AforAmpere wrote:Isn't that kind of against what we are supposed to do? The naming either goes to the discoverer or the community. You are a part of the community, but nobody else really voted on it.
Apple Bottom echoed my thoughts on this
pretty well: named objects are generally a good thing to give patterns a sort of "personality," but these names should be agreed upon by the community (i.e. given the OK by at least a few people in this thread or somewhere else) before
being added to the LifeWiki. I personally have no objection to "Lei" for 12P2, but I'd like to hear if anyone else has other suggestions/comments. Of course, like Macbi said, it's not like we can't just revert the page move later.
I personally think "lei" is a perfectly good name -- but then again, I thought "12P2" was a perfectly good name, too. I'm not too worried either way.
I'd like to be a little more careful about new names than just getting an "OK by at least a few people", though. It's possible for small groups of people on a thread like this to all become over-enthusiastic together... Ideally it would be good if a term was actually "used
by at least a few people", or preferably more than a few, before it found its way into the LifeWiki. If someone calls 12P2 a "lei", and expects to be understood by other people in the conversation, then that's common usage, or close enough -- and a link to that specific usage can be added to the LifeWiki.
A Modest Proposal
I'd like to suggest adding this as part of the LifeWiki policy for neologisms: whoever is editing in a new name should also add a reference to where the name comes from. If the editor is also the inventor of the term, then that makes it even more important to admit that awkward fact and add the reference. It could even be suggested standard policy to revert any neologism like "lei", unless some kind of reference is included... does anyone else like that idea, or is it just me?
I added my suggested references to the "lei
" and "angry egg" articles. In both cases it would be hard for a casual reader to figure out who invented those names, if those references weren't available. It's nice to be able to tell the difference between "term invented by John Conway, appears in two volumes of LIFELINE, in common use since the 1970s" and "muzik/Freywa just suddenly made this term up in December 2018/May 2019".
No Way to Tell What Will Stick... But You Can Play The Odds
The problem I see with one person unilaterally deciding on new names and documenting them on the LifeWiki is basically that there's an unlimited supply of objects to name. It can be hard to stop naming once you get started, and hard to judge how good your inventions really are. One new name like "lei" every now and then can be a good contribution. But, inevitably, a thousand new names would mostly turn out to be useless LifeWiki clutter.
A recent example that comes to mind is "angry egg
". That still life already had a perfectly good name. Why exactly did it suddenly need a new alias, especially a confusing one (because it's not an egg
)? And yet it apparently seemed irresistible at the time, for some reason.
The Infamous Three-Step Checklist
There's a general policy on the LifeWiki of not documenting patterns or names that you invented yourself. Without that policy the LifeWiki would tend to get littered with names that nobody has ever actually used, and probably no one will ever use. Years later someone usually ends up going through and doing a bunch of time-consuming research, and probably removes the unused names again. Ultimately this all seems like a big waste of time.
The policy seems to do a pretty good job of keeping things reasonable. The result is that the LifeWiki is mostly limited to documenting common usage of actual existing Life terms, instead of getting cluttered up with everyone's clever nomenclature that's just going to get forgotten in a year or two.
... My rather conservative perspective on all this probably comes from having had to research and discard a ridiculous amount of pointless dead terminology while trying to get the Life Lexicon up to date.