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Is there a non-offensive way to tell someone:

is better to (k)eep (i)t (s)imple, (s)...


Let's say someone came with his part of the homework done, then it turns out to be a rather complicated approach. Then I say to the guy

" That is somewhat complicated dude, let's keep it simple "

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closed as not a real question by Jasper Loy, Noah, MετάEd, J.R., tchrist Dec 30 '12 at 13:00

It's difficult to tell what is being asked here. This question is ambiguous, vague, incomplete, overly broad, or rhetorical and cannot be reasonably answered in its current form. For help clarifying this question so that it can be reopened, visit the help center.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

You could just say "keep it simple". – Nathan Reed Dec 30 '12 at 7:28
Could you give a context for this? Otherwise, as the answers have shown, people give you options but you come up with other contextual things like--who are you saying this to? Teams? Individuals? Someone who knows the principle, or someone who doesn't? – simchona Dec 30 '12 at 7:43
Can you elaborate on "this guy"? Does he know what KISS is, as this seems to be something of importance given your comments on answers? – simchona Dec 30 '12 at 7:53
Much ado about nothing here, I think. "Keep it simple" is ingrained into the lexicon enough that it wouldn't be construed to be insinuating the other person was 'stupid'. By itself, it's used often enough in inoffensive ways. – J.R. Dec 30 '12 at 10:53
Moreover, perhaps this is a generational thing, but, after examining your example, I think some people might be more inclined to be offended by the word "dude," than by the phrase "let's keep it simple" (although that would depend on the relationship between the parties talking, of course). – J.R. Dec 30 '12 at 11:00
up vote 7 down vote accepted

Wikipedia lists several interesting variants to the "KISS principle":

  • "Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication" attributed to Leonardo da Vinci — sounds best to me.
  • "keep it super simple"
  • "keep it simple and straightforward"
  • "keep it simple and sincere."
  • "Less is more"
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"Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication" is my new favorite, although "Less is more" applies the principle itself – rraallvv Dec 30 '12 at 7:54
I've also heard, Keep It Short & Simple, Or Face Frustration. (Ironically, although that phrase may be less "offensive," the resulting acronym is perhaps more so.) – J.R. Dec 30 '12 at 11:01

'Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler.' (Attributed to Albert Einstein)

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That's for sure, coming from someone that unified matter, energy and light in an equation with three variables. – rraallvv Dec 30 '12 at 8:01

There's nothing offensive about the KISS principle itself, despite the last S being humourously inserted in the acronym to make a full word.

Anyway, keeping it simple by saying "keep it simple" certainly isn't offensive, whether they know about the acronym or not.

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My father always used KISMIF: Keep It Simple; Make it Fun. That's not offensive. It seems to come from the Cub Scouts. I can remember it from that far back: pre: 1954.

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Two effective and succinct sayings in place of KISS:

“If you can't explain it to a six year old, you don't understand it yourself.” ― Albert Einstein

"Simplicity is about subtracting the obvious and adding the meaningful.” ― John Maeda, The Laws of Simplicity: Design, Technology, Business, Life

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I know it as "Keep It Short and Sweet". Hence, a kiss.

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"keep it short n' simple" is my advice to English exam candidates. – Mari-Lou A Aug 14 '13 at 16:06

Keep it simple stupid doesn't seem offensive to me. But if you are concerned about the word stupid, you can be well off without it. So saying let's keep it simple will still get your point across.

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"let's keep it simple" would get the point across without sounding offensive, "keep it simple" is kind of offensive if the other person know about the KISS principle – rraallvv Dec 30 '12 at 7:40
@rraallvv: I disagree with that; see my comment above. "Keep it simple" is used without the extra S-word often enough that stupidity is unlikely to be implied. – J.R. Dec 30 '12 at 10:54

If you tell someone to KISS, then it can be offensive.

I would not be offended if you suggested that we applied the KISS principle to the issue...

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It sounds good for team work, but how to suggest someone to apply the KISS principle on his own, if that person does know about the KISS principle – rraallvv Dec 30 '12 at 7:40

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