Worldbuilding is an amalgamation of dozens of topics, geared toward building fictional worlds using expertise that pertains to those topics. Usually, this system runs smoothly. However, sometimes questions don't just call for expertise - they're worded so that only a true expert can understand them.

Many of us recognize some of the above words / phrases, but few of us know all of them. When they aren't explained, or even linked to, in the question, answering can be nightmarish.

Most of the time, users most qualified to answer will be able to understand the question, but there is always a risk that good answers will be lost after someone is alienated - only because of vocabulary.

What is the best way to handle these questions?

I feel like it's inappropriate to VTC as "unclear what you're asking" because a quick Google search can explain the question, yet these questions are also unnecessarily difficult to answer only because of how they're worded.

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    $\begingroup$ I'd say you can edit the question to add wikipedia links to the concepts introduced. If those concepts don't have a wikipedia page, they probably should be asking on a forum dedicated to the science in question. $\endgroup$
    – PatJ
    Feb 22, 2017 at 7:37

2 Answers 2


I don't see this as being a problem. It would be nice to ask in "laymans terms" where possible. Editing in explanations or links to such a question isn't a bad idea.

However, if the asker has a specific technical question asked in the correct technical language then they most likely need a specific technical answer. In that case it's actually a good thing that people not familiar with the jargon can't attempt a (probably wrong) answer.

Yes it will reduce the number of people for whom that Q&A is readable, but it may also make it more useful for those people who do understand it.

In other words using Jargon/Long Words/etc for the sake of it should be discouraged. We don't need any elitist cliques or special languages people need to learn to fit in here. However where they are useful and relevant they should be used.

It's exactly the same as hard maths and long formula in a Q&A. You don't want it in every case, but you should not discourage it where they are needed.

  • $\begingroup$ I disagree and agree. The premise that, at least one of people who responded to "Iron deficiency Anemia due to illness, Management?" is that they needed a "creative" answer and if that's the case then they need to break it down, likewise if you can't break it down for normal people to understand it you don't understand it yourself in most situations and the process of doing so is also helpful. On the other hand there is nothing wrong with Jargon so long as it is appropriate in it's use and doesn't start making it less understandable to the audience, $\endgroup$
    – Durakken
    Feb 22, 2017 at 14:07
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    $\begingroup$ We have a similar situation on Mi Yodeya, where some types of questions inherently require specialized vocabulary. We try to edit to add (not replace) translations where feasible, but the convention that's arisen is: the question should be clear to (at least) anybody with enough knowledge to understand answers. So, the more specialized the question, the less you have to translate everything, though to the extent that we can we try to, to increase general access to the Internet at large. $\endgroup$ Feb 22, 2017 at 21:56
  • $\begingroup$ The mantra that Meta has repeated incessantly the last four weeks: do not be afraid to edit the question to improve it. $\endgroup$
    – SRM
    Feb 24, 2017 at 6:46

As a standard rule when using an acronym for the first time it should look like this example: Once upon a time the president knew what the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) was.

At that point you have introduced the acronym and people can find it in the question.

For vocabulary issues I would say don't use big words just to sound smart, making your content understandable and useful is far more valuable than obscure unnecessary language.

I can see your argument for closing but disagree that it would be a valuable way to do things. A better response would be to comment and potentially edit if you can add clarity.


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