‘I published a paper on that’

People often cite earlier work - a paper, an email, etc. instead of explaining something. If you actually want to communicate, you swallow your pride and unpack the thing. It is a form of compression similar to Jargon. Jargon is mystifying to people without the relevant context. It’s worse than Jargon because if you need to mention the paper, you know for sure that the person hasn’t heard of it so it never helps communication. It has the benefit of at least telling someone where to get the context.

People do this for two reasons:

  1. To stake a claim on a topic or assert authority. Full-time thought leaders try to become gatekeepers to knowledge. Sometimes you do need to quickly establish authority or knowledge. When you’re dealing with someone who understands a discipline, this is where using Shibboleths is a good idea. People like to create shibboleths to distinguish their tribe.
  2. Because they’re lazy and don’t want to explain something

It’s isomorphic to ‘I put it in the email’ and ‘read the docs’


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