To give some context to this question, I am an Information Security specialist. I frequently work with people who are IT specialists (developers, sys-admins, project managers, etc.) but who are not security specialists.
It's quite common that these people use security jargon, in a way that is nearly right, but slightly different from the proper meaning. Or the jargon may be technically correct, but give a misleading impression. To give some examples:
- "Passwords are transmitted in plaintext over HTTPS". This is misleading because HTTPS provides encryption, so passwords do not traverse the network as plaintext.
- "We protect passwords with one-way encryption". Technically, there is no such thing as one-way encryption, the process is "hashing". However, in this case the meaning is clear.
There are a few ways to deal with this:
- Always correct the person and explain correct terminology. However, this can lead to unproductive semantic arguments.
- Don't correct the person, but use correct terminology myself. However, this can lead to confusion.
- Don't correct the person and attempt to use the words in the way they understand them. However, this doesn't help improve their use of jargon.
And as a compromise:
- Correct the person when the meaning is unclear. If the meaning is clear, use the jargon as they understand it.
Further suggestions would be appreciated. To be clear, the question is: How to constructively deal with non-specialists using jargon incorrectly?