Metafilter, FOR SCIENCE August 3, 2016 5:32 PM   Subscribe

My abstract for an article about AskMe has been accepted at a conference!

To wit, the 2016 Law via the Internet Conference. I'm going through old posts on AskMe and looking at how people look for answers to legal questions and the use of acronyms like IANAL, YANML, and so on. The abstract is here (let me know if you're not able to access it).

I haven't actually written the thing yet. I still haven't gone through all the old posts--I'm still in 2009 I believe. That will be the most time-consuming part. I would welcome your thoughts! Also, if anyone is in the neighborhood we should definitely have an IRL meetup!
posted by orrnyereg to MetaFilter-Related at 5:32 PM (29 comments total) 22 users marked this as a favorite

posted by grouse at 6:28 PM on August 3, 2016

Very cool! The abstract looks very interesting!

Best of luck!

(Sorry, I have no thoughts about how to make your process easier...)
posted by danabanana at 6:45 PM on August 3, 2016

Oh neat, that sounds like a really interesting project; I look forward to hearing more about it!
posted by cortex (staff) at 6:58 PM on August 3, 2016 [1 favorite]

Awesome! Good luck!
posted by teponaztli at 7:03 PM on August 3, 2016

Congratulations! That's exciting, and your abstract looks very interesting!
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 8:36 PM on August 3, 2016

posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 10:10 PM on August 3, 2016

I can't read the abstract, boo. I get a message saying it's set to private.
posted by Superplin at 10:39 PM on August 3, 2016

You can safely filter out all my IANAL questions -- I thought it meant something entirely different until we had that meetup.
posted by pracowity at 11:36 PM on August 3, 2016 [10 favorites]

You can safely filter out all my IANAL questions -- I thought it meant something entirely different until we had that meetup.

Ditto. When new on MetaFilter, I thought it was a crude self-deprecating in-joke thing for a short time before realizing it was an acronym.
posted by Wordshore at 11:45 PM on August 3, 2016

As someone who keeps at least two copies of the infodump on hand at most times, this project makes me smile.
posted by frimble (staff) at 12:21 AM on August 4, 2016 [3 favorites]

posted by infini at 12:32 AM on August 4, 2016

I would *love* to see a list of the most popular areas of law / types of legal questions (custody; tenants' rights; neighbor noise; etc.) and how successfully they are addressed here.. I know that's not what your paper is about, but if you end up compiling a list like that, I hope you'll let us know! Maybe it could inform the wiki somehow...
posted by amtho at 5:54 AM on August 4, 2016 [1 favorite]

Congratulations! That looks like a really interesting paper/article and I'd really like to read it after you've presented it.
posted by hollygoheavy at 8:22 AM on August 4, 2016

That looks very interesting. I've wondered about the use of those acronyms too. It's fascinating that they seem to be used fairly consistently to me, but I could be way off so it'd be interesting to see what you come up with. Now I'm wondering what people thought IANAL meant before learning the acronym. I had to look it up the first time I came across it, but I don't know what I'd assume it means without looking.
posted by Clinging to the Wreckage at 10:54 AM on August 4, 2016

I also say NEAT!
posted by crush-onastick at 11:08 AM on August 4, 2016

Oh, that's so cool! Congratulations!
posted by zarq at 12:08 PM on August 4, 2016

This is pretty cool -- I look forward to reading the full paper!
posted by sparklemotion at 1:49 PM on August 4, 2016

From the footnotes:
Strictly speaking, the terms used in this paper are alphabetisms rather than acronyms. Acronyms and alphabetisms both arise from the first letter of each of a series of words; acronyms are those sets of initialisms capable of being pronounced as a word. Thus, NATO is an acronym and EU is an alphabetism.
It's like you've seen into my heart and are writing this just for me.
posted by Joe in Australia at 2:13 PM on August 4, 2016 [14 favorites]

I do read those as words like NATO though. I can't be the only one? The way I know things are reads as letters like EU is mainly from hearing people say it. I don't think I've ever heard IANAL and the others said out loud.
posted by Clinging to the Wreckage at 2:25 PM on August 4, 2016

I really want to hear how you say "IANAL" out loud.
posted by sparklemotion at 2:28 PM on August 4, 2016 [4 favorites]

meee faaaiiiii
posted by infini at 2:47 PM on August 4, 2016 [7 favorites]

I don't normally say it but in my head it's basically "I annul". That's the sound of the first letters when said as words. I-uh-null might be closer. I'm bad with phoenetic spellings. I asked here and was told you can't say it because it'd be "I anal" but that's just not how it's spelled or the sounds of the start of the words. The only reason it would be anal is because haha anal.
posted by Clinging to the Wreckage at 2:48 PM on August 4, 2016 [3 favorites]

The here in "I asked here" is my office, not MeFi. I realize that wasn't clear.
posted by Clinging to the Wreckage at 2:58 PM on August 4, 2016 [1 favorite]

Given how few words in the english language start with IA (the only ones on this page I was previously familar with seem to be forms of iamb), it's more natural to me to look at the abbreviation and see if I can break it into words.

So, it's not just I ANAL because haha anal, it's I ANAL because that's what my brain naturally does with it. Which is part of why I don't think that IANAL can be said out loud as easily as, say, WYSIWYG, or SCOTUS.

But, you know... we make allowances in this world for people who pronounce GIF with a hard-g, so I guess acronyms contain multitudes.
posted by sparklemotion at 3:02 PM on August 4, 2016

Congrats, orrnyereg! That sounds like it'll be a really cool article.

I pronounce the the first two syllables of IANAL as "iä", and the rest ast "iä cthulhu fhtagn iä shub niggurath the goat with a thousand young". Then the cultists appear and I have to explain I was merely reading acronyms aloud from the internet, and apologize for wasting their time, and they then throw me some pretty vicious side-eyes on their way out of the apartment. Which is why I don't read legal questions on AskMe anymore.
posted by Kattullus at 3:02 PM on August 4, 2016 [9 favorites]

Congratulations on having your paper accepted!
posted by LeftMyHeartInSanFrancisco at 4:22 PM on August 5, 2016

I can't access the abstract. It says the owner has made it private.
posted by gray17 at 8:54 AM on August 6, 2016

Very interesting—looking forward to more info about your project.

On a semi-related note, legal questions sometimes elicit responses warning the OP that they should remove the question because they've included information that might jeopardize the case. I'm wondering how often that is actually true.

Full disclosure: this has happened to me twice. I asked the mods to pull the first question because the comments were so focused on this issue. (There was no danger—I had changed significant details in my question.) I did not do this the second time.
posted by she's not there at 9:07 AM on August 6, 2016

The alphabetisms/acronyms distinction reminded me of how much I love the fact that Brazilians studying in the US turn alphabetisms like UCLA into acronyms. The first time I heard someone refer to a university called Ooklah, I was so confused.
posted by umbú at 9:20 PM on August 9, 2016 [2 favorites]

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