Nerdview is messaging that fails to communicate because it's written such that it's only useful if you already know the subject inside & out.

This is more than just jargon.  Nerdview is when your frame of reference is completely embedded in the intricacies of the field you are writing about.  You will naturally, from this frame, use vocabulary that you and your circle of colleagues had to invent to describe and categorize the things you work on.

You don't realize that what you write is perfectly clear to you and your circle only because your work immerses you in the subject and the terminology that has been created for it.  In fact, you may not be able to remember when you yourself knew nothing of it.  You certainly can't imagine that any reasonably competent adult knows nothing of it.  And so, you produce something like this:

What is peripheral to what? Who is controlling what? What is peripheral control? Why are you being told this? Nothing becomes clearer as you mull over what it says. They might as well have put up a sign saying "Argle bargle nurff gugga mongmong gooboo wah Mon – Fri 8:30am – 5:30pm."

But worse, if you did know what it meant you would become aware that it could not possibly be relevant to you.

Communication requires a receiver of the message, as well as a transmitter.  When technically-proficient senders of messages forget that most people are not so technically proficient in this field as they are, the result is nerdview.

For more about nerdview from the source, hit up Language Log.

This article was updated on May 9, 2023

David F