I'm a very technical person, and I honestly don't think I'd ever heard of it. I spent a decent bit of time looking on the site trying to figure out what it was before resorting to Google.
It's not a huge deal, but seems to me like it would be helpful, and worth the effort.
So no, I'd say it's actually not worth the effort to add an explanation. It may even give real users the wrong idea.
So you've never visited a web site, read a bit about a topic you knew nothing about, and then thought, "Wow, that sounds like something I'd like to get into?"
There are a lot of people out there who are curious about the world around them and enjoy expanding what they know instead of stagnating in a knowledge silo.
You seem to think I was nitpicking the post (unless I'm reading you wrong), and that was not at all my intention.
> CAN is obscure enough that I’d never heard of it.
These types of statements are why I said “insist”.
There is really is almost no way to make statements like these without sounding foolish. You’re asking us to posit some compelling reason that anything you don’t know is “obscure”!
As someone doing quite a bit of technical writing I’m sensitive to this topic because it really is a type of bikeshedding, which is a patently destructive criticism (even if usually unintentional). It might not be bikeshedding if one has some stronger evidence. My evidence is that CAN is in the marketing material for any automotive car scanner from $10 to $10000. It’s literally as ubiquitous as Ethernet in the US and Europe. As someone else mentioned this really doesn’t matter, what matters is if the term is obscure to the intended users/audience.
Tech writing is about economy, and there are thoughtful discussions to be had about what needs to be described, and what is assumed from the audience and providing an ideal user experience. Appeals to ones own experience unless you’re a member of a special audience are usually the worst.
But not what a CAN bus is. There's no harm in making the word blue.
CAN is also used outside of Automotive. Even Google is using it for their servers, or better for the redundant power supplies for their servers. HP is using it in their printers and copy-machines.
The thing is, there is always a technology you don't know. There is your preferred search engine and Wikipedia to help you with that knowledge, these days.
PS: These days almost everybody miss the difference between Ethernet and TCP/IP. While everybody talks about Ethernet most of the time TCP/IP is meant, not Ethernet.