Dear AskMeFi users. Here are the fifty most popular names in the US for women and men. Please choose from these names when referring to people you want to be anonymous, instead of calling them "X" December 7, 2010 3:00 AM   Subscribe

Dear AskMeFi users. Here are the fifty most popular names in the US for women and men. Please choose from these names when referring to people you want to be anonymous, instead of calling them "X", or "Y" or "Z" or "Person X", or "Friend Y" or "Co-worker Z". For some reason I find it hard to follow stories which say "and then F said to J, 'I don't like D, but don't tell C, she'd be heartbroken' and J was all 'Oh F, I agree about D but what about T?'"

Mary, Patricia, Linda, Barbara, Elizabeth, Jennifer, Maria, Susan, Margaret, Dorothy, Lisa, Nancy, Karen, Betty, Helen, Sandra, Donna, Carol, Ruth, Sharon, Michelle, Laura, Sarah, Kimberly, Deborah, Jessica, Shirley, Cynthia, Angela, Melissa, Brenda, Amy, Anna, Rebecca, Virginia, Kathleen, Pamela, Martha, Debra, Amanda, Stephanie, Carolyn, Christine, Marie, Janet, Catherine, Frances, Ann, Joyce, Diane.

James, John, Robert, Michael, William, David, Richard, Charles, Joseph, Thomas, Christopher, Daniel, Paul, Mark, Donald, George, Kenneth, Steven, Edward, Brian, Ronald, Anthony, Kevin, Jason, Matthew, Gary, Timothy, Jose, Larry, Jeffrey, Frank, Scott, Eric, Stephen, Andrew, Raymond, Gregory, Joshua, Jerry, Dennis, Walter, Patrick, Peter, Harold, Douglas, Henry, Carl, Arthur, Ryan, Roger.
posted by AmbroseChapel to Etiquette/Policy at 3:00 AM (149 comments total) 10 users marked this as a favorite

Shirley, you can't be serious.
posted by chillmost at 3:18 AM on December 7, 2010 [10 favorites]


Please don't call me Shirley, I prefer "S".
posted by lee at 3:19 AM on December 7, 2010 [10 favorites]


Roger, Roger.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 3:20 AM on December 7, 2010 [5 favorites]


Hey, not all of us are talking about people who fall within the cultural groups represented in those lists, not all of us are American, and not all of us want to take the time to think up pseudonyms for the people we're talking about...
posted by bardophile at 3:30 AM on December 7, 2010 [15 favorites]


Also, calling them A, B, and C, etc. emphasizes that these are anonymous people who you (the readers and answerers) don't actually know, which may be a benefit.
posted by bardophile at 3:31 AM on December 7, 2010 [8 favorites]


Walt!
posted by Burhanistan at 3:32 AM on December 7, 2010 [15 favorites]


Also, reading Metafilter has eaten your brain.
posted by Burhanistan at 3:33 AM on December 7, 2010 [7 favorites]


You're an Aussie. How could you not include Sheila? That's just un-Orstrayan. Everyone knows that Sheila is a really popular name here, just ask Oprah.

And Bruce. (I knew a Sheila once and she was a dumb as a brick. I know two Bruce's, one is a truck driver and one is a dog and they are both dumb as bricks. Hmm, I think the dog is smarter, actually.)

And now I'm obliged to use Sheila and Bruce, if ever I ask one of those questions.

And can you tell I'm already sick to death of the Oprahfication of Oz? God help them if they turn up in Mudgee. And can you tell I've been into Logan's chardonnay?
posted by malibustacey9999 at 3:40 AM on December 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


This is a suboptimal solution to an already solved problem: Nobody is going to memorize a list of popular names for use in an anonymous post, and using arbitrary names just confuses everybody. You need to make like a cryptologist, and use canonical person variables, the well-known Alice and Bob.
posted by Dr Dracator at 3:40 AM on December 7, 2010 [9 favorites]


Personally, I do not like the following words and phrases and would like to request that they be replaced (automatically if necessary) with the following alternatives in all future AskMe posts.

boyfriend → hoopnaggle
girlfriend → fromp
landlord → snif-u-lon
forgot to refrigerate it → bobble-bobbed my whoopsy
hive mind → pololo'ar
get a lawyer → yot1
lawyer up → yot2
therapy → frinketyshabs
special snowflake → KREEEEEEEKEEKEEKEEKEEKEE
hon → zapapptar

Thank you.
posted by No-sword at 3:48 AM on December 7, 2010 [100 favorites]


Wow. You probably should get out more or something. Strangest call out ever.
posted by octothorpe at 3:54 AM on December 7, 2010 [2 favorites]


Just substitute appropriate names in your head. For me, most of these stories have a Fuckface and a Flapjack. I formulate my answer in my head -- "Listen, Flapjack, just tell Fuckface to get a job." -- and then translate back to the original variable names before posting my cheery reply to the warty-dicked anonymous poster.

I hope this has been helpful, Shitknob.
posted by pracowity at 4:00 AM on December 7, 2010 [61 favorites]


Oops.
posted by pracowity at 4:00 AM on December 7, 2010 [12 favorites]


I was discussing this with my brother Andrew the other day and... GOD DAMN IT. He is called Andrew. This list of names is no help at all.
posted by seanyboy at 4:02 AM on December 7, 2010 [6 favorites]


I didn't make the top fifty.
posted by francesca too at 4:06 AM on December 7, 2010


You're assuming all the people who ask complicated RelationshipFilter questions are avid readers of MetaTalk.

There is no enforcement mechanism for this, or indeed any $PET_PEEVE_PHRASE_OR_WORD. Asking people to refrain from x, y or z in MetaTalk does jack shit, unless it's something blatantly racist, sexist or otherwise discriminatory that passes the mod test and is hence enforceable. I'm not going to ask you to stop doing it, however, because there is literally no point. See?
posted by Happy Dave at 4:11 AM on December 7, 2010


This is a technical problem while the proposed solution is social.

What you need is a greasemonkey script.
posted by DU at 4:15 AM on December 7, 2010 [9 favorites]


I think we should just pull in random usernames from MeFi when we want to anonymize things. That would go over well, and everybody likes seeing their name in print!
posted by iamkimiam at 4:19 AM on December 7, 2010 [38 favorites]


I also have a hard time following "A said to B" stuff, so I agree with this, but instead of the fifty most common names it should be the fifty most prolific MetaFilter posters.
posted by dirtdirt at 4:21 AM on December 7, 2010 [3 favorites]


Shazbot.
posted by dirtdirt at 4:22 AM on December 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


Mods, user "EE" is copying me!
posted by iamkimiam at 4:22 AM on December 7, 2010 [2 favorites]


And thtop calling me George. My nameth Shylvether
Now that's worth a callout. Don't call them "A" 'cause I can't remember "A", on the other hand...
posted by Namlit at 4:28 AM on December 7, 2010


I love you from the bottom of my pencil case
I love you in the songs, I write and sing
Love you because, you put me in my rightful place
And I love the PRS cheques, that you bring
Cheap, never cheap
I'll sing you songs till you're asleep
When you've gone upstairs I'II creep
And write it all down
Oh Shirley, Oh Deborah, Oh Julie, Oh Jane
I wrote so many songs about you
I forget your name (I forget your name)
Jennifer, Alison, Phillipa, Sue, Deborah, Annabel, too

Jennifer, Alison, Phillipa, Sue, Deborah, Annabel, too
I forget your name
posted by MuffinMan at 4:37 AM on December 7, 2010 [6 favorites]


My recommendation, based on the feedback given above, is that you avoid this kind of topic on AskMe if you find it hard to follow the discussion. There are sooo many fish in the (AskMe) sea.
posted by kalessin at 4:48 AM on December 7, 2010


I propose we call everyone Mary.
posted by londonmark at 4:51 AM on December 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


Dear Metafilter:

My best friend Kay is interested in Jay, who just broke up from a LTR with Bea. Kay told this to two other friends of hers, Dee and Em. Em is friends with this other guy, Zed, who is friends with both Jay and I. Zed told me that Jay is interested in Dee, not Kay. What should I do?
posted by SomeTrickPony at 4:57 AM on December 7, 2010 [18 favorites]


I think i'll just use the names of the folks from the infinite jest and link to the map.
posted by Nanukthedog at 4:58 AM on December 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


I propose we call everyone Mary.

You'll all be named Beverly.
posted by DU at 5:00 AM on December 7, 2010


Example:

This Patricia/Linda problem has been driving me crazy: in Paul, URLs that are coded: www.Dorothy.ee are rendered on screen as 'http://www.Margaret.ee/' but as you can see the Charles is not in the label. Similarly, mailto: links have the 'mailto:' rendered in front of them even though this only appears in the Joseph attribute. It only happens with the associated stylesheet, not if I view the non-styled Christopher doc in Sandra. It does not happen in any other browser.
posted by doublehappy at 5:06 AM on December 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


Askmefi next year, but the famous American woman. "X" or "I" and "or" X "View" or "and" People want an answer to your name Anonymous.
posted by doublehappy at 5:08 AM on December 7, 2010


For some reason I find it hard to follow stories which say "and then F said to J, 'I don't like D, but don't tell C, she'd be heartbroken' and J was all 'Oh F, I agree about D but what about T?'"

If you're finding it hard to follow, then don't answer the question. Problem solved!
posted by nomadicink at 5:16 AM on December 7, 2010 [4 favorites]


Jackie was a rich punk rocker
A silver spoon and a paper plate.
posted by sundrop at 5:30 AM on December 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


I was discussing this with my brother Andrew the other day and... GOD DAMN IT. He is called Andrew. This list of names is no help at all.

Crap, my brother's name is Andrew, too. Now I am worried that you and I are actually the same person....
posted by GenjiandProust at 5:42 AM on December 7, 2010 [2 favorites]


I think we should just pull in random usernames from MeFi when we want to anonymize things. That would go over well, and everybody likes seeing their name in print!

Well, it would certainly make meetups interesting:

"Hey, didn't I read on AskMe that you're a nymphomaniac with a predilection for Jewish cowboys? It's a pleasure to meet you. I'm Bucky Goldstein."
posted by zarq at 5:43 AM on December 7, 2010 [4 favorites]


I don;t get it, just call everyone by their designation, Alpha, Beta, Charlie, Delta ..

excuse me, it's time for my treatment.
posted by The Whelk at 5:46 AM on December 7, 2010 [4 favorites]


Dorothy? Ruth? Helen? When is this list from? Are those really still the most common?
posted by Miko at 5:55 AM on December 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


Common women's names, not common female baby names.
posted by DU at 5:58 AM on December 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


Babies have stupid names anyway.
posted by The Whelk at 5:59 AM on December 7, 2010 [11 favorites]


You're an Aussie. How could you not include Sheila? That's just un-Orstrayan.

And Bruce.


(cue Philosopher's Song)
posted by briank at 6:00 AM on December 7, 2010


Dear AmbroseChapel,

If that really IS your name.

No.

Signed,
X
posted by Splunge at 6:01 AM on December 7, 2010


Wow, the December's Weirdest Meta Contest is really tough this year. Think I'll sit this one out.
posted by JoanArkham at 6:04 AM on December 7, 2010 [5 favorites]


AmbroseChapel, I'm sorry everyone is making fun of your suggestion. I want you to know at least person heard you and is taking it seriously. I am extremely guilty of the A, B, C thing (though, for some reason, I also use "Fred" a lot). And if it doesn't work -- if it's confusing -- then I need to stop. Clear writing is important to me, and I'm grateful to anyone who points out ways that I can be clearer -- so thanks!

And you're not stupid. Or, if you are, you have company. I've been confused by this sort of thing, too. Funny that I didn't think, "Well, if it confused me, it might confuse someone else, too."
posted by grumblebee at 6:04 AM on December 7, 2010 [10 favorites]


100 Helens...er...100 Marys agree.
Nope, doesn't work.
posted by BozoBurgerBonanza at 6:04 AM on December 7, 2010


I totally agree with the spirit of this post! Names, people, names.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 6:08 AM on December 7, 2010 [2 favorites]


"Hey, didn't I read on AskMe that you're a nymphomaniac with a predilection for Jewish cowboys? It's a pleasure to meet you. I'm Bucky Goldstein."

Actually, I think your name is Steven Wright.
posted by John Cohen at 6:10 AM on December 7, 2010 [3 favorites]


I was wondering if anyone other than stavros would be able to identify the reference. :)
posted by zarq at 6:13 AM on December 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


The reason I tend to use A, B and C, in addition to wanting to generalize, is to avoid odd connotations creeping into my examples:

A: I've always wanted to own a restaurant.

B: Personally, I'd like to own a diner.

vs.

Alice: I've always wanted to own a restaurant.

Joe: Personally, I'd like to own a diner.

If I did that by accident (e.g. if I'd never heard of "Alice's Restaurant"), I'd have to wade through all the "I see what you did there" posts which would inevitably follow.

I've even noticed this happening when I use "Fred" for something unconnected to Freds. As soon as I use a name, my example becomes -- personalized.

If I write...

A: I hate "Star Wars" because the acting is terrible.

... people seem more likely to engage with the point I'm trying to make (whatever that is).

If I write...

Fred: I hate "Star Wars" because the acting is terrible.

... people start joking about Fred: "Wait 'til Fred sees the prequels! He'll REALLY be upset then!"

But I guess I'd rather risk that then causing confusion.
posted by grumblebee at 6:14 AM on December 7, 2010 [2 favorites]


Askmefi next year, but the famous American woman.

Shaka, when the walls fell?
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 6:15 AM on December 7, 2010 [11 favorites]


Common women's names, not common female baby names.

Yep. Dorothy, Ruth, and Helen were all top 100 names in the 1950s, and a most of those 1950s babies are still quite alive.
posted by pracowity at 6:18 AM on December 7, 2010


Here are the fifty most popular names in the US for women and men.

Yeah, I'm with Miko. We're in "cite, please" territory now.
posted by mediareport at 6:20 AM on December 7, 2010


I'm also kinda with grumblebee. Use names, not letters.
posted by mediareport at 6:21 AM on December 7, 2010


FWIW, I've asked this previously, and while I did get some very interesting poetry, it didn't cause any lasting change. (And I guess I really didn't think it would.)

Jessamyn chimes in on that other thread with a mod perspective.
posted by jacquilynne at 6:26 AM on December 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


Haha, once I posted a question involving a handful of anonymous people. I toyed with the idea of using A, B, C and so on, but instead decided to use pseudonyms. Then everyone in the thread expressed confusion trying to keep track of the names. One person explicitly said, next time just use A, B, C and be done with it!

Different strokes.
posted by malapropist at 6:29 AM on December 7, 2010


I wrote a letter to an advice columnist once, about a problem I was having with a nutcase co-worker. Describing her behavior in the letter, I said, "I'll call her 'Lisa.'" Her name really was Lisa. Oh! I am ever so naughty!
posted by Gator at 6:33 AM on December 7, 2010 [5 favorites]


The women's names copied, pasted, and googled (inside quotation marks) bring you here (where "here" is a bunch of sites that have nothing to do with popular American names) and ditto men's names.

Maybe there is a historical longview in the algorithm that would make names like Roger, Virginia, and Donald among the 50 most popular, but that also struck me as odd.
posted by Rudy Gerner at 6:34 AM on December 7, 2010


Clearly the correct methodology is to use metasyntactic variables.
posted by empath at 6:38 AM on December 7, 2010


I don;t get it, just call everyone by their designation, Alpha, Beta, Charlie, Delta ..

I basically do this when I'm writing stories and haven't come up with decent names for characters. First male is Andy, first female is Alice, second male is Bill, second female is Brenda, and so on.
posted by empath at 6:41 AM on December 7, 2010


Yeah, I'm with Miko. We're in "cite, please" territory now.

This would make a good t-shirt.
posted by nomadicink at 6:42 AM on December 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


To heed grumblebee's fine example of addressing the issue, I wouldn't mind using names. But I think it's better if they're very unlikely names, like the names of planets or ancient Greek gods. That way we avoid the "association" problem to some degree in that we're not envisioning people we know. Also, that's just fun.

However, the way I get around the A, B, C confusion is just to make up new names for them in my head. Wherever I see "A" I think "Amy" or what have you.
posted by Miko at 6:48 AM on December 7, 2010


Okay, what about this: Sneezy, Sleepy, Dopey, Doc, Happy, Bashful, Grumpy.
If your plot needs more names use the other languages:
Chef, Happy, Hatschi, Brummbär, Pimpi, Seppi, Schlafmütze.
Prosit, Trötter, Kloker, Butter, Glader, Blyger, Toker.

(I say this only because using random MeFite's usernames instead of X, Y, and Z would be kind of impractical.)
posted by Namlit at 6:49 AM on December 7, 2010 [3 favorites]


Here are ten ordinary names, each one starting with a subsequent letter of the alphabet. I tried to make them be names that look and sound different from each other.

Alice
Bob
Cindy
Dwane
Emma
Frank
Gladys
Howard
Isabelle
Jordan
posted by grumblebee at 6:52 AM on December 7, 2010


Gator: "I wrote a letter to an advice columnist once, about a problem I was having with a nutcase co-worker. Describing her behavior in the letter, I said, "I'll call her 'Lisa.'" Her name really was Lisa. Oh! I am ever so naughty"

I've always thought that was the way to go. As long as it's not a truly unique name * then it would work. People get their names, and I don't have to remember who has what fake name.

*Unique is not a unique name. Sorry, but you're an idiot.
posted by theichibun at 6:52 AM on December 7, 2010


I think that Dr Dracator's link meets the needs already and is already a well articulated standard that can provide pseudonyms that differentiate 26 unique dramatis personae.

That said, it's like herding cats around here, so good luck establishing a standard.
posted by kalessin at 6:53 AM on December 7, 2010


Yeah, I'm with Miko. We're in "cite, please" territory now.

http://www.census.gov/genealogy/names/:
The Census Bureau receives numerous requests to supply information on name frequency. In an effort to comply with those requests, the Census Bureau has embarked on a names list project involving a tabulation of names from the 1990 Census. These files contain only the frequency of a given name, no specific individual information.
http://www.census.gov/genealogy/names/dist.female.first:
1. A "Name"
2. Frequency in percent
3. Cumulative Frequency in percent
4. Rank

MARY 2.629 2.629 1
PATRICIA 1.073 3.702 2
LINDA 1.035 4.736 3
BARBARA 0.980 5.716 4
ELIZABETH 0.937 6.653 5
JENNIFER 0.932 7.586 6
MARIA 0.828 8.414 7
SUSAN 0.794 9.209 8
MARGARET 0.768 9.976 9
DOROTHY 0.727 10.703 10
etc.

http://www.census.gov/genealogy/names/dist.male.first:
JAMES 3.318 3.318 1
JOHN 3.271 6.589 2
ROBERT 3.143 9.732 3
MICHAEL 2.629 12.361 4
WILLIAM 2.451 14.812 5
DAVID 2.363 17.176 6
RICHARD 1.703 18.878 7
CHARLES 1.523 20.401 8
JOSEPH 1.404 21.805 9
THOMAS 1.380 23.185 10
etc.
posted by pracowity at 6:57 AM on December 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


I often have trouble following these complex questions with names replaced by single letters. It's like my brain only allows so many processing cycles before it throws an exception and aborts to the "So... what is your actual question?" error handler.

Next time I see one, I'll try copying and pasting the text and then replacing the single letters with names. I'm interested to see if that helps with my understanding, or if it's just that I'm no good at following a question that describes a long series of interactions between many people.

Whatever the outcome, I think the understanding problem is mine, not a problem with the question or the person asking it.
posted by FishBike at 7:02 AM on December 7, 2010


I can't follow the Friend named X stuff either. But I also can't make myself read stuff where people are named Betty, Beverly, Fay or really old fashioned named. The minute someone says, "Who I'll call [whatever name]" my mind shuts off.
posted by anniecat at 7:06 AM on December 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


I don't have time to research it right now, but I noticed how utterly inaccurate the "50 top names" were and thought about doing a response, or even a post about it. The American Name Society works with the census data each year to review male and female naming trends. They've been looking at the data as far back as they can go. They even have this super cool modelling system that shows the phonemic, morphological and lexical (name) cycles in 3-D space!...it's fairly predictable what is going in and out of style, even as new types of names entire the onomastic lexicon. Maybe somebody can take this ball and run with it...
posted by iamkimiam at 7:07 AM on December 7, 2010 [2 favorites]


If you're finding it hard to follow, then don't answer the question. Problem solved!

This is what I do. It works!
posted by headnsouth at 7:12 AM on December 7, 2010


I have this problem and generally don't answer AskMes where A,B, and C have a complicated backstory that requires a lot of explanation. I just assume it's because of poor lifestyle decisions in my twenties that resulted in brain cells not up to the task of relationship algebra.

Other people seem to keep it straight though so I figure assuming I'm not alone in not being up to the task of parsing the question, enough people manage so the person gets some good answers.
posted by A Terrible Llama at 7:14 AM on December 7, 2010


Just get a transcript of this and you'll have all the random names you need.
posted by Burhanistan at 7:25 AM on December 7, 2010


I have this problem and generally don't answer AskMes where A,B, and C have a complicated backstory that requires a lot of explanation. I just assume it's because of poor lifestyle decisions in my twenties that resulted in brain cells not up to the task of relationship algebra.

I have this same problem [as linked to above]. For whatever reason, people seem to have a slightly easier time parsing names in a long complicated relationshipfilter question than letters. That said, people are probably going to use letters anyhow. I would also suggest, since we're making suggestions, that people try to make their relationship questions shorter, eliminate attempts at ambiguous gender (tends to not work so well, and many situations are actually NOT the same if the gender's are reversed), let people know where they generally live, and if they're writing a book, say so at the outset.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 7:28 AM on December 7, 2010 [7 favorites]


I just use "Person that is not me" and "Other Person that is not me".

Feel free to use the same system: "Person that is not quin", "Another Person that is not quin", etc. I find it makes things very simple.
posted by quin at 7:35 AM on December 7, 2010


I am a big fan of just calling everyone Larry.
posted by routergirl at 7:38 AM on December 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


A certain...agitator...for privacy's sake let's call her...Lisa S. No, that's too obvious...uuuh, let's say L. Simpson
posted by graventy at 7:40 AM on December 7, 2010 [3 favorites]


I have this problem and generally don't answer AskMes where A,B, and C have a complicated backstory that requires a lot of explanation.

My brain has trouble parsing questions where people purposefully obscure gender, e.g. "My S.O. just got a job in a new city. They really want to take it, but I don't want to move. He or she is threatening to break up with me if I don't tag along with him or her, but I think they are being unreasonable..."

Often, I don't get why the poster did this. It doesn't really help anonymize the question. If I was the poster's spouse, I wouldn't read it and think, "Well, that can't be about me, because I have a specific gender." And, often, I can't see how knowing the gender would bias answers, though, I guess in my example it could, because some non-Feminists think women should make accommodations for men. But I've seen plenty of posts where gender is obscured for no reason that I can fathom.
posted by grumblebee at 7:42 AM on December 7, 2010


> My brain has trouble parsing questions where people purposefully obscure gender

Don't answer them. If you have a problem with a question then don't answer it. AskMe isn't for your reading pleasure nor is it there to make sense of the world. It's merely an aggregate of specific people's specific issues that they are looking for input on. It is ok to just ignore it.
posted by Burhanistan at 7:44 AM on December 7, 2010


I have this problem and generally don't answer AskMes where A,B, and C have a complicated backstory that requires a lot of explanation. I just assume it's because of poor lifestyle decisions in my twenties that resulted in brain cells not up to the task of relationship algebra.

That's funny, because most questions with complicated backstories are usually the result of someone's poor lifestyle decisions in their twenties.
posted by malapropist at 7:46 AM on December 7, 2010 [3 favorites]


eliminate attempts at ambiguous gender (tends to not work so well, and many situations are actually NOT the same if the gender's are reversed)

I agree with this — but not because "many situations" are supposedly different if the genders are reversed. I do think there are many questions where it'd be nice to get answers that don't depend on preconceptions about gender. In principle, I'm in favor of asking questions with the bland, gender-neutral, singular "they" in an attempt to minimize gender bias, but this simply doesn't work in practice. Obscuring gender doesn't cause the readers not to think about gender. It causes them to think about gender more. We've seen comments along the lines of: "You are so a dude! Typical man!" Anyone who's asking a human relations question and wants to minimize the importance of gender should make sure to specify everyone's gender.

Oh, and everyone who's saying just don't answer the question if you don't like it! ... Come on. If there are some slight tweaks that would make questions a little more readable, those should be encouraged. This is not like the "Someone posted a question about drugs/guns/copyright infringment!" callouts. If a more clearly written question will get more answers, that will lead to better answers, which will help the OP.
posted by John Cohen at 8:01 AM on December 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


Personally, I do not like the following words and phrases and would like to request that they be replaced (automatically if necessary) with the following alternatives in all future AskMe posts.

boyfriend → hoopnaggle
girlfriend → fromp
landlord → snif-u-lon
forgot to refrigerate it → bobble-bobbed my whoopsy
hive mind → pololo'ar
get a lawyer → yot1
lawyer up → yot2
therapy → frinketyshabs
special snowflake → KREEEEEEEKEEKEEKEEKEEKEE
hon → zapapptar


Oh, please, for all that is good, please someone who knows how, please make me a greasemonkey script for this!
posted by typewriter at 8:06 AM on December 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


Fudgey Elizabeth Brownies
  • 2 Cups Thomas
  • 2 oz melted Maria
  • 1 stick Karen, room temp
  • 2 Harolds
  • 1 cup Larry (dutch process)
  • 1 tsp Amy
  • a pinch of David
  • and half a tsp Elizabeth, or if you're daring a whole tsp.
  • Half a bag of Scott chips
Combine dry ingredients, then wet ingredients and incorporate wet into dry, being careful not to over mix. Pour into a greased pan and bake for 30 to 40 minutes in a 350° oven.
posted by fontophilic at 8:09 AM on December 7, 2010 [4 favorites]


That's why I intend to use the following pseudonyms on my next anonymous askme (feel free to borrow): Humperdink, Poopskidoo, Tits McGee, Snugglewumps, and StrawberryMuffin.
posted by phunniemee at 8:12 AM on December 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


Please stop calling them "women." "Desperate, ass-jittering cattle" is the preferred nomenclature.
posted by TrialByMedia at 8:13 AM on December 7, 2010 [3 favorites]


Boy, "desperate, ass-jittering cattle" really is poetry. I forget about it for a while and whenever it bubbles back up to the surface I just fall in love all over again.
posted by dirtdirt at 8:25 AM on December 7, 2010


I would also suggest, since we're making suggestions, that people try to make their relationship questions shorter, eliminate attempts at ambiguous gender (tends to not work so well, and many situations are actually NOT the same if the gender's are reversed), let people know where they generally live, and if they're writing a book, say so at the outset.

Another good idea is to not have relationship problems. Depending on your personality, this may require giving up problems or it may require giving up relationships.
posted by DU at 8:31 AM on December 7, 2010 [10 favorites]


I've actually considered writing a similar MetaTalk post for a while. Initials really make reading and parsing questions difficult, particularly in the types of involved questions in which they are typically used. Choosing false names is not difficult, and it makes things much more understandable. I'm sure it doesn't have a chance in hell of happening.
posted by OmieWise at 8:35 AM on December 7, 2010


I don't have time to research it right now, but I noticed how utterly inaccurate the "50 top names" were

It's really interesting to me how that list has produced this response. My immediate response to "that list is obviously wrong" was, as pracowity noted with his links, "no, it's totally plausible, go read the census data".

And it's interesting because both reactions are right, but they're reading the presented idea of "popular names" differently. Dorothy isn't exactly in vogue right now, but there are a hell of a lot of women named Dorothy in the US and shifting fashion doesn't change that fact. The gut rejection basically comes down to "no, those are old people names". Which a read on popularity as an expression of au courrant (a pretty reasonable read) justifies, I guess.

But a list of popular baby names might read weird too, because people aren't asking questions about complicated human relationship problems concerning babies. If Jayden and Kaiden or whatever kept showing up in divorce-proceedings stuff, that'd be odd as well. Less odd in twenty years, but this right now.

So if you really wanted to nail down a list of names, you'd want to do maybe a mix of popular baby names for births staggered over a window from, say, 25 to 45 years ago. Use that as your aggregate, recalculate popularity, and you've got a more fitting picture of what kinds of names could fill a list that no one would blink at.
posted by cortex (staff) at 8:35 AM on December 7, 2010 [4 favorites]


That said, my feeling (as someone who doesn't really spend much time reading these questions if I don't have to, so take that for what it's worth) is that the fundamental problem here is that storing lots of variables and processing relationships between those while reading a novel situation is hard work. Some people prefer names for that sort of thing, some people prefer initials (lots of programmers and logic nerds around here), some people find it easy and some people find it less easy.

Erring on the side of names is maybe a good idea just because it's more likely to be comfortable for a wide audience to read, but erring on the side of fewer variables of any sort would be a lot more effective. Unfortunately, life doesn't always constrain itself accordingly and if your question's complexity can't be reduced, it can't be reduced.
posted by cortex (staff) at 8:39 AM on December 7, 2010


I don;t get it, just call everyone by their designation, Alpha, Beta, Charlie, Delta ..

Alpha BRAVO Charlie Delta, you fucking dolt. You couldn't even stumble your way to the second fucking letter before fucking it up. How the fuck can you get on a fucking high horse & presume to fucking tell other people to use a fucking system that you can't even fucking get the fucking basics of right your fucking self?!??

(3am nappy change; back to bed)
posted by UbuRoivas at 8:47 AM on December 7, 2010 [5 favorites]


It's really interesting to me how that list has produced this response.

People hear so much about the top McTrendy baby names being Jacob and Sophia that they forget most of us weren't born yesterday.
posted by pracowity at 8:54 AM on December 7, 2010


RAY
posted by pianomover at 8:55 AM on December 7, 2010


Alpha BRAVO Charlie Delta, you fucking dolt. You couldn't even stumble your way to the second fucking letter before fucking it up. How the fuck can you get on a fucking high horse & presume to fucking tell other people to use a fucking system that you can't even fucking get the fucking basics of right your fucking self?!??

I totally heard this comment in the voice of R. Lee Ermey a la this commercial
posted by miss-lapin at 8:57 AM on December 7, 2010 [5 favorites]


Why do I have to be Mr. Pink?
posted by spikeleemajortomdickandharryconnickjrmints at 9:01 AM on December 7, 2010 [2 favorites]


How about we draw our sobriquets from the works of Alexander Pope? Cornus, Esdras, Bufo, Balbus, Bestia, Fanny, Thalestris...all italicized, naturally.

Further, let no answer be marked best unless it's delivered in heroic couplets:
Let swiftest Action our wise words beget:
There's time to dump the Motherfucker yet.
posted by Iridic at 9:01 AM on December 7, 2010 [18 favorites]


some people prefer initials (lots of programmers and logic nerds around here)

Use descriptive variable names, dammit!
posted by Jpfed at 9:04 AM on December 7, 2010 [2 favorites]


BRAVO

There's a brilliant throwaway joke on the TV show Archer involving the main character reading something off and failing to use the phonetic alphabet, he says "B" to which someone irritably corrects him with "Bravo", he immediately obliviously responds with "Thanks" and goes on without pause.

The whole scene lasts about three seconds and is a total blink-and-you'll-miss-it moment.

Gods damn I can't wait till January when it comes back.
posted by quin at 9:06 AM on December 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


Use descriptive variable names, dammit!

Dear Askme: I've been having trouble keeping both my best friends happy. I love strChildhoodPal to death, but she doesn't react well when I choose to spend time with szWorkFriend some weekends, even though szWorkFriend has very limited freetime because of his arrThreeKids...
posted by cortex (staff) at 9:16 AM on December 7, 2010 [3 favorites]


Can I just say, now when I post my first relationship filter question, I will probably spend an hour trying to decide on the names?

(Tentatively: Luke, Harry, Neo, Frodo, Bob; Wendy, Matilda, Elanor, Ramona, Jane.)
posted by SMPA at 9:16 AM on December 7, 2010 [2 favorites]


UbuRoivas: Alpha BRAVO Charlie Delta, you fucking dolt. You couldn't even stumble your way to the second fucking letter before fucking it up. How the fuck can you get on a fucking high horse & presume to fucking tell other people to use a fucking system that you can't even fucking get the fucking basics of right your fucking self?!??

miss-lapin: I totally heard this comment in the voice of R. Lee Ermey a la this commercial

I heard it in the voice of Dennis Hopper as Frank Booth -- even the "(3am nappy change; back to bed)" bit, which amused me to a degree that's just plain wrong and unsettling.
posted by bakerina at 9:19 AM on December 7, 2010 [3 favorites]


Able Baker Charlie Delta Echo Foxtrot...so many of these. Let's use the NATO one.
posted by fixedgear at 9:29 AM on December 7, 2010


http://www.census.gov/genealogy/names/dist.female.first:
1. A "Name"
2. Frequency in percent
3. Cumulative Frequency in percent
4. Rank

MARY 2.629 2.629 1 ...


Fucking Catholics.
posted by maudlin at 10:01 AM on December 7, 2010


Whatever, AmbroseChapel-AmbroseChapel-banana-fana-bo-bapel-fee-fi-mo-mapel-AmbroseChapel!
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 10:08 AM on December 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


Hey! Kids! We're eatin' dinner tonight! Tiffany, Heather, Cody, Dylan, Dermot, Jordan, Taylor, Brittany, Wesley, Rumer, Scout, Cassidy, Zoe, Chloe, Max, Hunter, Kendall, Caitlin, Noah, Sasha, Morgan, Kyra, Ian, Lauren, Qbert, Phil!
posted by Skot at 10:15 AM on December 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


Fucking Catholics.

Exactly.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 10:22 AM on December 7, 2010


Fucking Catholics.

Well yes. Catholics make babies the same way as everyone else, of course.
posted by GodricVT at 10:38 AM on December 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


My brain has trouble parsing questions where people purposefully obscure gender

Don't answer them. If you have a problem with a question then don't answer it. AskMe isn't for your reading pleasure nor is it there to make sense of the world.

That response strikes me as odd, because I never said I thought of AskMe as being for my reading pleasure. It's fun to read, sometimes, but mostly I think of it as a site for getting help and for helping people.

When I post a question, I want it to be as clear as possible to as many people as possible. I'd hate to think that, due to my writing, someone who otherwise be able to answer my question now won't (or can't) answer it.

I'd like it when people point out my own lack of clarity to me. So, misguided as I might be, I'm just trying to give what I like to receive. You know, the Golden Rule.
posted by grumblebee at 10:38 AM on December 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


(3am nappy change; back to bed)

Don't forget to change the baby's nappy after you've finished changing your own.
posted by anniecat at 10:40 AM on December 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


I would also suggest, since we're making suggestions, that people try to make their relationship questions shorter, eliminate attempts at ambiguous gender (tends to not work so well, and many situations are actually NOT the same if the gender's are reversed)

Jess, I think that often when people are being ambiguous about gender in relationship questions, it's because they are concerned that they'll get feedback that is either homophobic or sexist.

It may not be an accurate concern, but there it is.
posted by Sidhedevil at 10:46 AM on December 7, 2010


I guess my sylph was visiting the punchbowl

RelationshipFilter: My boyfriend embarrassed me in front of our families. What should I do? [more inside]

I've been seeing this guy for a while - let's call him "The Baron" - but we're not engaged yet, so protecting my reputation is still very important to my family. He is REALLY into me, which is sweet, but he crosses the line when he's been drinking. Last night, at a party, I thought he was just joking around as usual, but he cut off half my hair! He said it was as a memento but I was mortified. What should I do? (Please don't suggest therapy.)

Oh, also, our friends got this guy to write a poem about the whole thing. Should I dump them too? And, how long do you think it will take my hair to grow out?

posted by Belinda at 11:43 AM on November 12, 1711
posted by catlet at 10:50 AM on December 7, 2010 [2 favorites]


w/e haters, I can't follow anything more than A and B -- and sometimes I have trouble even following that. When it's in conversation form like Grumblebee did, it's easier, because I assume a back-and-forth. But in a paragraph, especially in some convoluted relationship questions, I have to reread it several times and usually sometime in the middle of the fourth attempt I ask myself if it's really worth it, no matter how helpful I'd like to be.

What's funny is I followed SomeTrickPony's comment fine, and I don't have trouble following people called ABC and XYZ... I guess as long as there's a minimum amount of letters in a name, it stands out clearly in my brain. So yeah, it would be helpful to lengthen abbreviations a bit.

Or just use Flapjack and Fuckface. I like that. I will use that tip in the future.

That said, I'm aware that from a different perspective, I, too, am a hater. I'm comfortable with that.
posted by Nattie at 10:59 AM on December 7, 2010


I prefer it if it's A—, B—, etc. because then I feel like I'm reading 19th century literature.
posted by klangklangston at 11:25 AM on December 7, 2010 [8 favorites]


Jess, I think that often when people are being ambiguous about gender in relationship questions, it's because they are concerned that they'll get feedback that is either homophobic or sexist.

Yep and I'm sympathetic, but usually obscuring genders in a longish question is more distracting than it is subtle, especially with this crowd. I know there's no optimal solution but just a note to people who may be considering doing that, there's a cost involved in it. Whether it's worth it or not is up to the asker.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 11:34 AM on December 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


More options for your naming issues:

Retired hurricane names.
Current list of Atlantic storms.
posted by gingerbeer at 11:44 AM on December 7, 2010


No, we should all use the names of popular MeFi posters when trying to keep people anonymous:

Cortex and I have been married three years, but his ex-wife bunnycup and his children, Bitter Old Punk, lanaguage hat, and Astro Zombie want to have a relationship with me. I don't want to be friends with them! In retaliation, I've hooked back up with my old flame from college, nomadicink...

Wow, okay, that's a completely awful idea. Forget I mentioned it.
posted by It's Never Lurgi at 11:58 AM on December 7, 2010




Effie, Madge and Mabel and Biddie
posted by Meatbomb at 12:21 PM on December 7, 2010


Wow. You probably should get out more or something. Strangest call out ever.

You get out too much. This isn't even close to the strangest call out.
posted by orange swan at 12:26 PM on December 7, 2010 [3 favorites]


Yay, I have the most popular woman's name, that's almost like being anonymous.
posted by mareli at 12:33 PM on December 7, 2010


This reminds me of a problem I'm having reading a compendium of the Icelandic Sagas. I'm having a fair amount of trouble remembering the difference between Thorgrim, Thorstein, Thorkel, Thordis, etc. Nevermind when Thorkel's brother is Thorstein, but Thorstein also has a best friend named Thorkel. Then we discover they have a neighbor named Thorkel, too, but at this point they are kind enough to give us the 3rd Thorkel's surname, which is usually Thorsteinson. I tell ya.
posted by DrGirlfriend at 12:35 PM on December 7, 2010 [5 favorites]


UbuRoivas: Alpha BRAVO Charlie Delta, you fucking dolt. You couldn't even stumble your way to the second fucking letter before fucking it up. How the fuck can you get on a fucking high horse & presume to fucking tell other people to use a fucking system that you can't even fucking get the fucking basics of right your fucking self?!??

miss-lapin: I totally heard this comment in the voice of R. Lee Ermey a la this commercial

Bakerina: I heard it in the voice of Dennis Hopper as Frank Booth


Popeye. I heard it as Popeye. I hear everything as Popeye.

It makes sex really awkward.
posted by Kafkaesque at 1:27 PM on December 7, 2010 [3 favorites]


I do NOT have an "old people" name, dammit.
posted by deborah at 1:32 PM on December 7, 2010


Kafkaesque: Popeye. I heard it as Popeye. I hear everything as Popeye.

It makes sex really awkward.


Don't tell me about awkward 'til you hear everything as Donald Duck.
posted by Dipsomaniac at 1:52 PM on December 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


Popeye. I heard it as Popeye. I hear everything as Popeye.

It makes sex really awkward.


You know why Popeye's dick never gets rusty, right?
posted by fixedgear at 1:53 PM on December 7, 2010


It's not made of metals composed of iron?
posted by Burhanistan at 2:13 PM on December 7, 2010 [2 favorites]


Something with spinach and iron, no doubt. It always boils down to spinach and iron.
posted by Namlit at 2:18 PM on December 7, 2010


Keep trying. Hint: It's not Bluto.
posted by fixedgear at 2:34 PM on December 7, 2010


Raw spinach is nice in salads, you shouldn't boil it. Just tear it up with your hands, try it with some bacon, wallnuts and flakes of parmesan.
posted by Dr Dracator at 2:35 PM on December 7, 2010


Oh, yeah. Oyl. That joke would work better if it was about squeaking or something.
posted by Burhanistan at 2:42 PM on December 7, 2010


No, it's a good practice to dip your tools in oil. Olive oil is impregnable.
posted by UbuRoivas at 2:51 PM on December 7, 2010


"This reminds me of a problem I'm having reading a compendium of the Icelandic Sagas. I'm having a fair amount of trouble remembering the difference between Thorgrim, Thorstein, Thorkel, Thordis, etc. Nevermind when Thorkel's brother is Thorstein, but Thorstein also has a best friend named Thorkel. Then we discover they have a neighbor named Thorkel, too, but at this point they are kind enough to give us the 3rd Thorkel's surname, which is usually Thorsteinson. I tell ya."

The only time I haven't been annoyed by library vandalism was when I took out a book of sagas (I think it was for a class) and discovered that the previous person had used, like, ten different highlighter colors to differentiate the similarly-named characters, so Thorgrim was green, Thorstein was pink, etc. It made reading the book, like, seven thousand times faster (though I still did have to keep flipping back to remember which one stole the goat or ring or ringed goat or goat ring or whatever the fuck). I assume that it was all because of some sort of rhyming scheme, and Iceland having only, like, thirty five people so it wasn't too hard for them to keep the Thorkels sorted.
posted by klangklangston at 2:56 PM on December 7, 2010 [5 favorites]


It's not made of metals composed of iron?

Yeah, it's a redundant precaution for Popeye do dip his tool in olive oil, but the same couldn't be said for Ferrous Bueller.
posted by UbuRoivas at 2:56 PM on December 7, 2010


I don;t get it, just call everyone by their designation, Alpha, Beta, Charlie, Delta ..

Alpha BRAVO Charlie Delta, you fucking dolt.


I read that as referring to the castes in Brave New World.

In which case it should be Alpha Beta GAMMA Delta EPSILON, you fucking dolt.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 3:12 PM on December 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


It's not my legal name, but I am usually called A by my family and some of my friends. So it hurts my feelings when A comes off as the villain in these things. Please, everyone, only use A for okay people henceforth.

You know how when you order at Starbucks for takeout they ask your name so they can write it on the cup? Once I was picking up coffee for myself and a co-worker. I told the barista: For me, a grande wozzit, no whip. For the other person, a venti light hazelnut thingummy. She didn't ask my name, and the cups came back marked "ME" and "OTHER PERSON."
posted by tangerine at 3:16 PM on December 7, 2010 [4 favorites]


James and Mary I have none,
But that John's Robert is my Michael's William.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 3:21 PM on December 7, 2010 [2 favorites]


In which case it should be Alpha Beta GAMMA Delta EPSILON, you fucking dolt.

Good point. It would be so much easier to answer RelationshipFilter questions if we knew the castes of the people involved.
posted by UbuRoivas at 3:24 PM on December 7, 2010 [5 favorites]


Come to think of it, about ten people I know have switched to calling me "S," because all four letters was just too much work. So no using S for bad people, either.
posted by SMPA at 3:27 PM on December 7, 2010


I'm up for using Matt, Josh, Jess, and the evil PB as names in these threads....
posted by HuronBob at 3:50 PM on December 7, 2010


What a weird post. I like the letters. They’re implicitly labels used to anonymize someone. In order to use a fake name, it’s kinda necessary to say “My friend, we’ll call her Alice”. And if you miss that part, or the person doesn’t do that, seeing first names being thrown around in a post by a stranger is jarring.

That doesn’t mean people should use letters though. Just do what you want. If someone reads so much AskMe that they need to send out a memo to posters there to start following some sort of spec sheet to make reading easier… you might be overdoing it.
posted by floam at 3:52 PM on December 7, 2010


It has to be Gormenghast names: Flay, Prunesquallor, Swelter, Steerpike, Sourdust...
posted by Paragon at 4:11 PM on December 7, 2010 [2 favorites]


If someone reads so much AskMe that they need to send out a memo to posters there to start following some sort of spec sheet to make reading easier… you might be overdoing it.

It's funny how often I've heard variations of this. The most common one -- the one that sets my teeth on edge -- is "looks like someone has too much time on his hands." (I've threatened to unfriend anyone on Facebook who ever says this to me.)

There's a personality type, pejoratively called "anal," that some of us share. We naturally think about fixing things, improving things and clarifying things. "If it ain't broke, don't fix it," doesn't make sense to us, because everything is broke, meaning that nothing ever is 100% optimal. That's not an insult. It's the way we see the world.

It causes us no anxiety to think about fixing things, because it's the natural way our minds work. And nothing is exempt. It's not the case that we think about fixing work things but not relaxing things. We think about fixing everything. We think about fixing Global Warming and we also think about fixing the way the toilet paper is rotated. No bug is too insignificant to squash.

If we make what sounds like nit-picking suggestions, it's not because we've spent way to many hours staring at whatever we want to fix. Once or twice is enough. Generally, the second time we encounter something, we're already thinking about what's wrong with it, how it could be even better than the awesome that it already is, how we can fix it, etc. If we don't pick nits, it means we don't care.

We annoy the "looks like someone has too much time on his hands," the "you need to get out more" types and the "someone needs to get laid" types. We're sorry. We really are. But tinkering is in our genes.

This causes a lot of confusion, because the "someone has too much time on his hands" type doesn't make suggestions unless they are absolutely necessary and, also, not unless he thinks the target object is fundamentally broken. He also doesn't make them unless he's sure they'll work -- he doesn't just toss potential fixes out for discussion. So when we do, he assumes we think the target sucks, that we have no respect for the people who make and maintain it, that we're lacking something meaningful in our lives, and that we think we're better than everyone else.

Our suggestions don't mean we think we're always right. Nor do we think the thing we're trying to fix sucks. We wouldn't waste our time on it if we did.
posted by grumblebee at 4:28 PM on December 7, 2010 [7 favorites]


How do we discuss Men in Black if we follow this idea?
posted by Splunge at 4:37 PM on December 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


Wow. I posted that before I went to bed last night and have only just got around to catching up. Interesting responses. Weirdest callout ever? You need recalibrating. It's not even my weirdest callout ever.

Thanks for all the people who came to my defence, and grumblebee particularly for his response to the "too much time" insult. It's flippant, it's innaccurate, and as Clay Shirky memorably pointed out, nobody ever says "you've got too much time on your hands" when you watch a bunch of crappy sitcoms.

I did indeed get the names from the US Census. I probably should have said they were "common" rather than "popular" names, because as was much pointed out, the papers all like to print a "popular baby names" piece every once in a while.

I did very much like the idea of using the popular baby names instead: "My 80-year-old grandmother (let's call her Brittnee) is divorcing my grandfather (who we'll call Jaidyn)". Though of course with all the hip-to-be square names like Molly and Ruby, everything old is new again.
posted by AmbroseChapel at 4:50 PM on December 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


You know why Popeye's dick never gets rusty, right?

Because Rusty just doesn't swing that way?
posted by pracowity at 9:58 PM on December 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


grumblebee, honestly I think I'm probably anal-er than you. I almost quit a job today after something involving Office's Word Art feature. In that case, where there's one guy that has no business doing any kind of desktop publishing and he's doing it wrong, I proceed as the poster here did. I could even see trying to start some kind of national campaign to curtail its use. The reason I was a dick is probably just because I disagree with the OP. I was being anal when I posted that, I don't like these kinds of MetaTalk threads.
posted by floam at 6:13 PM on December 8, 2010


I disagree with the OP.

Are you sure you disagree with what he actually wrote?

For some reason I find it hard to follow stories which say "and then F said to J, 'I don't like D, but don't tell C, she'd be heartbroken' and J was all 'Oh F, I agree about D but what about T?'"

The only assertion he made was that HE finds letters-for-names confusing. You think he's wrong about that? You think he DOESN'T find letters confusing? He didn't claim everyone finds them confusing -- he just made a claim about himself. (Since then, some other people have chimed in and said that they too find letters confusing. Others have said they don't.)

He also ASKED if people would use names instead of letters. You can't disagree with that, because it's a request, not an assertion. You can deny or agree to it, and you can urge others to deny or agree to it. That's all.

It's useful for people to make requests like this, because, through them, we find out whether others are in favor of it or not. I am surprised by how many people find the letters confusing, which is causing me to think about my writing.

I'm not trying to get on your case. I'm just wondering if you read something into what the OP write that, as far as I can see, isn't there.
posted by grumblebee at 6:39 PM on December 8, 2010


(I apologize if the OP is a she.)
posted by grumblebee at 6:43 PM on December 8, 2010


I use Alice and Bob in these situations. It could have gotten confusing because I did once date an Alice.
posted by madcaptenor at 6:50 PM on December 8, 2010


I just disagreed that it'd be better if people use names instead of the letters. I don't know if the OP believes that or not but that's what I took from it.

I didn't think very hard about that sentence. It's harder to type out that I don't share the experience of finding the letters confusing, because in fact I find the exact other way around confusing.

And I apologize to AmbroseChapel for being a dick. I have an obsessy personality and a few niche interests and getting the "too much time on your hands" thing really sucks. I didn't even really notice I was doing that.
posted by floam at 6:55 PM on December 8, 2010


Don't sweat it, floam. I know I responded harshly to what you wrote -- your post just hit a nerve -- but, seriously, you haven't committed a major crime or anything.
posted by grumblebee at 7:01 PM on December 8, 2010


Just want to note this thread about a tense situation at work between "B" and "S".

Someone has taken it on themselves to name them Brenda and Stephanie.

Someone else, rather unfortunately, described the situation as "BS".
posted by AmbroseChapel at 3:47 PM on December 15, 2010


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