[Baypiggies] BayPIGgies name [was: April agenda?]

Rick Moen rick at linuxmafia.com
Thu Apr 13 00:10:20 CEST 2006

Quoting Rich Morin (rdm at cfcl.com):

> My take is that a user group's name isn't ever going to be
> very important as a draw, but that it could be a detriment.
> If folks are finding the current name to be a problem, pick
> a boring name for official use (the "in crowd" can show how
> cool they are by using the old name :-).

Hi, my thanks to Rich Morin for the above, and apologies about being
slow to reply.

Oh dear, this looks like one of those conversions peppered with symbolic

"unprofessional":  In completely _different_ contexts, this would have 
straightforward and relevant meaning.  Those would be, well,
professional contexts -- ones where people are expected, for
money-making reasons, to follow the forms conventionally in line with
business purpose.

But of course _that_ doesn't apply to a volunteer Python group.  So,
it's really just being used as a codephrase meaning "The speaker feels
its silly and would prefer it to go away, but can't cite any _real_ 
reason, but 'unprofessional' sounds vaguely disapproving, so let's use

I don't mean to dismiss people ending up feeling that way:  That's 
an honest reaction (from some folk) that shoudl be fairly acknowledged.
My point solely is that the term is distortive and (whether so intended
or not, and I assume not) ends up being cheap polemics.

"has about zero appeal for anyone I know":  Seems like overstressing
kneejerk reaction from some humourless people, and mostly a screen for 
the "I just don't like this name" view noted previously.  _However_, 
echoing Rich's point, granting the premise isn't reason to rename the
group:  Rather, it's reason one might want to sometimes refer to it by
an altered version of its name.

Maybe I'm weird or I studied formal rhetoric too long, but I recall
having done this instinctively, and not sat on my ass waiting for
official permission, either.  That is, if I intuited that someone
wouldn't find "BayPIGgies" amusing, I substituted "{Silicon Valley|Bay [Area]} 
Python Group" on the fly.

I mean, isn't that obvious.  Don't _you_ do that?  Why not?  And, if you
_do_, then what's this teapot tempest about?

Looking back, I'm not sure I clearly remember when I first heard the
name "BayPIGgies" but _am_ sure I didn't know my wife had named it.  I
_think_ the first few seconds were like this:

  'BayPIGGies'?  WTF?
  Oh, like 'FIG'.  I get it.
  Still, 'PIG'.  That's... eccentric.  Wait; I _like_ eccentric.
  But with the 'ies' prefix, it's cloying.  No, wait, it's _mock_
  cloying:  That's brilliant.  And so nice to not have yet another
  boring, completely unimaginative name.

"consistent with":  Means "20,000 dying lemmings can't be wrong", 
aka boring and sleep-inducing is good because it's bland and inoffensive.  
See also:  http://linuxmafia.com/~rick/lexicon.html#best-practices

This is the impulse towards flavourless mediocrity that, e.g., lead
SVLUG to stop using the term "Foo of the Month" for short presentations
because one nitwit felt the term was "too geeky" (for a Linux group!)
and another poorly educated aspiring bluenose asserted (in error) that 
the term originated in "Fu**ed Up Beyond All Repair" and bleated that
SVLUG must not be guilty of profanity.

(Said officious ignoramus could not be bothered to look even as far as
the Jargon File:  http://www.catb.org/jargon/html/F/foo.html)

So -- and hold onto your lunch -- specifically to appease these two 
techno-tards, SVLUG has renamed its short-presentation segment "Nifty of
the Month".

Nifty!  Polyester knit pastel bellbottoms are "nifty".  Sheesh.  

That's the sort of lame-ass result you get when you succumb to the urge
to eliminate all possible complaints.  Blandness, and room-temperature IQ.

There is also a recurring nitwit initative to rename "BayLISA", the
sysadmin group.  Suggestions are always "more professional" (bland) and
"more inclusive" (vague and stupifying).

Rich _actually_ wanted to consult with me on geographical coverage,

> If it were my decision, I think I'd try to define a region that covers
> the "inner" bay area: Alameda, San Francisco, San Mateo, and San Jose
> counties.  Folks from Contra Costa and Marin are welcome to attend,
> but no special effort gets made on their behalf.

I concur, absolutely.  BayLISA deals with this same issue repeatedly:
Someone in Berkeley says "Gee, Cupertino's a long way to drive."  A San
Franciscan says "I live in the Mission, and the city charter says it's 
unlawful to force me to drive south of Cesar Chavez Street.  Besides,
I'm not sure I have my visa for trips to San Mateo County."

After pondering the matter for a long while, BayLISA leadership found
that there was enough interest in S.F. meetings that regular ones might
be held there if locals to staff the meeting and a reliable, suitable
venue could be found.  For the North Bay, we helped a new, independent
sister group get founded, which now meets monthly in Sebastopol.  If
someone in Concord / Walnut Creek wished, we'd assist in setting up a
group there, too.

In other words, we decided to concentrate on (roughly) San Jose to S.F.,
and help found additional groups elsewhere.  Not everyone likes this,
and, (note!) this is OK and expected.  We're not the Sysadmin Tooth Fairy.

For a group to remain stable and build _new_ attendence, in general you
want to keep the following as consistent as possible:

o  The group's name
o  The group's Internet domain
o  Venues
o  The recurring date/times of events.

Consistency and predictability are very much your friends, so you should
need a _very_ compelling reason to impair those.

More information about the Baypiggies mailing list