Fans of noun piles will enjoy the recent blog post by Mike Pope, a technical editor at Microsoft, "Fun (or not) with noun stacks." Mike shares a few of the lovely compound noun pileups he's encountered on the job:
- data bound control table row action links
- failed password security question answer attempts limit
- reduced minimum OS partition space available requirement
Mike goes on to explain why he thinks these problematic constructions continue to crop up in technical writing, driven by imperatives of terseness and concision at the expense of comprehensibility. He also gives helpful advice for untangling technical noun piles into something more user-friendly. That's all well and good, but you have to wonder just how deeply enmeshed in nerdview a writer must be to produce a whopper like "failed password security question answer attempts limit."