[Asrg] Proposed corollary to Godwin's law

John Levine <johnl@taugh.com> Fri, 19 June 2009 10:05 UTC

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Date: 19 Jun 2009 10:06:04 -0000
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From: John Levine <johnl@taugh.com>
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Subject: [Asrg] Proposed corollary to Godwin's law
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>On thefreedictionary I read
>   Synonyms:  responsible, answerable, liable, accountable, amenable
>   These adjectives share the meaning obliged to answer, as for one's
>   actions, to an authority that may impose a penalty for failure.

I think that as soon as you start quoting the dictionary, you've lost
the argument.

In any technical field, one needs jargon as a shorthand to refer to
agreed concepts.  Some jargon words are made up (byte), but most are
normal words used in new ways (parser).  When you start quoting the
dictionary, you're arguing that some word has only its conventional
meaning, which is generally not true for any word used in a technical
context.  Words like responsible, accredit, certify, are evolving into
jargon, but we haven't yet come to consensus on what if any jargon
meaning they have.  The dictionary doesn't help, so leave it out of
this discussion, please.