signal-to-noise ratio [from analog electronics] /n./ Used by
hackers in a generalization of its technical meaning. `Signal'
refers to useful information conveyed by some communications
medium, and `noise' to anything else on that medium. Hence a low
ratio implies that it is not worth paying attention to the medium
in question. Figures for such metaphorical ratios are never given.
The term is most often applied to Usenet newsgroups during
flame wars. Compare bandwidth. See also coefficient
of X, lost in the noise.
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