I Don’t Think It Means What You Think It Means

Since the absolute beginning of my sofware career, I have noticed one word consistently used wrong all up and down my industry and it drives me nuts. “Visibility” is the word. Alarmingly often, I hear sentences like “I don’t have any visibility into what they are doing.” Umm, chief, you’ve got the eyeballs turned the wrong way round. You mean “insight”. According to the definition on Dictionary.com, visibility means:

  1. The fact, state, or degree of being visible.
  2. The greatest distance under given weather conditions to which it is possible to see without instrumental assistance.
    The capability of being easily observed: an executive with high visibility.
  3. The capability of providing a clear, unobstructed view: a windshield with good visibility.

It doesn’t mean the ability to see into, it means the ability to be seen. My teeth grate every time I see or hear it used in the incorrect way.

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Dave Slusher is a blogger, podcaster, computer programmer, author, science fiction fan and father.