Falsehoods Programmers Believe About Me
I’m sure we’re all aware of the excellent article Falsehoods Programmers Believe About Names by Patrick McKenzie. It’s a wonderful list of everything that programmers assume when designing systems that handle names.
I changed my name recently, so I’ve had the fun of updating my name on every system that knows who I am. To add additional complications to the process, my new last name is Scottish Gaelic (MacDhòmhnaill), and I go by both Skylar and Skye. Here is what I specifically have had to deal with so far.
I wonder how many of these points will be the same as points from Patrick’s article, which was published seven years ago?
- My name is not going to change. (Oops.)
- OK, names can change, but email addresses never change, right?
- OK, fine, email addresses can change, but I’ll never need to change my username, surely?
- I have only changed my last name.
- I have only changed my first name.
- I have not changed my middle names.
- I have the same number of names as I did before.
- Both my first and last names are one uppercase letter followed by a series of lowercase letters.
- I am going to capitalise my name the same way every time I type it into anything.
- My full name can be rendered in ASCII.
- You think you know how to spell MacDonald/MacDhòmhnaill better than I do.
- MacDonald and McDonald are the same, right?
- Scottish Gaelic is the same as Irish Gaelic.
- My name is in a language other than English, so I must also speak that language.
- You assume MacDonald is what it says on my ID, because that’s the name I’ve given you.
- You assume I go by MacDhòmhnaill, because that’s what’s on my ID.
- You assume that, even though I’ve told you “MacDhòmhnaill is on my ID but I go by MacDonald”, it’ll be basically fine if you just use MacDonald/MacDhòmhnaill for everything.
- Your system knows the difference between ‘legal name’ and ‘preferred name’, so everyone’s must.
- I have changed my name everywhere.
- I have changed my email address everywhere.
- I have changed my email address everywhere to the same thing.
- I want to change my name everywhere.
- I want to change my name everywhere at the same time.
- The name ‘Skylar’ is a boy’s name.
- The name ‘Skylar’ is a girl’s name.
- The name ‘Skylar’ is at all gendered.
- The name ‘Skye’ is at all gendered.
- Names are gendered.
- This name might not be gendered, but most names are, so you’re going to have to pick a gender for this name.
- The fact that I’ve changed my name means I’ve changed my gender or pronouns.
- The fact that I’ve changed my name doesn’t mean I’ve changed my gender or pronouns.
- The fact that I’ve changed my name means I’ve got married.
- The fact that I’ve changed my name means I’ve got divorced.
- OK, OK, fine, the fact that I’ve changed my name means that I’m in a civil partnership now?
- The title I’ve given you matches what I’ve put in the gender box on the form.
- You can’t have an ‘ò’ in a domain name.
- You can have an ‘ò’ in a domain name without encoding it in punycode. (You know, how IDN works.)
- If you’ve encoded a non-ASCII character with punycode, problem solved—you don’t need to display it in Unicode on the frontend.
- I’m going to remember to enter my email address in punycode.
- I’m going to remember that your system is smart enough to deal with Unicode and enter my email address not in punycode.
- I’m going to remember the punycode version of my name, and not have to look it up every single time.
- You operate a lot of different systems, sure, but they all know about punycode and IDN. Right?
- I’ve changed my name, so I must have changed my email address.
- I’ve changed my email address, so I must have changed my name.
- I’ve changed my personal details, so I must have changed my phone number too.
- I own
macdhòmhnaill.com, so I must own