There’s a popular post going around that’s like “well tone indicators are helpful for people for anxiety because some people need stuff like “ /nm (not mad)” or “ /nbh (nobody here)” and I absolutely get it because I have an anxiety disorder but like. You can very much add that on the text of a message itself and it will be way more clear and accessible than expecting them to memorize this whole new fabricated code.
Which one do you think will be clearer, faster to understand, and more direct to the point:
“oh my god someone is pissing me off /nbh”
“oh my god someone (not from this server, don’t worry) is pissing me off”
“have you done the dishes? /nm
“have you done the dishes? don’t worry, im not mad, just wondering”
You can be mindful of someone else’s needs and talk to them in a way that is respectful and understanding of those needs. The key is communication. Expecting people to memorize a lot of abbreviations is like the contrary of accessible.
A lot of people saying stuff like “I think /lh is pretty intuitive but if it’s not you can just google it” seem to be confused about how Google, and search engines in general, actually work. “/lh meaning” will probably show up high in the Google search results… IF you already regularly do Google searches on tone indicators and related subjects. Because if Google knows you’re interested in tone indicators, it will sort those results to the top. For people who don’t know anything about the subject, those results may not even be in the top 100 results.
(Now, if you include the English phrase “tone indicator” in the search query, you WILL find the information… but that’s obviously not an option for the vast, VAST majority of neurodivergent people worldwide unfamiliar with the phrase “tone indicator” who are trying to figure out these weird little codes at the end of sentences.)
Also, I think a lot of people don’t realize that ALL major search engines strip out forward slashes - so when you search “/lh meaning,” you’re just doing a search for the definition of the two-letter sequence “lh”. And since including “meaning” or “definition” signals to most commonly-used search engines that you may be looking for the translation of a non-English term, that further widens the net. Any 1-to-3 letter abbreviation is going to have a HUGE number of possible definitions in a variety of different languages.
Bluntly, from an information accessibility POV, the “/abbreviation” format itself does not make sense: if you want people to be able to look up the meanings of these abbreviations, you need to be prefacing them with a sequence of LETTERS, like “ti abbreviation”. As-is, they’re effectively un-searchable.
Beyond that, how “intuitive” the abbreviations are depends upon how heavily you use English. Even if you’re fluent in English and use it online every day, if your primary language on a day-to-day basis is, say, Korean, your brain’s going to have more trouble connecting the abbreviation “/lh” to “light-hearted”.
(I’m a native English speaker, and I’d never seen “/lh” before the comments of this post; since I’d been reading something in another language just before looking at it, I had to look up what “/lh” meant; and since lately I’ve been looking up a lot of medical/biochem stuff, Google’s first few pages of search results for “/lh meaning” were just about luteinizing hormone.)