Jargon can undermine our communication

Most of the world is guilty of doing it. I think making it habit is key. Otherwise people just forget. I only mentioned it because we were talking about inclusion, and I think there are many ways of including people, writing style just being one. I think few purposefully omit such things.

I didn’t even realize there were two systems prior to my involvement in the diabetes online community 14 years ago. I think having the conversion in brackets would help many who don’t know the difference.

One thing I will add is that I think it’s important to recognize that some people will do this type of thing while others won’t. Both are still valuable to the forums. Some people are posting here via phone or writing is not a strong skill, while others are posting from keyboards and happen to enjoy writing (both describe me).

Jen - I just spent the last 45 minutes trying to relearn what I did last May when this came up here. I have google searched and youtube searched and I’m still scratching my head. The search results all get mired down in search engine optimization and all the “simple” explanations seem to assume a basic level of understanding I don’t have.

I even tried an “alt text for dummies” search and that didn’t answer my questions. Do I need another software program to allow me to add or edit alt text? I saw many references to using Word for Mac but I’m concerned that the resulting image with the related text could be used and understood by the TuD edit window.

Do you have any ideas where I could relearn what I once knew and have now forgotten? For me, this is “old dog, new tricks” territory. If I can figure this out, I’d be happy to write about it so that interested TuD posters could use it without too much effort.

I agree. One of the lessons TuD has taught me is that my point of view is not typical of the community. Most people do not look through my lens. That’s OK and I understand.

I just hope that when people dispassionately consider the variety of perspectives, they may change their behavior on the margins. That incremental change is reason enough for me to respectfully express my viewpoints.

@Mila, is there anything we could do to make our website more accessible to sight impaired people? Adding the ability to easily add alt text information to an image seems like a no-brainer to me.

I think this would be up to the Discourse people. One of the frustrations with accessibility is that often features get lost when sites get updates. For example, the user icon in the upper right-hand corner is inaccessible using iOS app, although it’s accessible using the computer. I am not really sure where to send these sorts of issues, and also at times get tired of feeling like I’m complaining all the time, so I sometimes just put up with them.

Using alt text in this forum used to just use regular HTML code, which is probably one of the things Google may have come up with for you. Then Discourse changed this to make it more obscure. My memory is that when you upload a picture, you can replace anything before the | character with whatever descriptive text you’d like. If it’s text, you could just type what the text says. If it’s something like a CGM screenshot, you could describe what it is, like, “Six hour blood glucose trace flatlined at 14 mmol/L” (or whatever). Usually it’s good to keep it short and, in a context like social media, focus on the features salient to the post (which can be hard with CGM graphs, I know!).

Search engines have definitely co-opted alt text to use for their own purposes beyond accessibility. I’m not sure whether this is a good or a bad thing, but it certainly makes searching for the non-expert interested in accessibility more difficult.

It would be great if the image upload process included a text box that asked for alt text! These types of features are now included in Word, Google Docs, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram…since social media generates so many pictures, it’s now up to users as well as programmers to make their content accessible. Although at the moment, 99.9% of people don’t do it, likely for a variety of reasons. (I recently posted a link on how to add alt text to Facebook images in a community that is 90% image posts and my post was ignored. Didn’t receive a single comment or like in a group of over 5,000 members.) So I do really appreciate people here taking an interest in something that doesn’t directly affect them.

Here’s the thread where it’s come up in the past:

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I call this the tyranny of the norm. I’ve experienced this same phenomenon and it doesn’t feel good. And I’m sure the marginalization and dismissiveness I felt is minor compared to a sight-impaired person.

I think these social norms change slowly, as in generations. But looking back over my 65 years, I can definitely see social attitude improvements regarding tobacco use, gay marriage, nutritional awareness and accessibility.

When I was a child, I never saw curbs that ramp to provide access to someone in a wheelchair. I walk a lot on city streets and I can’t remember the last time I’ve seen a curb at at a pedestrian crossing that was not cut.

Things are far from perfect but I think we’re moving in the right direction. In the meantime we need to continue to articulate our needs in such a way as to nudge things toward better. This is definitely a long game.

As you have wisely observed, these policies and attitudes are often not intentional or imbued with meanness but usually flow from ignorance.

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I see from your link that we’ve already been through this discussion about adding an alt description to an image, and from what I can see the answer, which involved editing the markup, is both a) unreliable (doesn’t work for me when I test it), and b) exceedingly user-unfriendly. As you point out in the other thread, there absolutely should be a field for doing this in the upload dialog box or no one is going to do it. And considering the way advocates for people with disabilities are putting the pressure on for accessibility, as well they should, I find it difficult to believe there isn’t such a solution. So far a search of the Discourse support forum has yet to turn one up, but I’ve posted over there and am hoping for a better answer.


There was a time that we as Canadians measured our BG in mg/dl (decimal system), but then our government decided to go metric (mmol/L).

It’s much like driving with kilometers per hour vs MPH. Once you know the conversion and important associated speeds in both systems, you don’t even need to think about converting.

Here’s the breakdown of Decimal vs Metric using BG countries

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Will add it to my travel kit - Great help - Thanks for the chart

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@Sally7 prompted me to add this Kerri Sparling humorous take on diabetes terms and acronyms to this post. Perhaps a bit of humor can help smooth out some of the rough edges on this post.


Here are a few samples.

Bat Belt: The belt of a PWD (person with diabetes) who has all their diabetic accoutrements worn about their waist. May include insulin pump, Dexcom receiver, and that grappling hook thing Batman uses to climb over buildings.

Bolus-worthy: Food that is enticing enough that we’d take a ton insulin for it, despite any blood sugar results. ex. “That chocolate-covered cupcake looks bolus-worthy.”

Carbage: Term indicative of the collective carbohydrate content in an item, rhymes with “garbage.” ex. “What’s the carbage on that bagel?”



Would like to clarify the word “smacks” ,”elitism” contextual. Etc for the non elite people?

I find myself in the wishy-washy middle on this topic. I think I’m generally pretty good at spelling out my acronyms if the context seems to demand it. Plus I’ve invented a few myself that I don’t expect anyone else to get without a primer (e.g., YDFLNCA for “You’re Doing Fine, Let’s Not Change Anything”) and I always do it for those. But some acronyms are in such common parlance in D-land that it could get pretty tedious to read as well as to post if we had a rigid rule requiring them to be explained every time they came up. This is, after all, a specialized community, and that means there just are some specialized terms for things that you need to get familiar with for functioning in this realm, even beyond this particular site.

That said, I did a site search on “acronym” and “glossary” and found two things:

  1. A lot of comments from people new to the site or to D expressing how daunting all the acronyms and shorthand terms are.
  2. Several attempts at creating an authoritative glossary, but all the links I found were either to ad hoc posts that are buried in the site or 404s from the old TuD architecture. I assumed there was such a thing here—I remember consulting the one on the old site when I first arrived here—but if it continues to exist (I suspect it does), it’s definitely not easy to find.

Therefore: I’ll take it up with the other admins. Someone upthread suggested adding a “Glossary” link to the top nav, but that’s a bit involved to do. It would be relatively easy, though, to make it a “pinned” item at the top of the list of posts. We should do that!

ETA: the actual glossary page is here: Diabetes Terminology Glossary - TuDiabetesTuDiabetes


I do get the tension created by the acronym-savvy versus those who access TuD looking for a literal lifeline. They are truly in crisis. I believe we can mostly satisfy both of these camps. It does depend, however, on the sensitivity of the seasoned members and exercising good judgment.

This community is unlike most other interest group forums. Diabetes is not a hobby or avocation.

If we do want to help, we need to take people as they are and not place some unspoken eligibility expectation, like they need to do some homework before they may participate. I think their sole eligibility requirement is that they or a loved one are a human with diabetes.

I spent a fair amount of time in a training role during my career. I performed that function well and received frequent acknowledgment from those who I trained.

One of my roles was to support a newly-changed business process by fielding questions on the floor on an as-needed basis. I made a special effort to never make any questioner feel like they were a burden, even if they’ve asked this same question four times in the last two weeks!

I told myself that when the knowledge was firmly and finally grasped, they would stop asking that question and everyone would benefit. I think this was a wise tactic that produced tangible results with a minimum of friction. It just required me to be patient and look beyond the immediate circumstance.

A pinned glossary post, @DrBB, would help but does not replace the tone and tenor created by kindness and the over-riding mission of TuD: no one with diabetes should ever feel alone.


There’s an HTML tag for acronyms nad abbreviations that allows you to hover the mouse over something and have it spelled out. HTML tags don’t seem to work within Dicsourse posts, though. And of course not everyone knows HTML. I’m just thinking of possibilities.

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I agree one hundred per cent with the need for clarity – everywhere!

About two months ago, I found this site and began my search for answers to just one or two questions I had — about life as a Bad long-time Type 1 who is trying to become a Good self-managing Low Carber.

I did find a few good tips and helpful comments (and for these I’m grateful for this community!); and about three or four weeks ago, I finally decided to join the discussion and ask for suggestions and/or wisdom. But I haven’t yet. First, because I’ve felt so ??? intimidated / nervous / hopeless ??? — about communicating my questions precisely, so that they won’t be misunderstood. And second, because the more I’ve searched (and sometimes waded) through the discussions for answers to my particular concerns, the more confused I’ve become.

For example, “My woe is fantastic, these days!”

I know that the responsibility is mine, alone, for making myself – and therefore my writing – understood, correctly; but for the like-minded, I’d like to share a pretty good rule I learned while attending technical editing school: For abbreviations, acronyms, foreign words, and jargon in general, parenthesize the term’s definition on first use.

For example, “My woe (way of eating) is fantastic, these days! When I was young and foolish, my woe was horrible; but now that I’m older and wiser, my woe is right on track.”

(Of course, this example is far from the only type of miscommunication that can occur.)

Anyway, I didn’t want my very first post to drone on and on. (LOL — the way it seems to have done); but Terry4, your post hit so close to home, and I just wanted to say thank you for this! In my case, you’re right — I Was looking for a literal lifeline! And if/when I start asking my now multiple questions, I will try my best to be crystal clear.

PS: I think Jen’s suggestion re: finding some way to implement the HTML abbreviation tag is a great one!


Starting out ~months ago the acronyms made it hard to follow some discussions. I’ve learned many of them but constantly run into new ones I don’t know.


Hi @Gloria7 -

I can appreciate the apprehension you feel about posting something and being misunderstood, but I hope you (post) soon.

I’ve always reminded myself to make a special effort to take extra time and effort to clarify my posts for anyone I know isn’t a regular. There are dozens of others here who I know are like-minded.

I read through some of the acronyms I’ve seen on this thread and to be honest, several of them I don’t have the slightest clue what they mean. And I’ve been a diabetic for 55 years.

Read over lots of the recent posts and you’ll get a good idea who you might be more comfortable starting a conversation with, or you can always click on their user name and send them a PM (private message).

Hope to hear from you soon -

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Thanks for the nice welcome, Jim! And I will post soon!


Welcome to TuDiabetes, @Gloria7! I’m hoping you post any questions you may have. I’ve found this community to be a great asset when dealing with diabetes. We’re happy you’re here and hope you feel comfortable enough to ask your questions.


I still don’t know what some of the shortcuts are :joy_cat:I find typing on my tablet to be such a pain and siri is often a mess. so any way of reducing the typing is ok by me.


Night I suggest reading “Pumping Insulin” which discusses these terms or acronyms and many other terms in relatively simple terms?

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IMO, anyone going on a pump should read Pumping Insulin. That should be “required” reading. My doc back in 96 wanted me to go into the hospital for a few days for starting on a pump. I thought that was ridiculous and talked him out of it after demonstrating my knowledge of pumping concepts prior to getting my first pump (506). My pump-start went well thanks to his suggestions and the info in Pumping Insulin.