When Good Acronyms Go Bad (WGAGB)

I was chatting with some colleagues recently and there was discussion around how coming up with a good acronym can sometimes overshadow the goals of the organisation/committee/working group.

For some reason I am always reminded of a book we sold at Dick Smith Electronics, which was seen as the great semiconductor bible and we sold numerous copies:

Towers International Transistor Selector

This is real – you can pick up a copy from Amazon.com (or probably your local DSE).

Looking at their most recent cover, I feel as though they are perhaps aware of their amusing acronym, and are rather proud – or maybe the robotic hand is not tweaking a mechanical zitze.

An unrelated and little known fact is that the USA PATRIOT ACT is also an acronym. It stands for “Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism Act”.

I have a strange feeling they started with the acronym and worked backwards on that one. Backwards, and to the right.

Which brings me to a true story that is not quite acronym related, but is still pretty damn amusing (PDA).

Many moons ago I worked in a team where our IT system used a Three Letter Code (TLC) for each town in Australia.

For example, SYD for Sydney, MEL for Melbourne, NEW for Newcastle. Nothing to write home about there.

With the implementation of the GST, we then had to come up with tax codes for each of these cities. It was decided that the code would simply be the town code, followed by the letter “T”.

For example, SYDT for Sydney, MELT for Melbourne, NEWT for Newcastle.

All was well until it was time to create a code for Cunnamulla.

Oddly enough, we ended up using a “non standard” code for that one.