40 Falsehoods programmers believe about names

This blog post was written back in 2010, but I just ran across it today. My apologies if it's been discussed here before. It's p̶a̶i̶n̶f̶u̶l̶ funny because it's true :).


A sample from the list:

  • 21. People’s names are globally unique.
  • 22. People’s names are almost globally unique.
  • 23. Alright alright but surely people’s names are diverse enough such that no million people share the same name.

24. My system will never have to deal with names from China.


October 1, 2017 4:49 PM

That's great! Is there any culture in which people do not have names?


October 3, 2017 10:34 AM

I wondered about that one, too; I'm guessing it's maybe related to #32-36 (when children are named). So far as I know naming is a fairly universal human experience, like language and kinship systems (that is, the specifics aren't universal, just the existence of such things).

October 12, 2017 4:18 PM

I was thinking about this article the other day, when I ran across another assumption about data you would THINK would be safe...but isn't. (This was in the context of a hockey player scoring a goal in a game in which he did not play. Yes, this happened.)

Data can be VERY weird and the edge cases even weirder.

November 27, 2017 6:09 PM

Ha as a programmer i appreciate this.  Changing names is never something you plan on snd then in the u.s. you learn women change their last name a lot more than you'd expect and they're pretty insistent on it. I frequently consider the outliers that would break things.  "Null" as a name could break so much.

November 28, 2017 2:48 AM

Arnullfo or Ranullfo, perhaps? 

I imagine you've seen this XKCD comic, an old one but a classic: https://xkcd.com/327/