Should we discourage the use of argot such as AmE and BrE—even ELU—[added:] in answers to nonspecialists' questions at ELU?
Most visitors who find answers here come from a browser search
and have no idea what AmE or BrE
, nor should they be expected to guess.
Insider abbreviations encrypt the information that we hopefully provide to a more general audience.
Is it too much trouble to spell out “American English” and “British English”?
Some answers to nontechnical questions use technical abbreviations such as AmE and BrE (recent example, where the question does not use the term AmE yet the answer uses both AmE and American English without indicating that they are the same)
With a deep interest in language, I already understood the meaning of AmE
As a technical editor, I imagined a less-ensconced perspective that seems more usual among questioners at ELU
[No longer completely true:] Found unrelated answers at ELU and its Help Center for “what is AmE” or just “AmE” (with or without capitals, as with the searches below)
[Now true:] Found a useful answer at Is there a difference between British English phrases and American phrases? by searching ELU for “what is AmE” and noticing that the match's listing included “... American English (AmE) ...”
Found nonanswers at onelook.com, some answers at specific dictionary sites
Wikipedia redirects “AmE” to “American English,” which doesn't mention AmE per se
Found a barrage of extraneous matches in web searches for “AmE” and “AmE English” that overshadowed a match with a terse definition
A web search for “AmE English language” at last led to some useful web pages, though only one of many that I viewed both has “AmE” in its title and actually spells out AmE in its content
Good answers and references!
Guess I'll sporadically add specific comments to ELU answers that might overmatch their questions technically. See how that goes. Wanted to pose the question here first.
Probably not news but just for the record, the standard in technical writing is to introduce an abbreviation parenthetically or as a link when there is any doubt that a reader will understand it precisely and readily. (I often encourage an author to present a concise table of terms early in their article.)