"SEDE" is an acronym for "Stack Exchange Data Explorer", so when using it as an acronym, very strictly speaking, it should be "the SEDE". Is it okay to use as a proper noun? ("SEDE" instead of "the SEDE").

Some acronyms are commonly used as proper nouns (Ex. "RADAR" and "NATO"), and some are not (Ex. "LASER" and "WIFI"). There doesn't seem to be a "science" or hard rule to how each case comes to be. The common usage seems to form based on how people use it most commonly. To substantiate the answer, which form is used more commonly on Meta Stack Exchange?

1 Answer 1


On Meta Stack Exchange, "SEDE" (usage of acronym as proper noun) is much more commonly used than "The SEDE", and more users prefer "SEDE" over "The SEDE" (true also for SE staff).

General Preference on MSE

Here's a query of counts of "SEDE" vs "The SEDE" in comments and posts on Meta Stack Exchange (numbers as they were at the time of this writing), which shows that 89.49% of usages in posts and comments is of "SEDE" as opposed to "The SEDE":

which Comment Instances Post Instances
"SEDE" 1439 1659
"The SEDE" 157 207

Comparing Preferences by User

Here's a query showing each person who has made a post or comment including "SEDE", and counting how many times they use it as "SEDE" vs "The SEDE" on Meta Stack Exchange. Notice how most of the people who talk about "SEDE" prefer "SEDE" heavily over "The SEDE", and how there are fewer people who prefer "The SEDE", and that all of the people who prefer "The SEDE" have either have only referred to "SEDE" once or twice, or use "SEDE" instead of "The SEDE" at least 25% of the time.

Here are the top three rows in the table linked above:

User "SEDE" "The SEDE" Total Preference
rene 187 41 228 "SEDE"
Glorfindel 107 22 129 "SEDE"
Shadow Wizard 92 5 97 "SEDE"

SE Staff Preferences

The list of users who prefer "SEDE" over "The SEDE" includes the following Stack Exchange staff: @Shog9 (former staff), @animuson, @Catija, and @AdamLear (probably among others).

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