Yeah, this professor case is kind of a tough one. Catagolue record-breakers don't come along every day, so it's nice for such objects to have a name, and "professor" is a good name so I bet it will end up being the near-enough-to-consensus choice. Hearing no objection... so mote it be (or whatever the proper Robert's Rules of Order saying is).Scorbie wrote:Naming new objects appearing on Catagolue seems to be judgement call...
It's interesting to some, while not too much on others, (which differs from object by object)
Some objects are actually named by one person arbitrarily (e.g. Omnibus) and
It seems hard to make a consensus with this everytime, both because of its frequency and attention gotten.
Personally I'm usually to be found in the "not too interested" camp, as far as names go -- probably from working too much on Life Lexicon entries recently. Here's my take on how new names are invented and accepted:
Discoverer Gets To Choose
Just mentioning this for the sake of completeness, to get it out of the way. We mostly see new names being generated for newly discovered rare/useful/interesting objects. Common practice is to wait around for a while and ask the discoverer for a name, and/or try to stack the deck by offering Really Good Suggestions (TM) -- that worked very nicely for loafer...!
If a lot of people in a lot of discussions over a long period of time are referring to Object X by a particular name, then that name probably ought to go into the LifeWiki and the Life Lexicon, so that it's possible to look up Object X and understand what people are talking about.
Conversely, if someone on some particular day happens to feel like applying a random name to a random object, there's nothing terribly wrong with that, but it's probably better to just fail to pay any attention. This is a time-honored coping mechanism that goes back several decades now.
Cases like flying saucer and blobfish, and most of the other ideas collected on the Project Alias thread, seem to me like just making extra trouble. If we try to keep track of suggestions like that, we'll end up with multiple competing names for a lot of objects. In most cases the extra name doesn't solve any pressing problems with terminology. In practice it's impossible to keep up with people's enthusiasm for naming things, and past a certain hard-to-define point, more names just end up causing more confusion.
A High But Not Impossible Barrier
Now, if someone decides to build a glider-to-25P3H1V0.2-to-Herschel converter, or lots of high-period rakes or other structures using 25P3H1V0.2s, and in the extended discussions everybody finds it more convenient to call these objects "saucers" or "flying saucers", then that changes things!
As soon as there are high odds that someone will read about flying saucers in a discussion somewhere, and want to look them up in the LifeWiki or the Life Lexicon and find out what they are, then a definition of "flying saucer" ought to be there.
Notability and Non-
Until those complex constructions and extended discussions actually happen, "flying saucer" is not going to be anywhere near a commonly used term, and so it seems to me that it definitely shouldn't have an official definition.
In wiki terms, neologisms like "flying saucer" are likely to be deleted as non-notable -- just as a matter of self-defense. Based on long past experience with the LifeWiki and its predecessors (Life Lexicon, and Alan Hensel's glossary before that), most such definitions will end up as clutter and won't actually get used by anyone, ever... not even the original inventor.
It seems much better to keep the clutter under control -- even if that means that hard-hearted moderators with no poetry in their souls callously delete a near-irresistible name now and again. If it's really good, it will come into common usage eventually, and then it will be back on the LifeWiki as a matter of course.
As Scorbie pointed out, sometimes a single person does get to arbitrarily pick a name for a fairly arbitrary object, and it ends up in the LifeWiki or the Life Lexicon pretty much right away.
Just for example, if I ever get the final cleanup done, it will be clear that I'm guilty of attempting this kind of thing here and there in the new Life Lexicon update -- i.e., defining a new not-yet-in-general-use term because it's clearly going to be needed, like to distinguish Kazyan's color-preserving periodic "bumper" reflectors from the old color-changing ones. I try not to do this too often, but Life Lexicon updates are enough work that I don't feel like I have to apologize for slipping in an occasional piece of useful terminology.
Along somewhat similar lines, given the impressive investment made to set up apgsearch/apgmera, it seems perfectly reasonable for Calcyman to take advantage of Catagolue's handy advertising ability, and make up an occasional name out of whole cloth. Anyone who has done a lot of work on developing a complex project -- even if they're the only contributor! -- may well end up generating new related terminology.
So far, record-breaking large objects like omnibus, Cthulhu, and now professor haven't had competing names -- nobody has enumerated still lifes up to that many bits, for example -- and there's usually some discussion of those objects right away as glider syntheses are worked out. So it seems good to have a suggested handle available quickly for those objects.