About a dozen years ago, when the emails between my friend Tony McCoy O’Grady and me seemed too clever for the standard LOLs or ROFLs, we began to invent more interesting alternatives to these acronyms, such as LAUGHTER: Launched An Unexpected Guffaw Hearing This. Encore Requested. This soon expanded to acronyms on many other topics, until we had so many that we created a HyperCard stack to contain them, and let it loose on the world. I also gave the stack the ability to create web pages, and put all our acronyms online. Later Tony even coined the word ‘apronym‘ for these acronyms where the acronym itself is a word appropriate to what it stands for. You can read a more interesting and apronymic version of the history of the stack here.
The website went through several changes to make it more manageable as we went from the original 1375 apronyms to more than 10 000 apronyms by several hundred people. It went from static HyperCard-generated pages to dynamic pages created by CGI applications written in C using the HyperCard stack’s data files, to PHP scripts reading those same files, eventually to PHP scripts reading from a database. This last step resulted in the site being offline for a year, because the old site slowed down the server too much and I just didn’t put aside the time to develop the new version, although it didn’t take very long once I finally did sat down to do it. Even then, a few pages didn’t get upgraded to use the database — most notably, the submission form to let other people add apronyms to the site.
A while ago, I wrote a new version of the submission form, but there was a small configuration problem with testing it on the server, and by the time this was fixed (not long after) my attention was already on other things. So, like many things in the history of the site, it got set aside. But it’s been bugging me for a while, and I’ve had a lot of emails from people asking how to submit apronyms.
Well, now I’m doing some kind of thing a week again, this is one Thing I really wanted to get done. It turns out the submission form already works fine, it’s just the supporting tools to help streamline the apronym approval process which I hadn’t finished. I still haven’t finished them, but I will over the next few days, and then I can start working through the backlog of apronym submissions.
In the mean time, feel free to submit some apronyms. It might be a while before they’re added to the site, since I do have a backlog to get through, but once I’ve finished writing these new tools to help me process the submissions, it should be much quicker than it used to be. In fact, there’s a good chance that apronyms you submit now will be added before the ones I have in emails, since they’ll already be in the new system. Please browse the site a bit first using the links on the top left, and read the guidelines to make sure you’re submitting the right kind of thing. If you need some help creating apronyms, have a look at Tony’s tips. It’s a lot of fun.
I’m on holiday for the next few weeks, so I hope to have time to reimplement the other missing pages, such as the hall of fame, honours list and unsuccessful searches page. I’ll also add a way for you to suggest a category for the apronym you submit. Maybe I’ll even add an RSS feed or Twitter stream of new apronyms. Eventually, maybe even the site design will change — it hasn’t changed since about 2003 when Tony created the new logo, and I wasn’t much of a web designer even for 2003. For me it’s all about the content and the links between the content.
In case anyone noticed, yes, I was supposed to post something yesterday, but when I’m on holiday Sunday nights don’t mean as much. This ‘Last Six Months‘ thing is not quite as strict as ‘Writing Cards and Letters‘ was; I’m making the most of being an irresponsible twenty-something.