Although “jdn. heiraten” vs. “sich mit jdm. verheiraten” is perfectly readable and more space-efficient I'd consider it not accessible and definitely not good for search engines.

Shouldn't we edit out abbreviations to the long form?

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    In meta, downvoting means 'I disagree'. At lesat I learned so on other SE-sites. Jun 4, 2011 at 5:03
  • yeah thanks for that @user unknown, prob is that I have asked two questions (one in the title, one at the end of the post) which if answered yes say the exact opposite of the other. So your vote can't be counted ^^ Jun 4, 2011 at 5:16
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    Well, maybe you like to clarify, what your wish is. I read it, as if, in the end, you suggest to edit out abbreviations. Jun 4, 2011 at 5:45
  • I didn't suggest a thing, I asked for oppinion. I thought about it and didn't had mine finished but wanted to hear your arguments. Jun 4, 2011 at 10:44

2 Answers 2


We can recommend not to use abbreviations, but I'm against enforcing not to use them.

Man sollte weder sich noch anderen unnötige Arbeit aufhalsen

Opps. Searching for “jdn. heiraten” vs. “sich mit jdm. verheiraten” in Google brought up 4 different links to german.stackexchange.com "jdn. heiraten" vs. "sich mit jdm. verheiraten"

Seems that the search engines are not following your argument.

And in the end the we in

Shouldn't we edit out abbreviations to the long form?

means that at first hand the elected moderators, which we get in a few month will have to do so. And that will be unpaid volunteers like you and me. Let them focus on real problems.


I admit, that when searching, I rarely use abbreviations.

I I just tried some expanded searches like

jemanden heiraten vs. sich mit jemanden verheiraten 

and I had no high rank linguistic link. Conclusion would be to keep abbreviations and to use them in search queries.

@Samuel Herzog Your intension is good. But I think we better check that it works that way.

Damit der Schuss nicht nach hinten losgeht.
  • we means everybody with edit rights. plus you can edit anytime a mod or someone with mod rights (2k rep atm) just needs to accept the edit. thats not a great deal. Jun 2, 2011 at 19:11
  • +1. I don't think that it would be worth the effort. There's no evidence that the majority expand the abbreviations.
    – Tim
    Jun 2, 2011 at 22:38
  • you didnt get my point @bernd_k, if you look at the google fight of the two diferent titles (with abbrevations against without abbrevations) you see theres a clear difference between the found results. only two results are equal on the first page for google.at, but they're on different positions. We are a platform which should also assist non-natives who can't know these abbrevations and can't google them. Jun 4, 2011 at 5:14
  • I generally you are right, but I think these special abbreviations are used in all dictionaries and a serious learner will know them.
    – bernd_k
    Jun 4, 2011 at 6:48

A problem with your example was, that it used the wrong abbrevation, which made it a bad example. I read it as '“jeden heiraten” vs. “sich mit jedermann verheiraten”' (which made not much sense).

I corrected the question yesterday, to '“jmd. heiraten” vs. “sich mit jmd. verheiraten”' which is, afaik, the correct abbrevation, and was excepted by some reviewer.

To measure it with google, I guess you would need something to compare to. Abbrevations can give you the opportunity to use more space of the headline for other things.

I would say they are ok, but maybe in the example, where they stand for the central point of the question, not optimal.

  • misunderstanding of abbrevations on a platform were at least a big minority is non-native may be an additional point towards saying it would be wiser to not use them except maybe the most known. Jun 4, 2011 at 5:09
  • If you don't make the mistake, you will not learn. Now the questioner made the mistake, and was corrected, so he had the opportunity to learn something, didn't he? Jun 4, 2011 at 5:14
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    yes he did. And what about the 70% of SO/SE visitors who find questions by googling? if they don't know the mistake they can't make it, never hit us and can't be ever corrected. Jun 4, 2011 at 5:17
  • I don'T understand. You can search via google for 'jmd. heiraten' and 'jemanden heiraten'. If you search for the abbrevation, you won't find the full word and vice versa. If you misspell the search you will find misspelled questions - abbrevated or not. Jun 4, 2011 at 5:42
  • there are more people around the world who know the full word than the abbrevation. simply because learners learn the word first and then the abbrevation. so you're easier to find for the majority if you don't use abbrevations. also there can be different abbrevations for the same word further minimizing the stake of searchers who find you. if you find nothing matching the first thing to do is replacing abbrevations with full words. full words give better search results. Jun 4, 2011 at 7:02
  • No, there aren't different abbreviations for the same thing, not that I know. But there are different words for the same thing. Trying to simplify anything will be an endless job, and full of speculation. And if I look into my dictionary, it is full of abbreviations. Jun 4, 2011 at 12:37
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    How are jemanden/jemanden abbreviated There are. Jun 4, 2011 at 18:54
  • Yes. You're right, to my big surprise. I even went to my library and opened my Langenscheid to verify: j-m. How can that be? Note: I don't trust dict.cc and didn't find the abbrev. at dict.leo.org. I'm frustrated. And a little bit sorry. ;) Jun 4, 2011 at 19:24
  • Np, I weren't sure myself til this nice question :) Jun 4, 2011 at 19:35

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