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Old 10-16-2013, 6:17 PM
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Default Abbreviations and the Word "Deprecated"

There are a lot of abbreviations used in the database, especially in the description of each channel and are not at all understandable. Some descriptions just mirror the tag, which, of course, has to be abbreviated. Where do these abbreviations come from? If someone finds out how a frequency is being used why do they enter abbreviations that are not understandable? The description column has enough space to have these abbreviations spelled out so there isn't a need for them.

People use too many abbreviations when writing posts, but at least we have the opportunity to ask them what the heck they mean. For the database we don't have this opportunity.

I have a bit of a problem with the use of the word "deprecated" as it is a computer science word. Although the word has some uses and definitions outside computer science it use is rare. I have seen several people try to use the word in posts and they misspell it with "depreciated" being the most frequent of these, and have even observed "decapitated!" The problem is not just the incorrect spelling, it is that so many people don't even know the definition of the word. I've seen the word "deprecated" misspelled in the database and if I didn't know the definition and proper use of the word, I would not be able to understand what is being conveyed. I Google search of the misspelled word does not result in the computer science definition of the word.

Deprecated really means "obsolete, don't use anymore." I had to look up the word when I first saw it as I had not seen it in my life up to that point. People who work in computer science have a language all their own and it is not one that is very well understood by people outside that profession. I have noticed that computer professionals often don't communicate very well, leading to those infamous software instructions that no one understands.

Why can't the word "obsolete" be used rather than the esoteric word "deprecated?" This is not a site of computer professionals trading tips.

Clear, easily interpreted words should be in use. Abbreviations and "deprecated" don't accomplish that.
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Old 10-16-2013, 7:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Exsmokey View Post
There are a lot of abbreviations used in the database, especially in the description of each channel and are not at all understandable. Some descriptions just mirror the tag, which, of course, has to be abbreviated. Where do these abbreviations come from? If someone finds out how a frequency is being used why do they enter abbreviations that are not understandable? The description column has enough space to have these abbreviations spelled out so there isn't a need for them.

People use too many abbreviations when writing posts, but at least we have the opportunity to ask them what the heck they mean. For the database we don't have this opportunity.

I have a bit of a problem with the use of the word "deprecated" as it is a computer science word. Although the word has some uses and definitions outside computer science it use is rare. I have seen several people try to use the word in posts and they misspell it with "depreciated" being the most frequent of these, and have even observed "decapitated!" The problem is not just the incorrect spelling, it is that so many people don't even know the definition of the word. I've seen the word "deprecated" misspelled in the database and if I didn't know the definition and proper use of the word, I would not be able to understand what is being conveyed. I Google search of the misspelled word does not result in the computer science definition of the word.

Deprecated really means "obsolete, don't use anymore." I had to look up the word when I first saw it as I had not seen it in my life up to that point. People who work in computer science have a language all their own and it is not one that is very well understood by people outside that profession. I have noticed that computer professionals often don't communicate very well, leading to those infamous software instructions that no one understands.

Why can't the word "obsolete" be used rather than the esoteric word "deprecated?" This is not a site of computer professionals trading tips.

Clear, easily interpreted words should be in use. Abbreviations and "deprecated" don't accomplish that.
I somewhat agree with this. Perhaps the term "expired" would be good. Coming from a CS / ECE background, I still consider deprecated a poor term for what it actually means in CS anyway. However, I do like the idea of people learning new words, too; for instance: how many people are about to look up "esoteric"? Haha

But yes, I think this would be a good place to start a healthy discussion on a term change. Again, I toss my vote in for expired (simply meaning invalid / out of date). Obsolete is good, too, however I have come across some terms labeled "deprecated" that are actually still in use (though in a very limited way, like emergency backup), which technically wouldn't make them obsolete by definition.

Just my $0.02.
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Old 10-16-2013, 7:12 PM
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Default "Deprecated"

I love "Deprecated".
Please keep it.
Try to work in "Porcine" too.
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Old 10-16-2013, 7:30 PM
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With regards to descriptions can you give an example of something you don't understand? The DB Admin guide has a standard set of abbreviations we are supposed to use.
Like it or not, abbreviations are nescessary due to scanners limiting the display field.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Exsmokey View Post
There are a lot of abbreviations used in the database, especially in the description of each channel and are not at all understandable. Some descriptions just mirror the tag, which, of course, has to be abbreviated. Where do these abbreviations come from? If someone finds out how a frequency is being used why do they enter abbreviations that are not understandable? The description column has enough space to have these abbreviations spelled out so there isn't a need for them.

People use too many abbreviations when writing posts, but at least we have the opportunity to ask them what the heck they mean. For the database we don't have this opportunity.

I have a bit of a problem with the use of the word "deprecated" as it is a computer science word. Although the word has some uses and definitions outside computer science it use is rare. I have seen several people try to use the word in posts and they misspell it with "depreciated" being the most frequent of these, and have even observed "decapitated!" The problem is not just the incorrect spelling, it is that so many people don't even know the definition of the word. I've seen the word "deprecated" misspelled in the database and if I didn't know the definition and proper use of the word, I would not be able to understand what is being conveyed. I Google search of the misspelled word does not result in the computer science definition of the word.

Deprecated really means "obsolete, don't use anymore." I had to look up the word when I first saw it as I had not seen it in my life up to that point. People who work in computer science have a language all their own and it is not one that is very well understood by people outside that profession. I have noticed that computer professionals often don't communicate very well, leading to those infamous software instructions that no one understands.

Why can't the word "obsolete" be used rather than the esoteric word "deprecated?" This is not a site of computer professionals trading tips.

Clear, easily interpreted words should be in use. Abbreviations and "deprecated" don't accomplish that.
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Old 10-16-2013, 9:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Exsmokey View Post
I have a bit of a problem with the use of the word "deprecated" as it is a computer science word. Although the word has some uses and definitions outside computer science it use is rare. I have seen several people try to use the word in posts and they misspell it with "depreciated" being the most frequent of these, and have even observed "decapitated!" The problem is not just the incorrect spelling, it is that so many people don't even know the definition of the word. I've seen the word "deprecated" misspelled in the database and if I didn't know the definition and proper use of the word, I would not be able to understand what is being conveyed. I Google search of the misspelled word does not result in the computer science definition of the word.

Deprecated really means "obsolete, don't use anymore." I had to look up the word when I first saw it as I had not seen it in my life up to that point. People who work in computer science have a language all their own and it is not one that is very well understood by people outside that profession. I have noticed that computer professionals often don't communicate very well, leading to those infamous software instructions that no one understands.

Why can't the word "obsolete" be used rather than the esoteric word "deprecated?" This is not a site of computer professionals trading tips.

Clear, easily interpreted words should be in use. Abbreviations and "deprecated" don't accomplish that.
Obsolete generally indicates that something is old, no longer in use, and should be avoided. Expired means out of date and no longer able to be used. Deprecated, on the other hand, indicates that something is old and while may still be in use should be moved away from when practical. Two very different concepts. Many of the frequencies flagged as deprecated are often still licensed and although may not be in regular use, are still in place as a back-up (or even as a back-up to a back-up).

One such example was demonstrated by the person giving me a tour of their EOC. Among the various radios in their racks were ones for their existing state-wide trunked system, ones for their recently discontinued VHF-Hi frequencies, and one old radio for their very old (but still licensed) VHF-Low frequency.

When I asked him about that radio he smiled and said it still worked but is only used on very rare occasions. I asked how often that was and he said "About once every other decade or so". He then admitted that he used to use that radio to play remote chess with his counterpart in an adjacent county up until that person retired a couple of years ago. He then chuckled and stated that it really wasn't used for playing, but in reality, the chess game was simply the situation they used for their twice weekly "tests of the backup radio system". He then showed me the logs to "prove it".
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Old 10-17-2013, 1:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KC2ZHY View Post
I somewhat agree with this. Perhaps the term "expired" would be good. Coming from a CS / ECE background, I still consider deprecated a poor term for what it actually means in CS anyway. However, I do like the idea of people learning new words, too; for instance: how many people are about to look up "esoteric"? Haha

But yes, I think this would be a good place to start a healthy discussion on a term change. Again, I toss my vote in for expired (simply meaning invalid / out of date). Obsolete is good, too, however I have come across some terms labeled "deprecated" that are actually still in use (though in a very limited way, like emergency backup), which technically wouldn't make them obsolete by definition.

Just my $0.02.
You come from a "CS / ECE" background? We are talking about abbreviations that are not clear. I don't have any idea of what "ECE" means and am guessing that "CS" means "computer science." I've received private messages from people who don't want to look stupid by asking in a post, so they ask me what some abbreviations mean. These are usually people who are new to the hobby or the site.

People who use abbreviations remind me of how difficult it is to speak with someone from the military. Somehow they think you know what their overwhelming number of abbreviations mean. "Well I was TDY, working in the OM on the CAS when the CO reminded me that the BOQ was full." At that point I usually stop them and say that if they really want me to know what they are saying they will have to repeat that in English. They usually look at me with a "you should know what I'm saying dummy" look of annoyance.

One should never assume that everyone knows what an abbreviations means. That is why the correct method of introducing an abbreviation is to write it in full, followed by the definition, for example, the Operations and Maintenance (O & M) staff at the Dallas Facility (DF) reports to the Assistant Chief of O & M (ACOM). Newspaper articles are written this way as are scientific papers. I've read some newspaper articles where someone edited out the abbreviation explanation, making the rest of it incomprehensible.

Some abbreviations are common, such as "HQ," "PD" and "FD." The problem with other abbreviations is you can't find the meaning with a Google search. Sometimes I don't have time to look them up so I just stop reading the post.

I have a background in science, worked in the forestry profession and for an agency that has its own lingo. When I gave campfire talks and spoke to groups such as at schools, in public meetings and the like, I had to remember who my audience was. I then adjusted my words to fit the audience. We have to keep in mind our audience, which consists of people from a large number of professions and job backgrounds as well as a lot of beginners, some who may not even have a Radio Reference account. The latter may be deciding whether they want to take up the hobby. If they get overwhelmed with abbreviations they might just conclude that they are not interested.
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Old 10-17-2013, 2:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Exsmokey View Post
There are a lot of abbreviations used in the database, especially in the description of each channel and are not at all understandable. Some descriptions just mirror the tag, which, of course, has to be abbreviated. Where do these abbreviations come from? If someone finds out how a frequency is being used why do they enter abbreviations that are not understandable? The description column has enough space to have these abbreviations spelled out so there isn't a need for them.

People use too many abbreviations when writing posts, but at least we have the opportunity to ask them what the heck they mean. For the database we don't have this opportunity.

I have a bit of a problem with the use of the word "deprecated" as it is a computer science word. Although the word has some uses and definitions outside computer science it use is rare. I have seen several people try to use the word in posts and they misspell it with "depreciated" being the most frequent of these, and have even observed "decapitated!" The problem is not just the incorrect spelling, it is that so many people don't even know the definition of the word. I've seen the word "deprecated" misspelled in the database and if I didn't know the definition and proper use of the word, I would not be able to understand what is being conveyed. I Google search of the misspelled word does not result in the computer science definition of the word.

Deprecated really means "obsolete, don't use anymore." I had to look up the word when I first saw it as I had not seen it in my life up to that point. People who work in computer science have a language all their own and it is not one that is very well understood by people outside that profession. I have noticed that computer professionals often don't communicate very well, leading to those infamous software instructions that no one understands.

Why can't the word "obsolete" be used rather than the esoteric word "deprecated?" This is not a site of computer professionals trading tips.

Clear, easily interpreted words should be in use. Abbreviations and "deprecated" don't accomplish that.
So you mean everything should be dumbed down? How about anyone who wonders what "deprecated" means type it in their Google or Yahoo bar. That's all it takes. RR then doesn't have to change anything and somebody learns something new. It's a win/win to keep "deprecated" in the database.

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Old 10-17-2013, 3:39 PM
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Quote:
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Obsolete generally indicates that something is old, no longer in use, and should be avoided. Expired means out of date and no longer able to be used. Deprecated, on the other hand, indicates that something is old and while may still be in use should be moved away from when practical. Two very different concepts. Many of the frequencies flagged as deprecated are often still licensed and although may not be in regular use, are still in place as a back-up (or even as a back-up to a back-up).

One such example was demonstrated by the person giving me a tour of their EOC. Among the various radios in their racks were ones for their existing state-wide trunked system, ones for their recently discontinued VHF-Hi frequencies, and one old radio for their very old (but still licensed) VHF-Low frequency.

When I asked him about that radio he smiled and said it still worked but is only used on very rare occasions. I asked how often that was and he said "About once every other decade or so". He then admitted that he used to use that radio to play remote chess with his counterpart in an adjacent county up until that person retired a couple of years ago. He then chuckled and stated that it really wasn't used for playing, but in reality, the chess game was simply the situation they used for their twice weekly "tests of the backup radio system". He then showed me the logs to "prove it".
The fine points of difference you are explaining are lost on me. Why? Because the dictionary definition of "deprecated" do not reflect what you are saying. The Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary defines the word to mean: 1) a archaic to pray against evil, b to seek to avert 2) to express disapproval of 3) a PLAY DOWN make little of, b BELITTLE, DISPARAGE.

The computer science (CS) definition is found only when an online search is done. The meaning in that context is then explained in Wikipedia as: "Deprecation is a status applied to a computer software feature, characteristic, or practice indicating it should be avoided, typically because of it being superseded." Again this definition is primarily known by those in the computer profession, not the public as a whole.

Here is an example from the forestry profession. A forester speaking to a group of people concerned with the management of forests might speak in professional terms, saying "the average DBH of the overstory is 39", with a range of 12" to 56." This results in a component in the overstory that is not of sawtimber size that has a 18" DBH minimum, but can be utilized for pulp or firewood, depending on the proximity of mills that can realize a profit from the full range of wood products." The forester will not communicate with the audience with those words. It would be better to say it this way, "the tallest trees are big enough in diameter to make lumber and nearby lumber mills to make money cutting them. With an average of 39", 4 x 4's, 6 x 6's and even larger can be made and those bigger posts sell for more, which more than makes up for the trees that are smaller than average. Trees smaller than 12" in diameter cannot be cut into lumber, even for 2 x 4's, and make a profit . Those trees can be used for pulpwood, the material that paper is made from, or be used for firewood if the demand for it exists in the local area. If a paper mill or the demand for firewood are too far away money can't be made because trucking the trees costs more than those products bring in.

The point of the example is that writing or speaking for the audience involved is necessary, and should not address just the profession of the writer. We are not all computer experts on the site. In fact, it took me a number of years on this website to figure out how to post pictures. The instructions are not clear and neither is the thread that explains it. Computer science people, on average, don't communicate well with those outside the profession. They often don't write software that is easy for a novice to use. The joke about Microsoft instructions involving a helicopter flying over Seattle applies to more than that company as evidenced by industry wide products. The definition you posted works for a person in the computer profession nicely as that term is used frequently in that field, but the audience here has probably never heard or read the word. I consider myself well read with a pretty good vocabulary and write as well as a person with my education should, am 62 years old, but I'd never run across "deprecated" before. When I did I avoided looking it up as I was in a hurry to get a large scanner program written so I brushed the task aside for awhile.

People in the electronics profession sometimes answer questions from those of us that aren't using terms common in that field. If I have time I will look up the definition, but that doesn't always result in the way the writer is using it.

A better term than "deprecated" needs to be used. I don't know if that should be "superseded," "no longer used," "licensed but rarely used or just "rarely used." Most of the time the licenses are either terminated or allowed to expire. When a write a file for my scanners I would look at rarely used (a term Gene Hughes used in his "Police Call" directories) and do one of the following. First, I may not put it in at all as there are higher priorities for memory space. If I'm not hearing everything I think is being used on an incident I will then do a limit search or use close call to find what is in use. I may look the agency up on the database and put any frequencies I don't have into the scanner. Second, if I have the memory space, I will include the rarely used frequencies when I'm on the computer, but lock them out. If I don't hear everything I think I should then I unlock them on the radio, an easier task than searching or entering them.

I miss the Police Call books. Those books and many local directories, especially the Scannerstuff directories were far more informative than our database. They not only contained far more information, it was easier to use. Those of us that understand radio systems and what pertinent information such as unit identifier systems need to keep working to improve both the database and the wiki.

I will relate an experience I had with a "computer type" I had when I first purchased my GRE-600s. I was a bit confused with the model's operation and called GRE America. I told the person there that when I wrote a program I was having difficulty with such and such. His reply was to ask if I was really writing code attempting to modify its operation and he was alarmed, telling me that such was not possible . To him a program is code that operates the device. To a scanner owner, as evidenced by the discussions on this website, a program is the list of frequencies one enters into the scanner. Now I often say "I'm writing a file" instead. That GRE America computer type was not speaking to his audience.
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Old 10-18-2013, 2:39 AM
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The word deprecated is appropriate for its application in the database. Don't understand a technical word and its out of your field of expertise? Look it up. I hate the dumbing down of things. Its only ONE word and its use is not detrimental to the usage of the database if you can't understand it.
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Old 10-18-2013, 2:48 PM
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Touching on the abbreviation issue...

The database administrator handbook is pretty clear that abbreviations are not to be used unless defined. See Section 6.1.3. The exception is the alpha tag field, which is where the standard abbreviations in Section 6.4.2 come in.
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Old 10-18-2013, 2:57 PM
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In our context "deprecated" means no longer used or its use has been removed. The usage is valid for our purposes.

An analogy would be a fire engine that has been permanently removed from service would be termed "deprecated".

Russell

Last edited by Russell; 10-18-2013 at 3:00 PM..
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Old 10-18-2013, 3:23 PM
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Default I agree over all about the word

"deprecated". It was a new word for me too, so I Googled it and learned a new word. No big deal. The use of abbreviated words/sentences, well that's life and I don't own this website, so I learn something new all the time. The site owner and the mods do a great job of keeping it together and letting us get information here.
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Old 10-19-2013, 12:40 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Exsmokey View Post
A better term than "deprecated" needs to be used.
Incorrect. Nothing needs to be changed simply because you don't agree with it.

There is no public outcry over the usage of the term deprecated, and you are clearly in the minority even in your own thread. The term has been used on this site for years, which means any change at this point could potentially impact any scanner software or other applications that query the database.

I'm sorry that you're an old fogey who would rather thumb through 30 year old copies of Police Call than adapt to the changing times, but we are in the 21st century now, in case you hadn't noticed. The entirety of this website exists solely in the online world, and thus is part and parcel with computer technology. The usage of a computer term is perfectly appropriate when used in the context of a database, which is the backbone of this site.

You now know what the term deprecated means with regard to the context it is used in the RRDB, which means you should have no further confusion about it. Railing against "computer types" is not going to help your cause, especially in light of the site owner's background in computer technology (yes, there is your "smoking gun" as far as why the term is used...Lindsay is one of them darn "computer types").


PS - You may've gotten somewhat better results if you weren't so verbose with your posts, and had simply suggested that the word "decommissioned" might be a better alternative.
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Old 10-19-2013, 3:15 AM
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The word "deprecated" is not defined in the Merriam Webster dictionary in the copy next to my desk. The Oxford English dictionary, considered by most as the definitive source source of English words, does not show the computer science definition of the the word. Some of the results of an online search show the computer science definition.

During my career I wrote brochures, text for maps, worked with book authors, worked in a visitor center, designed and installed signs, drove patrol, and gave presentations to a wide scope of audiences. My college degree required six units of technical/scientific writing. I received additional communications and writing training during my career. The statement "AVOID PROFESSIONAL JARGON" is used in all the training I listed.
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Old 10-19-2013, 12:45 PM
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Default Abbreviations and the Word "Deprecated"

Well that's the word we use as defined in the handbook. Perhaps this thread has run it's course.

Last edited by Russell; 10-19-2013 at 12:50 PM..
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Old 11-15-2013, 1:24 AM
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I've been having some health problems for about 10 months now and I'm quite fatigued, especially in the last month. I haven't had the energy to post lately. I've come across additional information I would like to share.
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Old 11-15-2013, 2:27 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Exsmokey View Post
I've been having some health problems for about 10 months now and I'm quite fatigued, especially in the last month. I haven't had the energy to post lately.
Sorry to hear that, and I hope you return to better health soon.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Exsmokey View Post
I've come across additional information I would like to share.
To what end? This thread has been beaten to death and effectively (and mercifully) ended a month ago. I understand you haven't posted much in that time, but the fact is that this topic has run its course. At a certain point you have to respect the fact that the people in charge of the website and database have made their decisions, and you move on.
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Old 11-16-2013, 12:00 AM
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Touching on the abbreviation issue...

The database administrator handbook is pretty clear that abbreviations are not to be used unless defined. See Section 6.1.3. The exception is the alpha tag field, which is where the standard abbreviations in Section 6.4.2 come in.
If the direction in 6.1.3 was followed I wouldn't have started this thread. As an employee of mine used to say, "there is many a slip twixt cup and lip."

A few examples:

Vandenberg Air Force Base (VBG) Scanner Frequencies and Radio Frequency Reference

Under "Airfield Operations," what does "ATIS" mean?

EDIT: The standard abbreviations listed in the handbook section 6.4.2 are helpful. I didn't know the list existed or the handbook either. Someone mentioned the handbook here and I had to Google it to find it. Such a list should be clearly and easily accessible when the database is accessed. I looked at the database for it and didn't find anything. Such a list should not be buried in a PDF document one has to Google to find.

http://www.radioreference.com/apps/db/?sid=361

This one is riddled with unexplained abbreviations.

Under "General Services Talkgroups," what does "STDNDS" mean?

Under "Harbor Talkgroups," what does "Polasur" mean?

Under "Information Technology Agency," the terms "CSC," "PTC-90," "SSVCS," "FS-1" and "EP-PSSS" completely confuse me. In these cases the tag is used again under description where there is plenty of room to describe what these terms mean.

Under "Public Works - Bureau of Sanitation Talkgroups:"

Hyperion Treatment Plant - WCC " "VAX DATA" and "RECY-SWM," what do those mean? Above the "Hyperion Treatment Plant - WCC" is an abbreviation "PROC," which I assume is "procurement," but how do I know? It seems weird that an office administrative function would have a radio talkgroup, so it would seem "PROC" means something else, but what?

Additional undefined abbreviations are used in the additional public works talkgroups below the Sanitation talkgroups. Again the tag abbreviations are copied over in the description column.

When I download a system like the LA Municipal Services trunked system and anything else I download, be it a trunked or conventional system I change nearly every tag when I write a file. This is not a complaint as everyone probably customizes the alpha tags to suit their own logic. However, it is difficult to come up with a new alpha tag when I don't understand what the frequency or talkgroups is used for due to undefined talkgroups. If there isn't any source available to explain the abbreviation then the words "use unknown" or "abbreviation definition unknown." Just listing "RECY-SWM" under both the tag and description does not follow the policy in the handbook section 6.1.3.

I could continue finding examples as they are all over the database. This database is responsible, along with the Wiki, for the demise of printed directories where the authors took the time to find out what these terms mean or explained that they could not. The channel plans shown in those directories and call sign information was far superior to most of the database and Wiki. We should have a database that is as helpful as the printed directories it usurped.

The Wiki is hard to navigate through also. I will start a thread in the Wiki topic to explain and list specific examples of how hard it is to find information.

I'm sorry to see administrators who get defensive and quote policy as if it is written in stone. The objective should be to communicate and disseminate information that is understandable to beginners as well as those with electrical engineering and computer science types. It sometimes appears as if the latter two are satisfied and are unwilling to make some suggested changes.
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Last edited by Exsmokey; 11-16-2013 at 12:10 AM.. Reason: added info and corrected link address for L.A. Municipal Services Trunked System
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Old 11-16-2013, 12:03 AM
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Most of these items could be added to the "Glossary".
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Old 11-16-2013, 12:32 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by W8RMH View Post
Most of these items could be added to the "Glossary".
The volume of undefined abbreviations is huge. Some of the terms are specific to a jurisdiction, a county or a state. The real solution is to have the abbreviation explained or not use abbreviations at all in the description column. People should not have to access the Wiki and look through an alphabetical list of terms, which would become tens of times more lengthy than it is now if all these abbreviations were put there.
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