Can we implement Markdown for abbreviations?

Related: Community-wiki of abbreviations

Can we implement a Markdown or plain HTML (Hypertext Markup Language) tag to give more meaning to abbreviations used in questions and answers? I think questions and answers would benefit if this information was readily and immediately available. I personally try to avoid using abbreviations if I can help it, but I completely understand its common use by others who are familiar with RPG (Role-playing Game) systems (see what I did there?).

In HTML, there already exists such a tag, and it is supported by search-engines as well for SEO (Search Engine Optimization) purposes:

<abbr title="This is the mouse tool-tip text.">abbreviation</abbr>


Examples:

<abbr title="Role-playing Game">RPG</abbr>
<abbr title="Dungeons & Dragons">D&D</abbr>
<abbr title="Non-Player Character">NPC</abbr>
<abbr title="Game Master">GM</abbr>
<abbr title="Pathfinder">PF</abbr>
<abbr title="All Flesh Must Be Eaten">AFMBE</abbr>


While some of these examples may seem trivial to most of us here, people will come here for our expertise and by speaking a large amount in abbreviations we obscure the message of our answers (and sometimes questions).

Instead of editing answers to 'expand' abbreviations to their full wording, I think leaving them as abbreviations with a mouse tool-tip will educate readers in a fast and concise way.

Abbreviations with this HTML tag usually look like a hyperlink, except the underline is dashed or dotted, instead of a solid line.

• Are you asking us to also have an abbreviation glossary, or are you asking posters to self-gloss? – Brian Ballsun-Stanton Apr 9 '14 at 7:55
• I'm asking posters of both questions and answers to try to either minimize usage of abbreviations, or mark them up so it becomes clear to those who are not familiar with them. I also think editors should consider this when improving questions and answers. I'm not suggesting we need a page with abbreviations and definitions, no. – Marc Dingena Apr 9 '14 at 7:57
• I actually had a lot of trouble with that when I first came to this site. Maybe not ones as obvious as "D&D", but "RAW" I had to Google. It was never a term my fellow players nor I had used. – Jason_c_o Apr 9 '14 at 9:06
• I suggested similar functionality for SEO purposes (dnd-4e isn't a great SEO match for Dungeons & Dragons Fourth Edition) here and on meta.SE back when we started and got roundly ignored. – mxyzplk Apr 9 '14 at 13:58
• @mxyzplk I actually saw that when I researched before posting this question, but it seemed to be focused on tags rather than in-post markup. Did I misunderstand? – Marc Dingena Apr 9 '14 at 14:26
• Yeah, but I think that's much more valuable anyway, but yes, different implementation, same idea (abbreviation expansion). Seems like tying it to a tag once and for all is easy. – mxyzplk Apr 9 '14 at 15:38
• @mxyzplk I can see how an abbreviated tag is almost always suitable in an answer, but -the other way around- I doubt all abbreviations should be turned into tags. – Marc Dingena Apr 9 '14 at 16:15

I would kinda like this, and it's crossed my mind several times that it'd be helpful.

We don't need to define GM or D&D or PF - if you don't understand what those mean, you'll pick it up from context. This isn't when I'd find it useful.

I would find it useful when I'm discussing one of the many 4e books. I don't want to write out Heroes of the Forgotten Kingdoms over and over, but when I'm discussing a dozen different terms, when I start writing HotFK, or just write that straight away, I'm not sure a less experienced user will get what I'm referring to.

It'd be really nice to be able to write [HotFK]("Heroes of the Forgotten Kingdoms") the first time I want to mention that book, thus they're introduced to the abbreviation and can mouse over it to see what it stands for. Thus I can just go ahead and use RC, PHB2, TEE, TPB, MOP, etc and just type each out in full once.

Of course the alternative is just to write:

In Heroes of the Forgotten Kingdoms (HotFK) you can (...) and HotFK is (...)

• As far as the exact Markdown goes, I think a WikiMedia style approach could work too: [FTP:File Transfer Protocol] – Marc Dingena Apr 9 '14 at 8:48
• +1 for just simply writing clearer posts. We don't need an abbr tag on every abbreviation as long as the post is well formatted and makes the usage clear early in the post, like in your last example. It would be really nice to be able to define them within the post using code as well, like you've described. – Jason_c_o Apr 9 '14 at 9:11

While it's not a bad idea in principle, the specific request is a bad one.

Role-playing Games Stack Exchange is for expert Q&A by and for players and gamemasters of tabletop role-playing games. If you play or run Dungeons & Dragons, Dogs in the Vineyard, Shadowrun, World of Darkness, FATE, or any of the thousands of other pen-and-paper RPGs (including LARPs), and need answers to your questions (or would like to answer questions about these games), this is the place for you.

Jargon is necessary for succinct and clear communications. Glossing all of our jargon, or requiring the glossing of our jargon would dilute our experience to define every abbreviation for the newcomers to the site. Mainly, it would unnecessarily alienate experts.

Comments or direct edits are a great way to require an individual participant to be more clear, but I think implementing abbreviations for this specific purpose is contrary to the intended audience of the site.

• I wouldn't go as far as saying that we require abbreviations to be glossed, but should we really be restricting the use of the existing and harmless <abbr> HTML tag? I think at least allowing the use of this HTML tag will grant experts who answer an additional layer of conveying information. – Marc Dingena Apr 9 '14 at 8:16