Weasel words and other vagueness in writing

You could worry that you might be mistaken.

That is a constant. So that is a given.

Its a properly testable hypothesis whether splinted airbeams by ram-air or blower-system is favored by mass, cost, etc… Let time decide whose predictions were right.

Yes ^.^

That’s not the topic of this thread though.

I hope to raise awareness of weasel words and other stuff here so that their use is reduced. Simple things like saying “I” helps, instead of an unidentified “we” for example.


“Other nonsense” seems to allow for all sorts of comments.

Who said “we” before I explained this topic was seriously discussed on the Old Forum? No one then thought an added blower system was a better prediction of fitness. Be ready for lots of past discussion to count on merits, rather than be a Netiquette crisis.

Yes. Maybe that’s wrong? I don’t really have an idea of what I mean with that. Maybe I want to also be able to include other logical fallacies. I’ll change the title.

I started this topic because in this topic I think I see that @dougselsam is not happy with the way you write. I’d like to see if we, all together, can get along a little bit better. Calling out the things “we” are not happy with might help.

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Doug has to live with how I write, sorry.

Why isn’t it weaselly to hide your identity without explanation?

Fully agree, @Windy_Skies !
Let’s weed out the weasle-words! :slight_smile:

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A post was merged into an existing topic: Scaling Laws in AWES Design

Can you please , or do you mind if I edit the original post to …
I predict
my prediction is

the more accurate we make this forum the more authoritative it becomes

I’d say we all choose to follow Airborne Wind Energy and you have to admit you have been a prolific contributor to the topic on specific forums. I am quite sure Dougs autonomy isn’t affected. It would be an abuse otherwise

Weasel words start with an abuse of “we” instead of “I”, giving a sort of self-enactment of expert’s status without endossing any responsability.

When the moderator sees such an abuse he can mention it, quoting the passage then indicating “weasel word(s)” or only the acronym as “ww”. The writer can reply as sometimes the said abuse is not always easy to prove. But dozens of “ww” mentions can be a deterrent.

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Please try to not call undesirable things out in a post since threads can quickly deteriorate into meta-discussions about the style of discussions. Maybe try a private message first.

This guide is helpful:

The biggest problem with “weasel words” here is that accusers do not ask nor wait for explanations before judging, but will bust up a technical topic with Netiquette lessons not even weakly tied to the actual topic.

If anyone from a true community uses “we” naturally, that can only be “weasel words” to unsympathetic outsiders.

That is, for me, out of a fear that you will not easily change your writing style, and pointing it out in the original topics would derail the topics.

This is also, I think, not a lesson in netiquette, but in how to write. I would have the same criticism wherever I encountered it.

If it is clear who the “we” is, the members of your family for example, or the authors of the report, all is good. If it is not it is an example of the above I think. The issue is so easily sidestepped by just saying “I” or explicitly naming the people you mean by “we.”

I insist there is a close AWE community going back many years. Wubbo himself could talk about “we”, and we understood, without anyone needing to cry “weasel”. If someone states, “its predicted humans can reach Mars”, that is not cause to cry “weasel” and “who says?”. The problem may be between those who think AWE is an urgent global need for us as a team to solve, and those who compete for private business success in AWE.

Its an insidious abuse to interfere with technical discussion with English writing-lessons. After all, for most scientist-engineers, English is a second language, and by tradition we simply ignore weak written or oral expression, trying only to figure out the intended meaning, never crying “weasel”. We also keep in mind that not everyone can write everything out. Imagine Hawking posting as best he could and someone objecting to a lack of detail. Give him time, and he answered as well as anyone.

The use of “weasel word” terms is a limited technical mean, avoiding talking about some intentionality.

The weasel aspect is to put technical kite ideas second.

That looks like a self-criticism.