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Name Rationing

Too many Steves ....
  (+3, -1)
(+3, -1)
  [vote for,

There are four people called Steven (or Stephen) in our office. This causes a lot of confusion. I also know six people outside work who are called Steve. This is immensely confusing.

I propose that given names are rationed; no more than 2% of children in the population can be given a particular name as a first given name. You choose the name for your child; when you go to register, the registrar types the choice into a database. If a non-zero number of children already have that name, the system randomly decides whether it's to be allowed or not. As the number of Steves in the population increases, then the chances of being able to give your child that as a first name decreases steadily, until the Steve population approaches 2% at which point it becomes near-zero.

Homophonic respellings would be similarly excluded.

8th of 7, Nov 19 2002

Number names http://www.linguist...issues/7/7-378.html
Cordwainer Smith had number names in his books [herilane, Oct 04 2004, last modified Oct 21 2004]

Popular Baby Names http://www.ssa.gov/OACT/babynames/
From US Social Security Administration records. [horripilation, Oct 04 2004, last modified Oct 21 2004]

The Utah Baby Namer (again) http://www.wesclark.com/ubn/
Some good ones here [angel, Oct 04 2004, last modified Oct 21 2004]

SSA baby-name list in tabular format http://www.casperkitty.com/nametabl.htm
Two tables shows top-ten male and female names for every year 1880-2000 [supercat, Oct 04 2004, last modified Oct 21 2004]

The Tao of Steve http://www.sonyclas...ofsteve/above4.html
[Nick@Nite, Oct 21 2004]

Baby Names - Origin, Meaning of Names http://www.thinkbabynames.com
Baby names dictionary with statistic charts of name trends since 1900. [kianhuay, Jul 28 2005]


       And the toffs would reserve all the Edwards Jameses and Charleses years in advance. At least the Germans wouldn't be bagsing anything we wanted.   

       I sympathize though. The Charlotte Event Horizon has been approaching for a while now...
General Washington, Nov 19 2002

       there have not been many Myras about for a few decades now.
po, Nov 19 2002

       And now there's one less.
angel, Nov 19 2002

       [GW], it wouldn't work like that. You turn up on the day and present the baby in question, which you put into the machine. You type in a list of names and the system tells you if you can have them. Maybe you have to change you suggestions; an online thesuarus and dictionary is there to assist. The machine then prints a barcode and a serial number (dot matrix tattoo) on the baby and you go home smiling.
8th of 7, Nov 19 2002

       My freinds and I solved the same problem with a number suffix - in chronological order of Steve's known:   

       1)...Stephen aka Stevo! aka The Steve
2)...Stephen aka Steve-KilwinningSteve aka Steve2
3)...Steven aka Steve3

       There is a need to have this nomenclature universally adopted among your entire sphere of friends, so that we all know to whom you refer to when talking about Steve2.
Jinbish, Nov 19 2002

       Sounds good. Anything that encourages greater name diversity. I've always wanted to meet a girl called Aphasia, or maybe her beautiful sister, Ataxia.
General Washington, Nov 19 2002

       My sister worked in an office with two Steves. It was a volunteer organization, so they were constantly giving new volunteers the tour & introducing everyone. The second Steve would often get introduced as "....and this is Steve, also".   

       For years after that, there were folks who thought his actual last name was "Also". Everyone just started calling him that instead of using his given name.
krelnik, Nov 19 2002

       I propose that de Groof's name be changed to Jill to avoid confusion.
DrCurry, Nov 19 2002

       [8th] - do you mind if I call you [23rd] from now on - I know too many 8ths.
PeterSilly, Nov 19 2002

       Any idea that involves putting babies in sinister machines gets my vote...
snarfyguy, Nov 19 2002

       Require parents to specify a name before conception. If there are no instances of the name available, they're not allowed to have the baby.
angel, Nov 19 2002

       You know what they say about guys named Steve...
RayfordSteele, Nov 19 2002

       [Calum], try being called Ian. They're everywhere.   

       What about those Romans, then, all called Caesar?   

       I came, I saw, I concurred.
egbert, Nov 19 2002

       // [8th] - do you mind if I call you [23rd] from now on - I know too many 8ths. //   

       Yes, I do mind. I don't know you that well, certainly not well enough to be on first number terms yet.   

       [snarfyguy], yes the sinister machine that kind of fell out of the design halfway through - The Baby Printer. I might elaborate on that later. I'm already thinking along the lines of an Automatic Cat Labeller based on a tiny electric shaver.
8th of 7, Nov 19 2002

       Why allow 2%? Let's go the whole hog, and force everyone to have an unique identifier, a bit like horses, and a bit like hb.   

       whimsickle (aka Flangemagnet Jones)
whimsickle, Nov 19 2002

       My parent's were hippies, they made up my first name (which I refuse to disclose). I went by it for years until I got old enough to tell people I wanted to be called by my middle name. Having a common name is a blessing, at least on the first day of school you are not the center of attention when the teacher is asking you to spell and pronounce your name slowly, while the other children giggle. It scarred me for life. Sorry, but I must vote against something that might increase the chances of that happening to other children. ;)
drfowler, Nov 20 2002

       I have to agree with drFowler about the cruelty of schooldchildren. However, if you built into the machine an automatic warning, which would display possible nicknames based on permutations of the name chosen, this would be of great help to those stamping their children with a permanent affliction. (Sadly, a surname beginning with Fk led to a lot of teasing)
reap, Nov 20 2002

       And dynamically allocated, so that when you fall asleep then wake up, you have a different name.
angel, Nov 21 2002

       Thanks [angel] but I'll just keep my current name and use NAT
hippo, Nov 21 2002

       MMph. Being named michael, i love this idea. My high school class had about 40 kids in it, and had 5 or 6 mikes in it, including myself. Its just inconvenient. In general nicknames, or last names were used, but I'd like to be able to use my given name. . .
notme, Nov 21 2002

       A man who was obviouly Chinese applied for work on a New York railroad. When he was asked his name he replied, "Henry O'Rourke." The paymaster looked up and said, "How'd you get a name like that?" He replied, "When I landed at Ellis Island, Henry O'Rourke was ahead of me in line. When they asked my name, I said Sam Ting."
rcain, Nov 21 2002

       I teach Jr. High and we have several of the same first name in classes. I simply find out their nickname if they don't mind and use that. Only the mothers and grandmothers get bent out of shape as a rule.
rcain, Nov 21 2002

       Greater name diversity would just further intrigue parents on just how many ways you can spell a certain name. Take me for example, I have an all too common, but uncommonly misspelled name, as my mother and grandmother did before me. And it's enough to bring tears to my eyes every time someone asks me if I realize I have a "g" in my name... of course, the tears are to be expected seeing as how this moronic question almost unconditionally spurrs an irrational thrashing of my own head against the wall. Which would undoubtedly trigger some genetic screw up in my system which will eventually cause me to name my offspring something that sounds normal, but looks offensive. *Oh, Dayvyd, honey, come to Mama!* But at least he'd be unique... just like everybody else...
flamebroiledgoodness, Nov 21 2002

       This would have saved us from the flood of Jacobs, Emilies, Michaels, Madisons, Matthews, and Hannahs we're now suffering.
horripilation, Nov 22 2002

       You could have a computer generate random (but pronouncable) combinations of sounds, that it then checks against a dictionary, as well as a list of all previously issued names.
herilane, Nov 22 2002

       Those look more sensible than some of the names on my link: Txanton, Phakelikaydenicia, NaLa'DeLuhRay and Brinderella are among my favourites, but there are just too many to choose from.
angel, Nov 22 2002

       I really like the creative names, I had a friend in high school named Summer Dae, and her twin sister Autumn Eve. I also know a girl named Christmas Carol, and her sister Angel Noel. I imagine had they been male there names would have been: Kris Krinkle, and Nick Claus. If I ever have a girl her name will be Baileigh Analeise.
drfowler, Nov 23 2002

       Croissant....only because I have this problem with Davids.....
Marassa, Nov 23 2002

       [Horripilation] and don't forget the ever present colorful combos of each of these. I know of someone named Emily Madison. How quaint.
flamebroiledgoodness, Nov 24 2002

       Names do indeed come in waves, as shown in the tables I've linked above. Interestingly, Elizabeth made the top-ten list in both 1900 and 2000; Sarah made it in 1880 and 2000. Many names really don't have much staying power, but Mary was #1 every year until 1946, and was in the top ten until 1972. There are fewer different boys' names that have ever made the top ten, though William and Joseph both made it in the years 1880-1900 and again in 2000. John seems only to have fallen out of favor recently; Michael seems to have come into favor in 1944 and has remained popular ever since.
supercat, Nov 24 2002

       [drfowler] You have to be careful with those "creative" names. "Summer Dae" and "Autumn Eve" -- not to mention the pointless corruption of day -- are not far from "Summer's Eve," a commercial line of feminine hygiene products.
horripilation, Nov 25 2002

       I once worked in a department of five, four of which were named Mike. "Hey, Mike..." I understand your point.
X2Entendre, Nov 25 2002

       The map is not the territory.
1kester, Nov 25 2002

       "Michael Balwin, this is Bruce. Michael Baldwin, this is Bruce. Michael Baldwin, this is Bruce."   

       "Is your name not Bruce then?"   

       "No, it's Michael"   

       "That's going to cause a little confusion. Mind if we call you Bruce just to keep it clear?"
Helen Highwater, Jun 28 2003

       At least there aren't too many Hannibal Lector's running around!
darkknight_152002, Jul 23 2003

       I prefer "Sixth" or "Ninth" to Madison.
phundug, Jul 28 2005

       I was in a class with 8 Davids in it, and two Khia's - one a boy the other a girl.   

       Very weird, but very true. I'm glad that 'Stephanie' isn't as common as some other names...
froglet, Jul 28 2005

       This could go too far. I know people called Myfanwy, Annwen, Cadwen, Elyned, Morlais, Renallt, Bronwen, and all other manners of crazy monikers (haha pun).
pooduck, Jul 29 2005

       \\At least there aren't too many Hannibal Lector's running around!\\. Not enough, you mean shirley?
hidden truths, Aug 03 2005


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