further: could the opening page of the board simply say that none of the questions, answers or comments should be considered as legal advice even if they may look like it. And that we are not a lawyers, and even if some are, they are not your lawyer, and this is not legal advice. And explain in the help that IANAL/TINAL are not needed at all.

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    When you mean opening page of the board, are you expecting something a notice on the front page? A section on the tour? A section in the help center? – Zizouz212 Sep 7 '16 at 21:23
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    @Ziz the Law site has a notice in the top right of the page. It could be appropriate to have here. – curiousdannii Sep 8 '16 at 3:57
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    yep, something like on Law would be great and may cut some of the INAL/TINAL crap – Philippe Ombredanne Sep 8 '16 at 8:53
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Personally I like it the way it is.

I'd like to keep the acronyms, because although they may require some research the first time a reader encounters them, once I'm used to it I can read IANAL or TINLA more quickly than the spelled-out form. Just like TANSTAAFL or RSVP or DRY each describe a common phrase which is readily understood in certain circles, and which can avoid considerable repetition (i.e. make the writing more DRY, if you want) for both writer and readers than spelling them out each time you encounter them.

Contrary to Philippe, I'd also vote to keep the notice in the posts, because although we might well add a global disclaimer somewhere, many people will not keep it in mind while reading and thinking about posts. Furthermore, the exact placement of the acronym (or phrase) may cause it to affect one paragraph in particular. If you decide to avoid these phrases in posts, people will simply use some other phrase to indicate that they don't trust a particular statement to hold up in court.

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