The name of the enum is KeysEx, dammit

by Michael S. Kaplan, published on 2006/07/26 11:11 -04:00, original URI:

When I read Geoffrey K. Pullum's PowerGenItalia and PenisLand, I was once again struck by how funny it is that some people can take the KeysEx enumeration and read the name differently.

I have gotten the same grief for other class extensions that use the Ex suffix, like ControlsEx (which was actually a filename for a file that contained the extended definition of several controls). The fact that all of the file names were lowercased probably did not help.

Now I can understand the situations that URLs can get into (where case insensitivity requires the equivalence with unintended terms), and I can forgive those who stumble on a filename that has been munged and get thed wrong idea.

But obviously there was no munging of KeysEx, so this is a situation where the people who have contacted me are suggesting that the name itself is suggestively ambiguous even with the capitalization intact.

This is a whole different problem.

But what do you think causes it? Is it the explosion of inernet slang like in this post:

OMG LOLOLOLO U SUK!!!!!!!11 Translation : You suck!
OMFG R U SERIUS??? <<PERSON>> IS SUCH A N00B!!!1 : Are you serious ? <<person>> is such a noob!
CAN I HAV SUM FREE STUFF PLZ???? : Can I have some free stuff, please?
give me mony or i kill j00!! : Give me money or I will kill you!
im ur gf nub........giv me free stuff!!!1! : I'm your girlfriend, noob! Give me free stuff!

that causes readers to develop whole new filters that simply ignore clues like capitalization?

Are we to assume that the Capitalization Styles in programming languages are ineffectual since they are not being parsed by programmers?

Do people just have dirty minds?

Or is there something else going on here?

[Update 8:36am] At least (as Raymond proves), some developers still use the clues that casing provides -- although a bit of language knowledge can at time interfere!


This post brought to you by (U+12fd, a.k.a. ETHIOPIC SYLLABLE DDE)

# nksingh on 26 Jul 2006 12:02 PM:

I think it's safe to say that people just have dirty minds.  If you know any interns/new hires who went to the Tech Fair yesterday, ask them about the Nintendo episode in Steve Ballmer's speech.

# Ben Cooke on 26 Jul 2006 4:08 PM:

Should I be concerned that it took me a good minute or so after starting to read your post to realise what this "different reading" was?

I should probably be equally concerned about the fact that at my age I still keep typing my surname as "Cookie" by mistake.

# Maurits [MSFT] on 26 Jul 2006 7:00 PM:

I suppose it's rather ironic that your blog CSS-transforms the title to all-caps.

# Michael S. Kaplan on 26 Jul 2006 8:43 PM:

Well, at least it uses small caps. :-)

# Michael S. Kaplan on 26 Jul 2006 8:44 PM:

Hi Ben,

The first point you made means you are more mature than the average reader here. The second may make you slightly less, though, and balance it out . :-)

# josh on 27 Jul 2006 2:27 AM:

Bah, maturity.  Overrated.  At work we needed an enhanced version of a Graphics class, so we absolutely had to name it GraphicsEx.  :)

# Michael Dunn_ on 27 Jul 2006 8:07 PM:

SHITEMID is my favorite - and it works whether you prefer the 4-letter or 5-letter version of the expletive.

# Maurits [MSFT] on 28 Jul 2006 5:09 PM:

> at least it uses small caps

Not on this page as viewed in Firefox, it doesn't.

# Michael S. Kaplan on 28 Jul 2006 5:46 PM:

I can't be responsible for the bugs in individual browsers. :-)

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referenced by

2008/03/16 FORCE SEEK vs. FORCES EEK

2008/02/14 More on license plates in Bengalūru, and in India

2007/10/12 It isn't really PenIsland/PenisLand all over again

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