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In PowerShell (and I assume other languages) there are built in aliases to common commands. For example gci is the alias of Get-ChildItem.

When I answer questions, I always try to expand all aliases, especially if the questioner mentions they are new. On some commands, it's fairly obvious what the alias means, and there is also the command Get-Alias <alias> that will show what the alias means. There are however, some aliases that are not intuitive at all ( % and ? come to mind). Googling for them won't turn up their answer, and if you are not really familiar with PowerShell, you might not even know about Get-Alias. It seems to me that when an answer contains the aliases of the command, the answer could actually confuse the person asking the question, or confuse someone who found the answer from Google.

My question is, what does the SO community feel about using aliases in answers? Do you tend to use them more out of habit, or do you have a reason to use them? Also, is it wrong to edit answers just to expand the commands for readability? I have done it in the past on at least one occasion, but I curious what everyone else thinks about this.

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1 Answer 1

up vote 4 down vote accepted

Try to assess the experience level of the OP. If it seems apparent that the OP will not understand the aliases, then expand them.

If the aliases are otherwise considered to be common knowledge among the programmers that use that particular technology, I'd say it's OK to use them when answering a question.

If someone else's answer already contains aliases, don't expand them unless it is apparent that they are not being understood. An explanatory comment might be a better approach.

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