I've been actively using a few StackExchange sites for some months now, and it seems common for some users (especially the more experienced ones) to use abbreviations in their questions, answers and comments. These go from AFAIK, which are known and used elsewhere, to others like OP and CW, which appear to be internal to the StackExchange network. Others appear to be internal to SFF (this site).

While most abbreviations might seem natural to experienced users and native English speakers, I think there should be a list of common abbreviations for everybody to read. In my opinion, this should not be a question in meta, but a part of the FAQ.

In any case, this question in English Language & Usage meta seems to be a good read (at least the part of the StackExchange abbreviations), but it would be good to have a list here.

The reason for this post is that somebody replied to a comment of mine and used a name or abbreviation I've never seen before (WOMBAT), so I couldn't really judge whether his reply was well-founded. I already knew what FYI means, but, as I said before, this might not be natural for people with English as a second language, just as OP is not natural for new users.

If your answer is "Just google it": Yes, I could waste a few minutes using a search engine, but it'd be way better if there was a list of abbreviations as part of SFF. Actually, it'd make it more self-contained, which can only be positive.

(...besides, a google search for "wombat" just shows a bunch of Australian marsupials)

I've seen OP used elsewhere, and I think it actually fits better on forums/discussion sites; here there is occasionally confusion as to whether it's the OP of the question or the answer (when used in comments on an answer). –  Kevin Feb 21 '12 at 16:37
@Janoma - you picked a really poor example, sorry. WOMBAT is an in-universe term from Harry Potter, and has nothing to do with your (otherwise very valid and good) question –  DVK Feb 22 '12 at 19:16
@DVK What do you mean by in-universe? I said "name or abbreviation" because I didn't know what WOMBAT was at all (or if it was an abbreviation). And it's a perfectly valid example, since I'm asking from general abbreviations of English expressions to abbreviations specific to StackExchange, Science Fiction & Fantasy and even to subtopics of this website. –  Janoma Feb 22 '12 at 19:22
@Janoma - I mean an abbreviation used by the author to be used in texts within the universe. WOMBAT is not a "common Engilsh" or "SE" or "SFF" abbreviation. It's an abbreviation invented by JK.Rowling to be used by her characters in the books or other HP materials. (and the reason your Google failed is because you didn't include "harry potter" in the query - if you did it's the first link) –  DVK Feb 22 '12 at 19:27
@DVK That's why I included abbreviations for "subtopics of this website", like Harry Potter. In any case, I don't remember reading "WOMBAT" in the books. Also, "in-universe" should have its own explanation, then, because I thought it referred to the books only, and not additional material. –  Janoma Feb 22 '12 at 20:30
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2 Answers 2

Please avoid using abbreviations, especially on the main site. The following list is meant to be helpful if you encounter an unfamiliar abbreviation. It does not constitute an invitation to use these abbreviations.

Common abbreviations

The following is a list of abbreviations common to the Internet, to Stack Exchange or to speculative fiction:

The Powers That Be can also refer to beings such as angels and gods that sometimes involve themselves in human affairs. ISTR that, in the TV show Angel, that there was some mention of such beings, perhaps in reference to the source of Cordelia's visions. –  Donald.McLean Mar 22 '12 at 18:47
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Harry Potter

  • AK - Avada Kedavra
  • COMC - Care of Magical Creatures
  • CoS - Chamber of Secrets (Book 2)
  • DA - Dumbledore's Army
  • DADA - Defence Against the Dark Arts
  • DEs - Death Eaters
  • DH - Deathly Hallows (Book 7)
  • DoM - Department of Mysteries
  • DP or TDP — the Daily Prophet
  • FBAWTFT - Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
  • GoF - Goblet of Fire (Book 4)
  • HBP - Half-Blood Prince (Book 6)
  • HP - Harry Potter
  • HoH - Head of House
  • HoM - History of Magic
  • JKR - J.K. Rowling
  • MoM - Ministry of/for Magic
  • N.E.W.T.s or NEWTs - Nastily Exhausting Wizarding Tests
  • O.W.L.s or OWLs - Ordinary Wizarding Levels
  • OotP - Order of the Phoenix (Book 5)
  • PS - Philosopher's Stone (Book 1, original British title)
  • PoA - Prisoner of Azkaban (Book 3)
  • QR - Quibbler Report
  • QTTA - Quidditch Through the Ages
  • RoR - Room of Requirement
  • S.P.E.W. or SPEW - Society for the Promotion of Elfish Welfare
  • SS - Sorcerer's Stone (Book 1, US title)
  • TBTB - Tales of Beedle the Bard
  • TBWL - the Boy Who Lived
  • TDP or DP - the Daily Prophet
  • TWT - Tri-wizard Tournament
  • The Chamber - The Chamber of Secrets
  • W.O.M.B.A.T.s or WOMBATS - Wizards' Ordinary Magic and Basic Aptitude Test
  • WW - Witch Weekly
  • WWN - Wizarding Wireless Network
  • WWW - Weasleys' Wizarding Wheezes
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