Talk:KISS principle

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The recent edits[edit]

  • I made that second paragraph into a list because it seemed a bit unwieldy, i don't know how many of these were originally in the article or have been randomly added, but i found it tough reading so it's now a list (all the original content is there except for 'covertly misogynistic', i think 'sweetie' is just meant to be cute.
  • cos this article is well on the way to what happens when the KISS principle is ignored, i think the first 2 (cos they're not useful) and possibly the last one on the list (because it doesn't make any sense) could be edited out. I agree it's getting too complicated - maybe it could cite itself as a negative example :p
  • 'keep it simple and straight-forward was kept out of the list and bolded to give it similar status to Stupid, per the discussion above, the rest are alternatives or specific uses. as for which is the 'proper' definition, or whether it's really a euphemism or whatever, i don't think anybody knows.
  • I moved the reference in the first sentence to creeping featurism to the 'modern usage' section, as the article seems to originally have been about software development, but is more general now. Moogsi 15:26, 7 September 2005 (UTC)
    • No problem! All Wiki articles develop "cruft" as they are edited over and over again in a piecemeal fashion. Every so often, one needs to come along and do a global re-editing such as you did.
Atlant 14:12, 8 September 2005 (UTC)
  • Keep It Simple Stupid is kind of a stock term in Narcotica Anonymous. 05:02, 24 October 2005 (UTC)mightyafrowhitey


Perhaps it is applicable to refer to the following statement made by Antoine de Saint-Exupér: "Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away." This statement is often quoted when the KISS principle is discussed within the context of network protocol design

Sorry, forgot to sign: Macfreek 15:15, 29 November 2005 (UTC)

  • And what is the real etymology ?
    why is KISS being referred to as a BACKronym? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:26, 27 October 2008 (UTC)
I agree -- I want to know the real etymology. I suspect that "Keep it simple, stupid" really is the original phrase, and later it became the acronym "KISS" -- so I'm slapping a {fact} tag on the claim that it's a backronym, since I suspect that claim is incorrect. -- (talk) 05:26, 7 November 2008 (UTC)
A backronym is an acronym which is equal to a word already used; I think the word kiss has been already in the vocabulary before the backronym was created. It doesn't mean that first it has been used "Keep it simple, stupid", and only after KISS. --Kiam (talk) 15:11, 18 November 2008 (UTC)
I agree that the word "kiss" was used long before the phrase "keep it simple, stupid" was ever thought up.
But I suspect "KISS" is an acronym, not a backronym, for the same reason that "RAM" is an acronym, not a backronym.
RAM is an acronym for "random-access memory" sense, invented long after the word ram was in widespread use, right? -- (talk) 04:06, 14 December 2008 (UTC)
I don't think that anyone would argue that the word "kiss" predates the meaning presented here. However, that is not the issue. A bacronym is deliberately coined to fit an existing term. As one of the sources given on the bacronym pages states:
A bacronym, says Meredith, is the 'same as an acronym, except that the words were chosen to fit the letters.'
RAM/ram does not fit this criteria, it is a simple coincidence that the acronym happens to match an existing word. KISS fits the pattern typical of backronyms in that it appears tweaked specifically to make it fit an existing term (with the addition of the "stupid"). CrispMuncher (talk) 19:32, 14 December 2008 (UTC).
If that is the case, then just who created the backronym is able to say if it's really a backronym. Being this the case, why are we debating on this? Does to know if an acronym is also a backronym add useful information? Kiam (talk) 15:56, 21 January 2009 (UTC)

December 2005 (mostly)[edit]

  • "it Simple, Stupid". Hey Maybe" why is "hey" in there? its kinda like it just got stuck in there. 20:23, 27 December 2005 (UTC)Siam
  • I think that the 'short and simple' definition is more logical, as it explains the abbreviation along two key dimensions: length (low) and complexity (low). The 'simple, stupid' is not nearly as descriptive or powerful to drive towards an optimal solution, and hence the higher content level of the 'short and simple' explanation should dictate that that explanation be used.
    • I had only heard the meaning Keep It Short & Simple until I read this article (talk) 18:54, 19 February 2008 (UTC)
  • My addition about 1980 and Army comes from this page: 20:23, 27 December 2005 (UTC)Vrykolaka
  • I agree. In addition, the word 'stupid' is a relative value judgement, where the words 'short' and 'simple' are more easily measured. Thus, "keep it short and simple" is more logical as well as being more objective.
  • I've heard "Keep It Simple, Silly" used as a euphamism for "Keep It Simple, Stupid". 20:23, 27 December 2005 (UTC) Anon poster
    • It doesn't matter whether or not you believe that "Keep it Simple, Stupid" isn't logical: that is the only way I have ever previously heard it used, and this wiki should be based upon the truth, not what you wish to be truth. KISS! 20:23, 27 December 2005 (UTC) Another anon poster.
  • The instruction creep example seems to have been deleted. These articles exist, however they do not seem to fit the exact context mentioned:

This is getting far too complicated ;) 20:23, 27 December 2005 (UTC) Quinobi 12:08, 20 Jun 2005 (UTC)

  • Keep is Simple and Succint.
  • Someone might want to mention that this is a popular maxim of Alcoholics Anonymous and other self-help groups. It's not just about geeks.
  • This is how it might have started. "Keep It Simple", the acronym is gives as simple KIS. But, when spoken of it, it sounds more like "Kiss". The extra "S" just become added to it and backronymed into an extra word, like "stupid". Why "stupid" often is chosen is probably because the way to speak amongst younger people. Keep It Simple "KIS" could be a reference to the old and ironic saying about the German work on handbooks and specifications; "why make it simple when you can make it so beautifully complicated". To my ears, this is more than 3 decades old. On top of the "KISS" problem is that it contains two different messages; "KIS" and "S". That is: firstly, an intention, secondly, a condition that says: "if you fail keeping it simple, then you are stupid". Some teachers whom have used this acronym haven't thought about the pedagogic consequences. I believe "KIS" is understood correctly in relation to education. But "stupid" will be regarded as a treat made by the teacher. In relation to educational books that uses the "KISS" acronym and comments it, states a more kind message, like: "Keep It Super Simple". That is by me ok but doesn't change it much from what I believe could be the real original acronym, "KIS", keep it simple. Added by Richard Holm.


[The story is told of T. A. Edison putting a brand new engineer with a bright and shiny degree to the test by asking him to compute the volume of a very irregular vessel. After several hours, the engineer triumphantly produced his calculations. Whereupon, Edison simply filled the vessel to the brim with water and proceeded to pour the water from the irregular vessel into a graduated container. The engineer was not off by a whole order of magnitude.]

Why "not off"? This sentence is unclear. Does it mean, playfully, that the engineer wasn't *too* far off? Or was the not accidentally included? Also, why is this anecdote in brackets? Ckamaeleon 06:46, 16 January 2006 (UTC)

Why not apply Occams Razor[edit]

The discussion about what the second "s" might stand for is irrelevent. Why not apply Occams Razor to it. KIS = Keep It Simple, and that says it all.<<

The last "S" is neccesary because engineers (the place I learned it) are a deprecating breed. Occam's razor would remove the shame element. Sheesh, what an easily misapplied tool.

So what does the second "C" in neccessary stand for? Or is this just necessary for engineers?

I thought KIS stood for the simplification of KISS to "keep it stupid", which I encounter every day applied in the world all around me. MaxEnt 23:27, 20 August 2007 (UTC)


(This is my first contribution to Wikipedia. If this is in the wrong place, you have my sincere apologies. I didn't want to edit other's content.)

Under Application: Should we be using "complexification" here? Yes, it's a word we use in mathematics, something about vector spaces, but I don't like beating up the language like this. This can be said using words that already exist in common speech.

And before we kick off a side discussion about "dumbing down" speech, I'm all for keeping expectations high. I just don't like inventing words, or inventing meanings for words, especially those that have a precise application.



This entire article is unreferenced. Cite references to assist the student and to improve the reliability of the article in the mind of a critical reader. -- 15:22, 2 September 2006 (UTC)

Citations aren't needed, KISS. -- (talk) 09:10, 19 February 2008 (UTC)


"KISS principle states that design simplicity should be a key goal and unnecessary complexity avoided" I LOL'd. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Cjhard (talkcontribs) 07:06, August 26, 2007 (UTC)

Hypocrisy? Are you sure you didn't mean situational irony? - Soulkeeper (talk) 16:11, 23 May 2008 (UTC)
I think it's both hypocritical and ironic that mickey-pedia's definition of the KISS principle is so confused, and confusing. (talk) 21:25, 17 August 2014 (UTC)

The "obvious scatological variation"?[edit]

It's not very obvious if we don't say what it is. What is the obvious scatological variation? --DearPrudence 01:54, 9 September 2007 (UTC)

I was trying to figure that out too. "Shit-head", maybe? It's not incredibly obvious. Since when has Wikipedia been a place for euphemisms? 04:48, 21 September 2007 (UTC)

Yeah, I'm taking it out. --DearPrudence 06:45, 21 September 2007 (UTC)

Too many variants[edit]

Does this article really need an example for every possible variant of KISS? The current list is extremely long. I deleted some of the more far fetched ones. WackoJacko (talk) 16:22, 30 January 2009 (UTC)

I agree with you. I think we really need to go through this and weed out all the unsourced ones. I've gone through the list and all have exact phrase matches on Google but really we need good, authoritative sources for every expansion - finding a single web page with a particular expansion is not acceptable - they need to be as reliably sourced as everything else around here. Added to that, of course, there way they are listed here gives disproportionate prominence to fringe expansions which is misleading through undue weight.
I'm going to remove Keep It Short and Sweet now, because even if there is a match found, and even if there is a reliable source for it, that is clearly a different concept (favouring brevity rather than simplicity) and so does not belong on this page. CrispMuncher (talk) 19:41, 30 January 2009 (UTC)

Sounds good to me.WackoJacko (talk) 21:31, 2 February 2009 (UTC)
"I've gone through the list and all have exact phrase matches on Google" --- But, but... what if those pages used wikipedia as their source? It's the legendary foo-foo bird! In internet form! — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:32, 17 August 2014 (UTC)

More references[edit]

I think it would be a good idea to add some more references to this article. Maybe even reference each variant of KISS. That way it would avoid any "original research" tags, etc. What do you think?WackoJackO 12:49, 27 February 2009 (UTC)

I think was this article really needs is a "big bang" edit where reliable sources are added to those than can be defended and the ones that can't weeded out in one fell swoop. Then it can be maintained and the unlikely new additions quickly removed simply because they are unsourced, providing a certain amount of immunity to the "just one more" and "everyone I know says..." contingent. CrispMuncher (talk) 18:00, 27 February 2009 (UTC).
Yeah. Totally. In the meantime, let's just slap a bunch of tags on there at the top and wait a few years to see if anyone does anything about it. (talk) 21:34, 17 August 2014 (UTC)

Keep It Simple, Stupid[edit]

This page is stupid. I've been programming since, oh, 1974 and I've never heard anything but stupid until I came here. I haven't ever edited around here so I don't want to break things but geez, this needs fixing. Here's a couple of references that actually work, unlike the current references.

The Jargon File


I've never edited wikipedia before so I won't start now but I just had to point out the obvious problem on this page. (talk) 05:39, 11 April 2009 (UTC)

Yes, that is "Keep it Simple Stupid" is the only phrase I ever encountered at school(in VB6/VBNet, C++ classes).WackoJackO 13:29, 11 April 2009 (UTC)
I went ahead and the intro to "The KISS principle. KISS is originally an acronym for "Keep it Simple, Stupid", some also use the more term "Keep it Short and Simple". KISS states that design simplicity should be a key goal and that unnecessary complexity should be avoided."WackoJackO 13:33, 11 April 2009 (UTC)

December 2009[edit]

  • I have never heard "Keep It Simple and Stupid;" I've only heard "Keep it Simple, Stupid." The comments below also refer to "Keep It Simple, Stupid," and no one below refers to "Keep It Simple and Stupid." I'd like to take out reference to "Keep It Simple and Stupid." —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:28, 18 December 2009 (UTC)
The problem with removing it is the Johnson etymology documented in the body of the article. I agree a re-write could make the predominant usage clearer. —Aladdin Sane (talk) 22:19, 18 December 2009 (UTC)
The current wording is
'KISS is an acronym for the design principle "keep it simple and stupid", most commonly read as the backronym "keep it simple, stupid!"'
I would think that this wording is sufficiently clear: it says that KISS is "most commonly read as" the more "agressive" version, without omitting the fact that the original (and still current) meaning is the "and" version. Even today some people may want to use the latter, especially in slightly more formal situations (exclusing classrooms and between co-workers) where calling someone "stupid", even jokingly, would not be acceptable. For example, Google Scholar gives many hits for the "and" version in technical papers, both pre and post Wikipedia. All the best, --Jorge Stolfi (talk) 14:09, 19 December 2009 (UTC)
Agree. When you remove the "required decorations" (bolding and required reference superscripts), the actual English does read pretty clearly. —Aladdin Sane (talk) 18:27, 19 December 2009 (UTC)
omfg... you people don't understand KISS at all. you're not qualified to work on the definition. (talk) 21:37, 17 August 2014 (UTC)

Keep it Short and Sweet used by preachers - before Kelly?[edit]

The KISS formula, as "Keep it Short and Sweet", is also an important principle in homiletics. It provides a tactful reminder for ministers to avoid getting swept away in their own eloquence. The first person I heard use this mnemonic was a distinguished Minister in Acton, MA, the Rev Justin Hartman. Justin had studied under Paul Tillich and Reinhold Niebur at Union Seminary in New York. and participated in the Civil Rights movement with Dr King. I believe, but cannot confirm, that "KISS" was widely used before Kelly Johnson. It is possible that Kelly drew inspiration from a Congregational, or other, minister. Justin's sermons were always clear, simple, direct, -- and very healing.

Justin died last February at the age of 91. In a way, this comment is a tribute to him.


John Edwards Pilgrim1826 (talk) 16:04, 27 January 2010 (UTC)

Thanks for the information! I would add this to the article, except that without a reference it will probably be deleted by other editors. Would you perchance know of some published text by Justin that uses the phrase? All the best, --Jorge Stolfi (talk) 04:33, 28 January 2010 (UTC)

Error in article?[edit]

Reading the following sentence: While popular usage translates is as 'Keep it simple, stupid', Johnson translated it as 'Keep it simple stupid', and this reading is still used by many authors.[4] There was no implicit meaning that an engineer was stupid; just the opposite. I see its just repeating itself instead of listing another explanation; either this sentence is wrong or useless.

Yeah, and furthermore, the referenced document also gives the version with the comma. (talk) 16:38, 30 March 2011 (UTC)

Related concepts[edit]

Is there any actual support available for the previously mentioned passage?

While popular usage translates it as 'Keep it simple, stupid', Johnson translated it as 'Keep it simple stupid', and this reading is still used by many authors. There was no implicit meaning that an engineer was stupid; just the opposite.

If not, it seems equally possible that the comma was omitted by mistake. — Robert Greer (talk) 16:17, 18 January 2011 (UTC)


I have never served in the USAF, yet am quite familiar with the term. In fact, I believe that I heard it during my time if the US Army. If indeed the term was first used by Kelly Johnson, there might be some connection to the AF, but did this use first occur before or after the AF became a separate service? It also very common in civilian context, so I don't see any particular connection tomthe USAF.Wschart (talk) 13:22, 22 July 2011 (UTC)


Since KISS is marked as both a Software development philosophies and a Programming principles, and since SDPs are composed of PPs KISS is showing up twice in List_of_software_development_philosophies. Anyone mind if I drop the SDP category? is this the correct thing to do? QueBurro (talk) 15:25, 13 August 2014 (UTC)