COIK #1: Clear only if known syndrome

von anketroeder


We all suffer from it. We have been reading and doing research on our subject for weeks.We know all about it. And we forget that our audience doesn’t.

We have been living with that one movie line most of our adult life, ever since we fell in love with Blade Runner and all it stands for. Like tears in rain. How can anyone not get it? How can anyone not have heard of it?

We all have those Blade Runner moments. And the best term I know for it is COIK-Syndrome. Clear only if known.

I found it in an old manual for technical writers and the example it used was a story about a New York water pipe worker who wanted to know from a company if it was safe to pour their product X into pipes to clean them. He received various answers, all of them jargon mumbo jumbo. »Does that mean it is safe?,« he wrote back.

The final answer finally was clear: »X eats hell out of pipes! Don’t use it.«

The fact that I remember the story and the wording but not the name of the substance is interesting in itself.

Anyway. COIK. Watch out for it.

Today I was waiting for a doctor’s appointment and saw this door saying DU KA.

Now for everyone English this does not make sense anyway. In German, it could mean different things.

  • Dunkelkammer (Dark room).
  • Duschkabine (Shower).
  • Dunstkamin (Foggy Chimney).
  • Du kannst (You may).

I guess you get my drift. I spent half an hour inventing words and had fun.

Your audience may not have half an hour to follow you and it is not funny at all having to decipher slides with acronyms or abbreviations.

Just as it is no fun being quoted to from Blade Runner if you haven’t seen it.

So make sure that what you say is what you want your audience to get.

And if you really haven’t seen Blade Runner yet: This video was made from every single individual frame of the movie and it might give you a first basic idea.

Then again, it might not. It might be just another case of COIK.

But don’t worry. It won’t affect the test.