[SciPy-User] Naming Conventions
Wed Sep 5 20:26:38 CDT 2012
OK. Exactly what criteria are you using, and how do the two compare on them? I've shown you mine. Your turn.
Descriptive names are useful in attracting new "customers". I first became aware of Python because I was interested in discrete event simulators and stumbled upon SimPy, which in turn led to Python. Otherwise, you're right -- I never would've suspected Python was a programming language. Or that it takes its name from a TV comedy rather than a snake. Of course, nobody wants to use any "bland, uninspiring" names no matter where they come from.
But maybe I don't grasp exactly what it is that is you're all trying to find a good name for. I thought it was a name for a really easy-to-use intuitive user interface to the power and versatility of NumPy + SciPy + MatPlotLib, all harnessed, synchronized, driven and deftly controlled by the Python programming/scripting language. If that's the case, then maybe "SciPyUI" would describe it even better than "SciPyPlus". Set me straight if I've not grasped the core of what's involved here. A good written definition of it would help to give beter focus to this discussion of names. Otherewise we may be trying to "name an elephant" as in the oft-cited parable of the blind men describing an elephant.
As for non-descriptive names like Apple, Google, Amazon, etc., when SciPy has the advertising budget they have, then you're right -- we can pick any name whatever, the cuter the better! In fact, non-descriptive names for large (or wannabe large) commercial enterprises are a super good idea, because then the business can engage in anything under the sun without ever changing its name (e.g., "Enron" or "Litton"). In the meantime, a good descriptive name for this SciPy thing helps to attract "customers".
You know, as I read your post, I get the impression you kinda agree that usually names that too readily lend themselves to a nasty parody should be avoided.
"Attractiveness" should be construed in the sense of drawing and stimulating intellectual attention and promoting the desire to learn more about the thing named. It's not intended to refer to "prettiness". But I do indeed agree with you that some acronyms and short names can have a repulsive or ugly-sounding ring to them, and those should be avoided.
I'm find your suggestion about SciPyPlus implying that folks should get their feet wet by starting with SciPy interesting, and that may be something to consider. However, if PyLab can easily be adapted to the purpose at hand, I guess SciPyPlus could be, too.
As someone at present still rather on the fringe of this "community", but still very much interested in it, concerned about its future, and anxious to help it grow and improve, I find "PyLab" not descriptive. To me, it sounds more like a chemistry or biological laboratory than a versatile computing/graphical suite of digital programs. Or else just a weak echo of, vaguely related to, or part of "MatLab." Also, I trust you did not mean to imply that only those in the "community" would be affected and influenced by the choice of a name. Indeed, I hope we find a name that encourages many current "outsiders" to join with, use, and contribute their talents to this "community."
> From: Thomas Kluyver <email@example.com>
>To: The Helmbolds <firstname.lastname@example.org>; SciPy Users List <email@example.com>
>Sent: Wednesday, September 5, 2012 3:53 PM
>Subject: Re: [SciPy-User] Naming Conventions
>On 5 September 2012 22:41, The Helmbolds <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
>> 1.4. Informative. Clearly indicates what the name refers to.
>I'd definitely disagree with this: too many bland, uninspiring names
>come from attempts to squash a description into a name. Think of the
>most familiar or popular brands: it's hardly ever possible to relate
>the name to what they do. Python, Linux, Google, Apple, McDonalds...
>There are occasional counterexamples, like Microsoft or KFC, but a
>name certainly doesn't need to be descriptive.
>> 1.5. Positive. Has strong positive connotations. Avoid negative connotations, as well as names easily parodied to become objects of derision (as happened to Microsoft’s “Back Office”).
>There were quite a few jokes about feminine hygiene products when
>Apple announced the iPad. I think the product matters more than the
>humour value of the name. And parody isn't necessarily a bad thing:
>witness all the free publicity Mastercard has got from parodies of the
>'priceless' ads. Although there are names that it's worth avoiding -
>I've heard rumours that an obstacle for the GIMP is that it's awkward
>to discuss it in formal contexts.
>> 2.6. PyLab. Not unique. Well-known conflicts. (But one writer has suggested these might be resolvable!?)
>Its existing uses are somewhat similar to the new proposal, and it's a
>name that this community already 'owns', in that the most familiar
>uses of it relate to our software. So we could repurpose it a bit.
>Inevitably there would be some confusion, but it could also work to
>our advantage - we don't need to get everyone used to a new name.
>> 2.15.3. It’s attractive. [SciPyPlus]
>I don't think attractiveness is something one person can definitively
>decide. I don't much care for that name, for instance.
>SciPyPlus sounds like a fork of scipy, and even past that it invites
>confusion ("SciPyPlus? I don't think I need anything complicated,
>maybe I should go and look for SciPy, that ought to be simpler while I
>get started. I'll look at the 'Plus' bits later." - user returns to
>all the complexity we were trying to save her from).
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