Weeding the Namipedia garden

Jul 29th 2009

Over on Twitter (http://twitter.com/BabyNameWizard) I regularly ask followers to act as a "Baby Name Jury." The names on trial stand accused of maybe not deserving a page in Namipedia. I tally the thumbs up and down, and the name page faces its fate.

Before we convene the next Jury, I think a meeting of the Legislature is in order. That is, I'd like your input on the rules and criteria for accepting new names.

Here's the challenge. Community submissions are part of Namipedia's lifeblood. The thousands of new names that users have added make the site vastly richer. I'm thrilled that you can now go to Namipedia to learn about the Albanian name Besnik, or get sibling ideas for Irish Gaelic Aoibheann. And check out the thorough entry for Atreyu, a name that originated in a fantasy novel.

But as the site grows up, the need to weed becomes more urgent. Think about it: every new name added is one that was not popular or notable enough to appear before. So the bigger Namipedia gets, the more obscure the new names inevitably get. (Have you ever picked up one of those books that proudly offer "100,000 names for baby"? It's like reading the phone book...if you live in a city where most people have names like Alykzzandra and Doberman.) To make browsing and searching Namipedia worthwhile, we need to maintain name quality.

The question is, how should we judge quality? Is it about likely appeal to prospective parents? (Namipedia is a baby name encyclopedia, after all.) What about global or historical popularity? Cultural significance? The amount and quality of background information provided? Do we open the doors to any spelling of a popular name, or to any name from the Bible no matter how obscure? Is it enough that a name be used somewhere, even if it sounds bizarre to English speakers?

Here are some sample user submissions. Where do you think Namipedia should draw the line -- and what instructions would you give users when they submit new names?

Kreative spellings: Kelci (F), Azaleaha (F)
Word & place names: Dresden (M), Caress (F)
Biblical obscurities: Hamutal (F), Bashemath (F)
Historical obscurities: Cairbre (M), Mariot (F)
Book, movie and video game characters: Varian (M), Samwise (M)
Invented for style: Jalandra (F), Shannessy (F)
Fringe names, heartfelt commentary: Bobbygene (M), Kyy'Ron (M)

Comments

1
By Googoo (not verified)
July 29, 2009 2:11 PM

None of those are names.

2
July 29, 2009 2:24 PM

goodness those are some hard questions :)

Kreative spellings I tend to be on the fence for...is there any way to add a section to that root name for different spellings? Only I know that gets messy because of the way such names run into each other....

I tend to lump words, place names, and biblical or historical obscurities together - they're all part of a potential new name pool without necessarily being names. I would let them in if they seem to fit well with current naming trends, and/or if there are actual modern people with that name. Come to think of it, those are also my criteria for fictional names like Samwise.

Since this is an English-speaking site, I'm disinclined to include names popular in other places or languages - they belong in the "potential name pool" with the other categories in the above paragraph

And I'd let names stay if they have heartfelt commentary. Even if the name itself doesn't help parents looking for a name, the commentary could get their thoughts rolling in a new direction, and I think that's very valuable.

3
July 29, 2009 2:15 PM

Googoo - maybe not, but you'll need to defend your position better than that. Someone was the first to use Rose (noun) as a baby's name, or Levi (biblical obscurity), or Cassandra (historical/mythical obscurity) - what's your criteria for saying what is a name and what isn't?

4
July 29, 2009 2:33 PM

I really think that when it comes to the kre8tiv spellings, there doesn't need to be a separate entry for every possible spelling. i think that the rule should be the one with the most conventional spelling for it's pronunciation should be the main entry, followed by all of the other spellings listed as variants. example: Jaylen. To me, that is the clearest identifying spelling for how the name is pronounced ('jay' being much more reliable for the long a sound than ja, which could have a short a or a long a, and 'len', 'lon', and 'lin' all ending up sounding closer to 'len' when spoken quickly.) While Jalin, Jalyn, Jealon, etc. all sound very much alike, the clearest and most common pronunciation is best represented by the Jaylen spelling.

as far as Biblical obscurities go, i think that is Judas and Jezebel can have a page, then anything else Biblical can. Are they out there? Yes. Do some of them sound like there was a contest to see who could sneeze the funniest? Again, yes. But, if you can have names of famous not-very-kind folks, then old Hamutal can have a place as well. Likewise for historical oddities as well. The kicker is that there should be that use of the out-there selection should be provable from a universally accessible source (encyclopedia Britannica, Wikipedia, off-the-shelf concordance.)

I won't weigh in on any of the other examples. I'm a snobby gamer, invented names of any sort annoy me, fringe names tend to be invented, and heartfelt commentary has never won my approval for anything. I can't be fair about any of those areas, so I won't even try. I'll leave it to cooler heads than mine.

5
July 29, 2009 2:36 PM

I like the image you present with the title of this post. I do view Namipedia as a garden, and gardens do need to be tended. I guess the main question you need to answer in order to appropriately weed is what Namipedia's function is.

What is Namipedia? How is it different from other naming resources? Is it intended to list all names in use in America and other English-speaking countries today? Or is it intended as a guide for prospective parents? You state that Namipedia is a baby name encyclopedia.

Thanks! I'll have something to think about in my down moments today.

6
July 29, 2009 2:38 PM

Dresden??? Is that like ThreeMileIsland?

I see siblings in the entry. Maybe Germans don't use it as shorthand for annihilation.

7
July 29, 2009 2:38 PM

I frown on the inclusion of obscure or "invented" names unless there is an actual person out there who lives with the name every day. I can say, "Hey, 'Carpet' would be a good name!" But unless I give birth and name my little boy Carpet, I'm not going to include it in a list of baby names.

I am, however, all for fictional names being included, not only for the fun value, but because plenty of parents take inspiration for their kids' names out of literature. I know at least two people who were named for characters in the books their mothers happened to be reading at the time of their births.

I also have a pet peeve for creative spellings. It's annoying. If you want to name your kid Jennifer, spell it "Jennifer." "Ginepher" is just a headache for everyone your child meets for the rest of her life.

8
By Googoo (not verified)
July 29, 2009 2:39 PM

It's not a matter of my criteria. It's a concern on how to grow the database with some reasonable parameters. Take creative spelling, for example. Any name can be spelled dozens of ways: Casy, Casee, Kasey, Kaici, Caycee, Kaysi, etc., etc. I'm sure that every parent considers their baby's creative spelling to be legitimate and a true "real name." But they're not. They're simply misspelled versions of pre-existing words. Should every possible permutation of Casie be added to Namipedia?

Or take place names (please!). I can open my mom's old Time Life Atlas of the World and randomly choose any city, country or region and claim that it's a legitimate baby name. Just because I say it doesn't make it so. Dresden is a lovely German city with a great history and I'm sure there are a couple of babies named after it (but probably not in Germany; it wouldn't be approved by the Standesamt) but adding it to Namipedia? For what possible reason?

Basically, what I'm saying is that, in today's age, parents make conscious decisions to give their little beans unique names. That's well and good, but it's a double edged sword: if your child's name is unique, if it's the only child in the state with that name, if its name is Dressdyn or Brandynburgh, then chances are it's not going to show up in a baby name encyclopedia, and the only person you have to blame is yourself.

9
By Tirzah, not logged in (not verified)
July 29, 2009 2:43 PM

I think the creative spellings (Kelci, Azaleaha) should not have separate pages, but should simply be listed with the standard spelling. The rest, however, can have their own pages. Unless you have a pressing storage issue, I do not understand the urgent need to weed. The sprawling nature of online encyclopedias is an advantage, not a disadvantage.

10
By PhilippaThe First (not verified)
July 29, 2009 2:48 PM

Slow down there, jayel40. Remember Jennifer started life as Guinevere, so let's not get too punchy on on creative-spelling namers.

I agree basically with grimtuesday. If it were possible to settle on one form of the name and list the others as as variations, a la the BNW book, that would solve a great deal of problems. Searches for, for example, Kelci, would lead you to Kelsey with Kelci listed as a variant spelling. Although that might be pushing the problem just further up the line (is Kate-Lynn really a variant of Caitlin?).

Re Bible names, I'd tend to let them stay, no matter how obscure. Some parents pride themselves on searching for the most obscure, most unlikely Old Testament names for their kids. I know a woman with a Keturah and a Zaydock. Those are pretty out there. Keturah's only mentioned twice in the whole Bible (so the mother proudly tells me!).

11
By hyz
July 29, 2009 3:21 PM

Hmm, I've run across at least a couple baby Dresdens, actually. When I first heard it, I was both shocked and appalled--I had to assume that these were children of parents who are either unaware of/unconcerned with recent world history, or who have a more macabre approach to naming than I can support. I keep seeing Ryker lately, too, which strikes me as a similarly unpleasant choice (as discussed in the last thread.

So, with regard to that "name", specifically--if I didn't keep hearing of actual baby Dresdens, I'd say "are you crazy? get rid of it, asap!" But since its use doesn't appear to be an isolated phenomenon (for whatever reason), I guess I'd have to say to leave it in. I guess.

Re: kreativity--well, as much as I dislike them, I guess they should be in as long as they make some kind of phonetic English sense and/or are in somewhat common usage. I actually see a benefit of having a separate listing for Kelci, etc., as long as there was some sort of annotation on the page like "recent variant spelling of Kelsey". I imagine the siblings for Kelci and Kelsey would be different (i.e., "if you like Kelci, you might love Trysten, Makenna, or Kaytlen"). If a person knows a sibset of Kelci and Kaytlen, it isn't really accurate or helpful to list Kaytlen in the sibling cloud for Kelsey. Also, all the Kelci lovers would probably find a sibling set tailored (taylered?) to them to be preferable, too.

12
By PhilippaThe First (not verified)
July 29, 2009 3:23 PM

taylered! ha!

13
By lunzy (not verified)
July 29, 2009 3:33 PM

I agree with grimtuesday as well. This source is valuable to me simply because it has information I can't find in other sources. I can go to www. anybabynamerelatedsite. com and find basically the same info no matter which one I choose.

*NE help request*
We recently decided to go for Baby #3. Totally wasn't what the game plan was. Best laid plans right? So of course the first thing I am thinking about are names. :)

Son, 5 is N@than (DH's gfather's name) P3nner (family maiden name)

Daughter, 3 is Solan@ (Spanish meaning Sunshine and reflects my heritage. Also a place name for San Diego where we met) Ant0inette (ggma on my side)

So not the best in terms of sibset, but I love both of their names. So now what do we do for (hopefully) #3? Boy- think in terms of "Nath@n" or Girl- in terms of coordinating with "Sol@ana"?

Other factors: DH is Jewish with a LARGE family, so many names I love. :( Also, can't use family name unless they are deceased. We live in VA, kinda country, so anything too ethnic gets butchered. Heritage factors: Mexican, German, Russian, Polish.

My style: nothing to sing-songy. I love Sophia, but not how popular it is. I also like Tatiana. I love Johnathan, but too matchy. I also like historical names.

Any ideas? TIA!

14
By boots (not verified)
July 29, 2009 3:36 PM

Not related to the post but I thought you all might appreciate it--does anyone watch "Nurse Jackie" on Showtime? On Monday's episode two nurses were killing time by playing a game where they'd choose a name from that day's obituaries and try to guess out how old the person was by their name. A little ghoulish maybe, but certainly a game NEs would be good at!

15
By knp (not verified)
July 29, 2009 3:37 PM

I agree with a variant spelling addition on pages. in fact, I have looked for such information, would like to have that available, and think an "Also spelled as" would be a great addition to namepedia.

16
By knp (not verified)
July 29, 2009 3:39 PM

lunzy: so funny, I thought of Tatiana for you before I read that you like it!

17
By heather-dollarstorecrafts (not verified)
July 29, 2009 3:39 PM

RE: literary (invented) names: I don't really think there's a need to include them BECAUSE if someone wants to name their child after a character in Lord of the Rings, presumably that person is getting the idea for the name from the book, which would mean it didn't need to be included in a name encyclopedia. I mean, if I'm naming my son Gandalf, I darn well better know where the name came from and be familiar with that character in lit.

On the other hand, I guess if I did name my son Gandalf, I would want to know any info about it (besides the obvious LOTR connection) -- if info was available.

18
By knp (not verified)
July 29, 2009 3:56 PM

On place names/literary names/last names as first names: Obviously these WORDS (all are words) are used as names in some way-- either a town name or a fictional character or a family name.

but when I research these names online (b/c dh & I are fans of all of these) what I am interested is the acceptance of these words as names-- would people look at my crazy forever if i use Grey, or would they glace twice but then accept it?
So I am for less weeding and more inclusion.

BTW: I like Dresden and think it could fit in with the -en's well.

19
By cnoocy (not verified)
July 29, 2009 4:11 PM

I'd recommend letting all of these in and making it easier to find the more "legitimate" ones. So one can find the really odd names, but the more common ones will come up first on a search, or something.

20
By Aybee (not verified)
July 29, 2009 4:33 PM

I think truly rare multiple spellings should also follow with what heather-dollarstore crafts said.

Parents who name their daughters, say Khrysteena, are doing so to be unique. I dont think anyone would come on a baby name encyclopedia to look up a name they intend to be one-of-a kind.

I'm not stating this well, but what I mean to say is that Khrysteena's parents would probably benefit from the entry for "Christina", then putting their own creative spin on the name.

21
By Lissa46 (not verified)
July 29, 2009 4:36 PM

I would love comments on the sibset of Amelia Christine and Caroline Olivia nn Mia and Cara. I really want other people's opinions!
Thanks!

22
By Linnaeus (not verified)
July 29, 2009 4:46 PM

Dresden's a lovely place now. I'd call it more a symbol of rebirth than devastation now, personally.

I think variant spellings would be best on the base spelling, since much of the information (what the name means, who has it) can be held in one easy-to-reach place.

As for obscure names, I just read this:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_unusual_personal_names

I think it would be fine to use word-names, place-names, etc.

23
By Qwen
July 29, 2009 4:47 PM

Good post Laura (and as a regular member of the Baby Name Jury on Twitter, I’m excited at the idea of having more definitive guidelines for my votes in the future).

I’m going to agree with other posters that creative spellings should really be part of a single entry. I realize that this makes it difficult for someone who is specifically searching for a particular variation. Is it possible to make all the variant spellings searchable but still come back to that main article? For example if I were to type in Alysson could it direct me to the entry for Alison (and list all the other spellings as well) instead of saying “no entry, would you like to create one?” Because, honestly, that prompt is so dang tempting… who wouldn’t want to be responsible for a new Namipedia entry?!

I’m having a hard time with the other categories. I’m inclined to say that fictional, biblical and obscure historical and literature references be included as long as there is backup to prove they really were used. I know some of these seem beyond use at this point but that’s all a matter of style. Sure, I wouldn’t name my child Agamemnon (which has a funny namipedia entry btw), but I wouldn’t mind Persephone and if we discounted all seemingly archaic names we might miss gems that can be dusted off and reused.

I’m on the fence with invented names. Sometimes they’re good and get people thinking. Other times they clutter up an otherwise useful tool. I say leave them (because there’s no way to prove whether or not people are actually using them, unfortunately) but make it clearer that they’re invented. For example if I’m using name finder I’d love it if the invented/user submitted names had a flag of some sort to identify them directly from the results page so I know not to expect an official meaning or entry on the page.

24
By AK (not verified)
July 29, 2009 4:52 PM

When I hear Dresden, I think of china or quilts. I could see a collector/quilter liking and using the name without even thinking of other connotations. In fact, I just had to google Dresden to find out about the bombing--that's one aspect of WWII history I never learned about (and I've even taken college-level history classes focusing solely on 20th Century Europe). I just think some people might have a different frame of reference for the name, not necessarily that they have a sense of the macabre. To me, given the china/quilt association, Dresden sounds kind of cozy and homey.

25
By Amy3
July 30, 2009 9:56 AM

I like and agree with Qwen's take on this (realizing as well that pps also advanced some of these same thoughts). I do think, as hyz pointed out, that someone with a Kelci may not find the sibling cloud for Kelsey as helpful, though. (Is there any way to let the variant spellings have sibling clouds without making stand-alone pages for each spelling variation?) If not, I think I lean toward a main page, when possible, with spelling variations listed. People looking for sib ideas for Kelci, as opposed to Kelsey, for example, will just have to do some extra legwork!

26
By Qwen
July 29, 2009 5:22 PM

@Lissa46 - I was a fan of Cara and Mia last time you mentioned it. So cute! I think Caroline Olivia flows really well and matches Amelia nicely. Good pick!

@Lunzy - what do you think of Allegra for a girl? It appeals to both Spanish speakers and Jewish familes. The ties to the book Allegra Maud Goldman are excellent as well.

27
July 29, 2009 5:23 PM

Like ladyphlogiston, I think the entries with heartfelt commentary can be useful for helping others with strategies for coming up with names, but it seems kind of cumbersome. It doesn't seem useful in the way that sibling names are. If I like Anna, for example, I might like her sister, Clara's, name. But if the idea behind Bobbygene is to honor relatives (sorry, I haven't read the entry; am just assuming), that wouldn't help me to find the entry. Hope that makes sense; I'm having trouble explaining.

jumping off thegrimtuesday, i think it can be hard to agree what is the ur-spelling. I don't know if I would agree about Jaylen. But maybe if Namipedia could make suggestions like how Google does, like "Do you mean Jalin?"

I like hyz's point about sibs for Kelci vs. Kelsey

lunzy: Solan@ is gorgeous! I've never heard it before. I like Tatiana. I think the idea of focusing on matching boy name to boy name and girl name to girl name makes sense. People often have such different styles for boys and girls names anyway. Some of my favorite Nymbler recommendations for you: Aaron, Byron, Joel, Nina, Naomi, Jesse, Mitchell, Marina, Sonia (I think I prefer Sonya).
Also thought of Bianca.

Lissa: Love those names!

28
By ET (not logged in) (not verified)
July 29, 2009 5:30 PM

I think that what Hyz says about the difference in sibling names for Kelci and Kelsey in very true, and an interesting point. Before considering that I would have said that alternative spellings should be listed on one page, but with that in mind I think they should be kept seperate.

On very unusual or unique names it's difficult. On one side I think that if you know a Petally who you know was named after their parents Peter and Sally, then you shouldn't add it because it is a one off, and not really a name with a history that is going to mean anything to anyone other than the babies parents. However on the otherhand someone searching for an unusual P name, or even a name to honour their uncle Peter, could find Petally and love it, and surely then it is a legitamate name, used by two different families for two different reasons.
Maybe there should be a box you have to tick when submitting a name asking if you know of someone by the name, and if the box isn't ticked then it is up to the moderaters, or whoever, to decide if the name has a legitimate history or case to be a name on a wider sense. As Jayel40 said, anyone can decide a word or made-up name sounds good, but unless it is, or has been) someones name, it isn't really a name is it. But maybe that would be too much of a fuss.

29
By hyz
July 29, 2009 5:42 PM

Ok, well, point taken on Dresden. There are perfectly fine reasons people could have to choose that as a name, and I agree the sound of it is quite nice, and fits well with current trends. It's just that my association with Dresden and WWII/bombing/devastation is so strong, it kind of overwhelms anything else. To me, naming your kid Dresden is kind of along the lines of naming them Hiroshima or Nagasaki or, I don't know, Dachau or Antietam or Chernobyl--they all may or may not have been perfectly lovely places at some time (now or historically), and they all may or may not sound pretty, but there are ghastly images of human suffering closely linked to each of them because of well known historical events, and I just wouldn't choose to link those same images to my child through his/her name. Remembering Dresden china and quilts, and reading more about the current charms of the city, does make me warm to it slightly, but I still couldn't go there.

30
By Otto Avantil (not verified)
July 29, 2009 6:00 PM

Agreed on Dresden, hyz--better to know the full range of implications of a name like that in the consideration phase, than to learn something upsetting AFTER you've filled out the birth certificate forms.

My rule as a teacher was this: if it's the spelling your mom uses, it's the RIGHT spelling of YOUR name, period. Doesn't matter if there's a more common spelling for the same sounds. It's none of my business why your mother chose KhryssTi instead of Christie. I name my kids, she names hers, and vive la difference.

As for Namipedia, I'm with Tirzah--the beauty of online encyclopedias is that space isn't at a premium--if I can type "Fiona" in the search box, I don't have to page past all the As, Bs, Cs, Ds, and Es to get to the right page. The existence of pages for more exotic names simply doesn't affect the more popular names' pages findability or content.

I think it's pretty obvious by now that inclusion in the Namipedia doesn't constitute an endorsement of any individual name's legitimacy or advisability. That's the nature of crowdsourcing, it's messy and anarchic, and it's great for those reasons.

If you want to cut some names anyway, yeah, I'd cut obscure sf/fantasy names that probably haven't actually been used by a real human. But biblical names and place names are all fair game, with appropriate content explaining their obscurity or problematic nature. (So, better to have Dresden there, WITH the historical explanations that make it iffy, than to leave it unmentioned.)

Captcha is "Otto Avantil."

31
By Blackbird (not verified)
July 29, 2009 6:04 PM

I agree that creative spellings should all be lumped together in one page with the original spelling. My only other thought is that there should be separate lists for variations with some sort of historical or cultural precedent (possibly with the alternative spelling's country or region or origin listed) and another list of alternate spellings that only add originality. For example, Christina, Cristina, and Kristina would be listed with historically accepted spellings while Khrysteena would be in the alternate spellings list. This way parents considering the name for their child will be fully aware that the spelling Khrysteena does not have mainstream usage. Although this may not be important for this particular name, parents may find it useful for more uncommon names where potential parents may not even know the original spelling.

As for fringe names and names invented for style, while the name Kyy'ron obviously has meaning to his parents, it probably won't appeal to anyone else. Parents who will name their children names like these probably aren't going to find them in a name encyclopedia. They will make them up themselves. I think a similar concept applies to names from book, movies, and other media. People who want to name their children after a video game character will probably get the name from the video game. And if you want to name your child a name from Lord of the Rings, reading the books will probably be the best source of information on it.

I do think that biblical and historical obscurities should be included as long as some information about the namesake is provided. For example, it should be listed that Hamutal was the wife of Josiah and the daughter of Jeremiah and that Cairbre Nia Fer was the King of Tara.

32
July 29, 2009 6:20 PM

hyz-Love your thoughts on the subject and agree for the most part. However, the whole subject is very subjective. Who am I to say that Persephone (a name which I do not personally care for) is not the PERFECT name for someone else. Now yes, this is a well-established name. Something like Aloominum (which could have many alternate spellings btw) is not but still may hold some wonderful charm for me and not make much sense to others.

Maybe a ranking system might be in order. Similar to when you read comments on amazon or such and they say "was this comment helpful to you?". We could rank names as useful or not.

The idea of Kelci and Kelsey being on the same page but listed as variations is a good one until the sibling cloud idea comes into play. I agree their siblings may be different and separating them would become difficult if listed on the same page.

Lissa:Good choices!

Lunzy:I will follow with a separate post.

33
By Panya (not verified)
July 29, 2009 6:22 PM

Ditto #4 thegrimtuesday

34
July 29, 2009 6:25 PM

Lunzy: Here are my ideas-
Boy:
Jordon
Benjamin
Isaac
Raphael
Daniel

Girls:
Angelica
Grace
Rachael
Tabitha
Carissa

35
By knp (not verified)
July 29, 2009 6:27 PM

Please no one take offense, but with some critical thinking: But if the best source of names from literature are rereading the books (*see below), Why can't people just reread the bible to get information on biblical names? It is the best source... and I view it as literature as well. And some view the bible as fiction, so should they be in a different catagory?

*I disagree that a book (especially a current book) might be the best source-- a lot of pop culture (movies, TV, and yes, literature) information is not included in the original text but is found elsewhere. Like how Stephanie Meyer chose Renesmee because it was so crazy that it could be used on a 'monster' without offense being taken.

36
By Otto Avantil (not verified)
July 29, 2009 6:38 PM

Right, knp--I agree. The value of listing a name in Namipedia is NOT to suggest the name to a parent, but to give them an outside source for impersonal feedback about it.

Imagine young Gwyneth and Chris, enamored with the idea of naming their expected daughter "Apple." They just think the name feels fresh and pretty. They type it into Namepedia and... maybe they learn that some people think of Apple primarily as a name brand; that food names for children aren't universally admired; that it feels more weird than sweet to the Namipedia contributors. (I haven't looked it up, I'm just imagining the kind of content that they might find.)

Okay, no harm done, they haven't named the baby yet. They think it over and decide to name her Althea instead. OR, they think it over, decide they don't care what other people think, and name her Apple--BUT NOW, with no unfortunate surprises about the reaction greeting the name. They go ahead with an unusual name, but they understand better what that choice will mean for them and their daughter.

37
By Chimu (not logged in) (not verified)
July 29, 2009 6:55 PM

Regarding different and/or creative spellings of the same name, my initial reaction is to put them on the same page (listed as an alternative spellings) although I take the point that the sibling clouds can be quite different. So I'm not sure what the best option is here maybe a sub page for different spellings of names or just different sibling clouds? The sibling clouds are very useful.

My personal experience of going to namipedia pages is that when there is very little to no information on them there they can be a little frustrating. Is it better to have less pages with more information or lots of pages with a name and not much else? I think I'd prefer the former. That said, I think most of the obscure bible names, historical places etc I would let in but I would want there to be something on the page. Could there be maybe a holding page or temporary page format where if not enough info gets added by other users, moderators, etc it's deleted after a certain period (or taken offline, so as not to clutter up the namipedia).

38
By MandySue (not verified)
July 29, 2009 6:58 PM

I couldn't pass up this new entry: Owl. Go check it out. Seriously.

39
By MandySue (not verified)
July 29, 2009 7:02 PM

Another new name: Jumbo.

Meanings and history: "One who is abnormally hefty"

Jumbo in song, etc: "Dumbo's mother. Also in the song 'Jumbo Bumbo Jumbo Jumbo Bumbo'"

40
July 29, 2009 7:03 PM

Just out of curiosity, why is it important to know (in the context of Namipedia) that "Hamutal was the wife of Josiah and the daughter of Jeremiah and that Cairbre Nia Fer was the King of Tara"?

While I'm skeptical of the Bible being given special treatment, I can see the difference in listing obscure Biblical names vs. say Gandolf. I think a lot of folks *want* Biblical names, while probably very few go out searching for LOTR names. Also, the Bible is long! (It is longer than LOTR right?) Of course we might say someone who wants a Bible name should perhaps actually read the Bible and find one. Idk, that's getting into complicated areas.

I like zoerhenne's idea of a ranking system also.

I'm also curious, though, Laura, have you found that most of the names you put up for vote get tossed? Do ppl generally give reasons for tossing/keeping? What are they? Do you dump some names on your own and only put some up for vote? Just interested in whether this kind of info might help us figure out a system I guess.

I also like Otto Avantil's description of the purpose of Namipedia--that it's to provide more info on an already existing name. Idk if this is completely true. Being able to search by syllables means people might come looking for (for example) a two-syllable name and find a new name here.

41
July 29, 2009 7:04 PM

Boots - I love Nurse Jackie, I haven't watched this weeks ep yet. Darn now you've spoiled it :)

42
By Googoo (not verified)
July 29, 2009 7:13 PM

Dresden certainly conjures up strongly negative political and historical associations (I can't believe that anyone who's studied WWII European history hasn't heard about the Dresden fire bombings), but so does Shiloh, and that "name" has inexplicably become popular. As I said before, Dresden would never be an acceptible name in Germany.

I've decided that the Namipedia project is fundamentally flawed because it allows anyone to enter any word as a name, and, assuming they have some bogus story behind it, it will stay. Here, I'm making this up on the fly:

Chicken
Pronunciation: Chi-ken

Personal experiences with the name Chicken:
My little brother was named Chicken when he was born in 1998. We lived on a farm at the time and were very poor. My brother was born in a barn "with the rest of the chickens" as my daddy said at the time. The name stuck.

See, that was easy. I can literally go through the dictionary, word by word, and put the words into Namipedia as long as there's a story behind the word. Without proof (a SSN?), who would know?

43
By MRo (not verified)
July 29, 2009 7:14 PM

I think that all the traditional spellings - like the Christina, Cristina - be on one page indicating their areas of use. Then there should just be ONE more page for all the kreatyive spellings - Khrysteena etc. This way the sibling suggestions will be still be accurate and you cut down on the number of pages.
Don't know if this was already suggested or not but seems to be the most logical way without excluding people.

44
July 29, 2009 7:18 PM

Mandysue + Googoo-Precisely! Owl should not be allowed to stay. Anything with a zero rating for (say a months time) should be removed. It would take a lot of monitoring but would eliminate some of the more "nonsensical" entries.

45
By Amy3
July 29, 2009 7:24 PM

I really like zoerhenne's ranking idea. That would provide a reasonably easy mechanism for weeding regularly.

46
By Tirzah, not logged in (not verified)
July 29, 2009 7:24 PM

I have a suggestion for how to weed: if you get an questionable entry, tag it for automatic review in 3 months (6 months?). If no one has visited that page, then it's out!

47
By Mirnada (not verified)
July 29, 2009 7:27 PM

I may sound harsh here, but I really don't think there's any need to include Kreative spellings, because, as mentioned earlier, parents don't need reference help to butcher a name (oops...ok, I'm very biased). If there's an alternate spelling that seems to be gaining in favor, maybe that could be included on the same page, but to include every possible misspelling of a name would definitely be muddying the waters...and to an infinite extent...I think.

I think that place names/words require a strong editorial hand. There's no need to include Blanket, just because Michael Jackson named his poor son that, right? If a word or place name seems to be a good name that fits in with current trends or seems actually usable, I think it's great to include it. Devastating history aside, Dresden might be a useful name with other pleasant associations, for instance. I think that trusting the final call to Laura's awareness of other names and name trends would be appropriate here.

I think it's great to include all Biblical names and any name that's from any other significant cultural text, as well (Rama, Sita, or Ganesh from The Ramayana, for instance).

When it comes to names from popular culture -- movies, games, contemporary fiction -- I think it gets tougher. If it seems like there's a huge following and the book or movie have become a real cultural phenomenon, maybe it's worth including the name. This is another case where I think editing comes into play.

I think that names from all cultures and countries should be included. Yes, this is an english speaking site, but even the recent posters I've come across on here have very diverse backgrounds and I think appreciate having access to culturally diverse names. Where would you draw the line, otherwise? Would only Anglo or European names be included? Are Korean and Chinese names not useful for our posters? Just in the last couple of posts, for instance, people have had questions about Chinese, Japanese, and Korean names.

48
By Linnaeus (not verified)
July 29, 2009 7:52 PM

I absolutely would love to see us branch out into names from all over the world. I've got a soft spot for Nahuatl names; it's great to see Citlali climb the popularity charts, and I've always liked Cuauhtemoc.

49
By Paz (not verified)
July 29, 2009 7:59 PM

Personally, I'd really like to see the biblically and historically obscure names rather than the other ones you've listed. I post on a forum ("Baby's Named a Bad, Bad Thing") where the large majority of posters are traditionalists when it comes to names. I sometimes use Namipedia to find name suggestions to share with people. Substantial names with some type of historical or cultural background are the only ones I really feel comfortable suggesting to people on that site since I know most of the posters there tend to frown down on names that don't have as much history or meaning behind them.

I also feel though that Namipedia should be a resource for parents who like all different styles of names. I think names that make the Social Security's Top 1000 list or make the top 100 list for different states should be added since being on that list means there's a large enough group of parents today who would be interested in the name.

50
By Beth the original (not verified)
July 29, 2009 8:29 PM

Ooo, I like that "Baby's Named a Bad, Bad Thing" site for hilarious commentary by the unabashedly snobby. And I appreciated thegrimtuesday who feels like a new soulmate.

I think I'm with people who would put alternate spellings on the same page as traditional spellings. For the sibling cloud, it might be fine to have chosen "Khrysteennah" and get the sibling cloud for "Christina," and then go on to mangle some other name (say, Tahreesa).

I also like the idea of a rating or page count system to eliminate nonsensical entries or one-offs like parental smoosh names. While I am sure every parent of a "Buzzardly" or "JennaFrank" would love to see their kid's name pop up on a name site, well, it's not really for showcasing the weirdness of your own kid's moniker; it's for others to consult to get ideas. And some ideas are, well, not good.

And I agree about the verification system for pop culture, historical, and biblical names. Fine, use them, but don't plug in something fake for fun and expect it to stay up.

That is all.