The acronym TLDR means Too Long; Didn’t Read. It is an internet phenomenon used to indicate dismay or boredom at a text which has been deemed too long to read all the way through.

Now, while one may decry a meme like TLDR because it seems to be the catchphrase of a couch potato with the attention span of a puppy, there is a good reason why we should view long winded texts with some suspicion.

“Therefore, since brevity is the soul of wit…” – William Shakespeare, Hamlet (Act 2, Scene 2)

Indeed, findings in the field of cognitive psychology indicate that a statement such as TLDR may not just be a blunt cry for simplicity and shallowness, it may in fact have a point.

A study on verbosity ironically called Consequences of Erudite Vernacular Utilized Irrespective of Necessity – Oppenheimer., D.M. (2006) finds “a negative relationship between complexity and judged intelligence” in several language experiments.

Therefore, since it has now been proved that the needless use of more complex words where a simpler one would suffice has a negative effect, it seems sensible we should examine the crude yet useful mnemonic KISS meaning Keep It Simple, Stupid.

Remember the writings of the anthropologist Margaret Mead, “if you can’t explain yourself to a twelve-year-old child, stay inside the university or lab until you have a better grasp of your subject matter.”

“I have made this letter longer than usual, because I lack the time to make it short.” – Blaise Pascal

“The continuing popularity amongst students of using big words and attractive font styles may be due to the fact that they may not realize these techniques could backfire,” Oppenheimer said. “One thing seems certain: write as simply and plainly as possible and it’s more likely you’ll be thought of as intelligent.”

1 thought on “TLDR and KISS

  1. Unfortunately, I found the title to Oppenheimer’s work, Consequences of Erudite Vernacular Utilized Irrespective of Necessity, TLDR —

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