We use the word "boilerplate" a lot at work. It's such a strange phrase that seems like it's probably traveled far from its original meaning, so I looked up what that meaning was.

It goes back to newspapers. Large advertisers and content syndicates would distribute ready-to-go printing plates to local newspapers that could easily just go onto the press and be ready to print without any modification. These plates resembled rolled steel that was used to make boilers.

Hence: boilerplate.


People who frequently use the word "boilerplate" seem to either be:
* Journalists
* Programmers
* Aerospace engineers (although I'm told their usage is slightly different from the previous two)

@srol it's very telling that programmers adapted a word from the advertising industry

it's also a reason i so despise the word "content" because to so many it's just replaceable fluff between their precious ads

@hirojin my use of "content" there is a bit of a neologism, but a convenient one. It wouldn't have been just advertisers, it also would be comics syndicates like King Features or international reporting groups like United Press International. When I last worked for a newspaper in the 2000s, they were still using some of these.

@srol there's mention of the word "boilerplate" in the International Accounting Standards Board's discussion paper on Disclosure Initiative

Mostly about how it's not sensible for companies to just meet a checklist of disclosures, because some disclosures are not material/relevant to their particular nature of business

So for practitioners or preparers of financial reports, "boilerplate" doesn't have good connotations. Then again, many auditors disagree with these preparers

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