Just Another Stupid Acronym (JASA)

The acronym JASA was coined on Twitter by Stephen Hay in response to several tweets (posts) regarding a new Spice-Girl-association-inducing acronym POSH. JASA is also known as SPORTY. Other variations (three more) are currently in development.

The term “stupid” is really a mouthful, so we expanded upon it in order to make it shorter. Remembering “stupid” is hard, especially for the ultraintelligent geeks who use all of their thinking power to develop the modern internet using tons of complex technologies, so perhaps mnemonics can help. And basically, the consensus is that we don’t have enough acronyms in the web development industry. JASA as an initiative will hopefully promote the creation and use of even more acronyms. The ultimate goals are:

  • to confuse developers by introducing new but existing terms with their own associations and meaning for things which have existed and gone by a different name for years. We lend this trick from e.g. AJAX and the Hipster PDA (which means Index Cards With A Clip).
  • to get developers to eventually use these acronyms, even when they really hate them and don’t want to, but hey: peer pressure (the cool kids will start to use it), acronym and buzzword conferences, and cute little banners.
  • to promote quick implementation of new acronyms: think it up today, promote it tomorrow. These things don’t need thinking about. If you actually consider them before promoting them, they wouldn’t be stupid, right?
  • to create pages about our acronyms which use instead of to mark up the acronym itself.
  • to eventually sound like an alien race when communicating with each other.

These are noble goals, and will help distinguish us developers from the rest of the world. JASA has been used succesfully in government for years. There is simply no reason to lag behind.

###The JASA process
There is no process. Just do things as you always do. Only now it’s got a name. Oh, I mean a different name.

###JASA resources
The same resources you’ve always used.

###JASA bling for your blog
We are currently seeking volunteers to develop horrific eye-candy which will absolutely never complement any blog design. Oh, and we need one of those small RSS-like thingies. What are they called again? There’s no acronym.

17 thoughts on “Just Another Stupid Acronym (JASA)

  1. @Don: Thanks. I’m aware of Chris Messina’s explanation, which is a much better explanation than the one found on the POSH page. and I understand what a problem a plethora of useless Microformats proposals must be. I am simply not convinced that this acronym will solve that problem (or any problem, for that matter). Other options could have been explored, but we’ll probably be stuck with POSH. Plus, since the POSH page so adamantly pushes semantic HTML, I was more than surprised to find the POSH acronym itself marked up with ‘b’ tags when I visited the site. Perhaps someone with write privileges could edit that. (hint, hint!)

    @John: We’re still in the planning phase. ;-)

  2. Here here, Stephen!

    I don’t know what to think of the whole POSH thing. The whole Microformats movement is backed by really intelligent people with great vision, but I just could not believe it when I read about POSH. For the love of god, why? It’s almost as if they unleashed some crappy new media self-proclaimed marketing guru onto their problems and this is what they came up with… with the whole Web 2.0 hype you’d think someone would ensure it wouldn’t infect them either.

    I agree that this isn’t going to solve their problem. I fear POSH will only serve as a bin (and excuse) to easily reject proposals (regardless of them being useful or not).

  3. Well, you’re not alone in your reservations about the POSH acronym. Frankly, I don’t really care what the acronym is, as long as it starts a discussion, and I think, in that respect, it has.

    I talked to Molly (of molly.com) and my partner Tara about POSH at Mix ’07 — and both adamantly hated it. They support the goal, which is promote the superset of semantic patterns of which microformats is merely a member, but don’t like the elitist connotations of “posh” given the somewhat-haughty perception that the Microformats community already has. Though in passing they make a valid point, I do think that the value of having JASA to describe the larger concept of “semantic markup” is useful — and yes, more easy to market — and pronounce.

    That folks cried party-foul about AJAX in its early days suggests that we’re on to something, though I cringe at the need to have to invent yet another phrase simply to get the message out there. Nor would I have supported this effort if, after two years of development and the adoption of a process that derides the creation of new microformats, the primary activity of newcomers to the microformats community is to invent new, often unnecessary formats. Therefore we wanted to create a concept as *cool* as microformats are themselves, so that folks are equally incented to put their efforts into POSH as they are generating new microformats. Only over time will we see if POSH works.

    So, think of it what you will; your criticisms are duly appreciated. If you do have a better idea for how we could promote the idea of using valid “meaningful markup” to a wider audience, by all means, tell us! Better, add it to the wiki! After all, that’s the problem we’re looking to solve — not in JASA — it was a small number of us who got together and decided to move forward with POSH — simply for lack of anything better (and for getting something out there instead of waiting for a marketing quorum to proceed) — so all it takes is another small group of dedicated folks to come together with something that works to reach the same end game that we agreed on. If not POSH — whachoo got?

  4. 1.0 A definition of a word is how we would communicate without that word.

    1.1 What an acronym stands for is how we would get along without the acronym.

    2.0 “If not POSH — whachoo got?”


  5. I think YASA is more in line with Internet tradition.

    Better than POSH maybe “Semantic HTML Is Tidy”?

    or “Semantic HTML Is (the) Zenith Now In Trends”

  6. The bad: the wiki for posh lists people and resources as if they are totally on board with the idea. Are they? It certainly is a revisionist way of doing history.

    The good: It’s a really good question. How do you get folks to use valid, semantic, mark-up?

    @xian let’s bring out the rofl coptor

  7. People who latch on to buzzword acronyms are exactly the audience that needs to be spoonfed the idea of thinking about meaning in their markup.

  8. So, while POSH is an additional industry acronym and might be annoying, it might garner enough attention to improve the markup quality of folks who otherwise wouldn’t pay attention.

  9. @Chris: I’ll clarify. Anyone who knows me, my company and our work knows that I actively encourage and promote the use of semantic markup. Everyone I know in the industry uses the terms “semantic HTML” or “semantic markup”. It never occurred to me that the intelligent people who build the modern web would find “semantic markup” hard to say or hard to remember. Hard to understand? Maybe, because there aren’t specific rules. Semantic markup is meaningful, but meaningful to whom? And so there you have it: you say po-tay-to, I say po-tah-to. I understand that there is a problem there.

    You make the point of unnecessary Microformat proposals. That must be frustrating. I sympathize. I also see the problem there.

    My problem? The acronym itself. Yes, the actual word POSH. I have exactly the same problem with it that Molly had. (Apparently, Tantek explained it quite well to Molly, who has since changed her opinion.) Mostly the fact that the word “posh” itself implies unnecessary and even extravagant excess. It feels kind of laughable to me. My initial response was to laugh, and not take it seriously. And I decided to put on the black hat and poke some healthy fun at it.

    So to be clear: I support your goals. I will end up using and supporting POSH because I support what it stands for. I just don’t like this particular word representing one of my favorite concepts. I do, however, find it an intriguing idea to create a marketable term, if you will, which could better spread the concept of semantic markup.

    What have I got? Well, I’ve certainly got no interest in competing with very smart people whose work I admire and support. The marketing for POSH has already started. I think it would be pointless and silly to create two camps, when we all are on the same team. I will help advance the underlying goals of POSH in any way I can. And I respectfully reserve my right to poke fun at the acronym.

    I have an idea which you may find useful regarding the unnecessary Microformat proposals. I’ll mail you.

    @Barce: I’m not getting your first comment. As for the second, it is a good question.

    @xian: Point taken. It should’ve been YASA. Molly has called it YADA. It’s precisely this reason that I’m not willing to think up possible alternatives for POSH. Whatever the acronym, it will only be successful if there is only one.

    @Tim: I tend to agree. I don’t like it, but years in advertising have taught me that silly phrases, etc. can still have the desired effect.

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