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Human Names! (RE: proposed policy for user names on W3C wikis)

From: Sandro Hawke <sandro@w3.org>
Date: Wed, 28 Nov 2007 08:32:17 -0500
To: "Rotan Hanrahan" <rotan.hanrahan@mobileaware.com>
Cc: public-wiki-dev@w3.org
Message-ID: <3523.1196256737@ubuhebe>

"Rotan Hanrahan" <rotan.hanrahan@mobileaware.com> writes:
> Should there be an arbitration policy in the event of name ownership
> being contested? Names are obviously quite a personal thing, but in
> most societies the same names are used many times so there may be a
> dispute over who has claim over a name, or there could be the
> possibility of the name being in dispute at some later date. For
> example, my own given name is actually derived from a mathematical
> equation and unlikely to be seen elsewhere as a given name, but I am
> aware that it is also a family name in some places (and also the name
> of a place in Texas), so potentially someone who has my given name as
> their family name could dispute my use of it as a wiki name. Unlikely,
> but possible. 

Fascinating.  Your blog explains only a little more.  Someday, I'd like
to hear that story.

> Indeed, given the world-wide nature of W3C, almost every name
> (mathematical or otherwise!) could potentially be disputed at some
> point in time, so some policy for dealing with such disputes might be
> wise. 
> Of course, one could also try "first come, first served". In which
> case I'm glad to have already set up my account :) 

Okay, you've provoked me to think about this.  Here's what I've come up


     Each person is likely to be known by a variety of names.  The names
     have varying levels of formality, and will usually be unambiguous
     in a particular context.  For instance, one member of the OWL
     Working Group is named "Jeremy Carroll".  He is, at the time I
     write this, the only "Jeremy" in the group, so we can refer to him
     or address him has "Jeremy" without ambiguity.  For publication, he
     has chosen to be listed as "Jeremy J. Carroll".  On IRC, he
     typically uses the name "jjc", but not everyone has learned to
     recognize that name yet.

     People often have strong feelings about their names.  In general,
     they should be allowed to select and control how their name
     appears, unless it has a material negative impact on the group.

     It is convenient to have short, unambiguous names to refer to
     people.  Unfortunately, what is ambiguous can change over time.
     While the names "Jeremy" and "jjc" are unique in the group at the
     moment, and the name "Jeremy Carroll" is unique at W3C at the
     moment, these facts could change.

  Suggested Policy

     Certain categories of names should be formalized:

      * Each person should have a Name For Publications.  This is how
        they want their name to appear in any formal W3C publications. 
        (eg "Jeremy J. Carroll").   This name should be unambiguous at
        W3C (and typically in the larger industry).

      * Each person should have a Name For Meeting Records.  This may be
        less formal, but must be unambiguous at W3C [1], and should not
        change.  (It may change by addition of new names, but the old
        name should remain unambiguous.)  If a second person comes along
        who has the same or similar name, they must chose a different
        Name For Meeting Records.  (This name functions essentially as a

      * Each person is free to have "short names", such as a first name,
        nickname, or their initials.  It is generally best to have
        exactly one of these, to make it easier for the other members of
        the group to learn it.  Some people with long names tend to go
        by both their first name and their initials (Christian de Sainte
        Marie in RIF is called both "Christian" and "csma", Peter
        Patel-Schneider in OWL is called both "Peter" and "pfps".)
        These names are often used on IRC.  It is important that they be
        unambiguous at the time of use, but it is understood that over
        time some names might become ambiguous and so should stop being
        as standard "short names".

     It is recommended that people use their Name For Meeting Records as
     their wiki username, however they may use one of their short names
     if they choose.  However, if their short name becomes ambiguous (eg
     because of someone joining the group), their wiki username (and
     associated links) will have to change.

     The Name For Meeting Records and any short name should, on the
     wiki, redirect to the user page.

So, the list of name-related properties for each group member would be
something like this:

  Current Name For Publications
     - SHOULD be unambiguous at W3C and in industry
     - SHOULD be as used in larger community
  Previously Used Names For Publications
  Current Name For Meeting Records
     - MUST be unambiguous at W3C
     - SHOULD be as used in larger community
  Previously Used Names For Meeting Records
     - If a name is changed, the prior name remains here.
  Preferred conversational short name
     - SHOULD be first name or nickname, whatever people call you in practice
     - MAY be ambiguous
  Unambiguous short names
     - Optional -- typically for people with long names and ambiguous
       first names
     - MUST be currently unambiguous in the group
     - MUST change if they becomes ambiguous in the group
  Previously used short names
  Wiki Username
     - suggested to be same as Current Name for Meeting Records

Fun stuff.  :-)

        -- Sandro

[1] See http://www.w3.org/2000/09/dbwg/person
Received on Wednesday, 28 November 2007 13:33:10 UTC

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