Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. B-Gas
    Offline

    B-Gas Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Dec 1, 2007
    Messages:
    330
    Likes Received:
    14

    "Names" subsection

    Discussion in 'Support & Feedback' started by B-Gas, Feb 11, 2010.

    A lot of people use the Character Development section to ask for name ideas. I think that it would be useful to have a sub-forum dedicated to naming characters and concepts, simply because "Character Development" feels like it should be about bigger things than "what do I call this guy."
     
  2. Cogito
    Offline

    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    May 19, 2007
    Messages:
    35,935
    Likes Received:
    2,043
    Location:
    Massachusetts, USA
    Actually, I'd be happier to discourage the name threads entirely.

    Can you actually imagine Dan Brown, or Jo Rawling, or Stephen King asking people for name ideas for their characters?
     
  3. B-Gas
    Offline

    B-Gas Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Dec 1, 2007
    Messages:
    330
    Likes Received:
    14
    Well, as long as the unending torrent of "I need a name for this guy/species/spell/doohickey but am unable to think [of one] for myself" gets put somewhere else, it would be an improvement.
     
  4. Etan Isar
    Offline

    Etan Isar Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2007
    Messages:
    1,183
    Likes Received:
    32
    I agree. If you don't even have a name for your character, there's something wrong. Maybe if we just pinned one thread for names and for names only, and then started merging any new threads into it, we could stop all the turnover.
     
  5. Afterburner
    Offline

    Afterburner Active Member

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2008
    Messages:
    205
    Likes Received:
    2
    Location:
    North Carolina
    I kinda of agree with Cogito. I can understand asking for help on a plot point or something, but names should be left up to the author. There comes a point where they are asking too much.
     
  6. B-Gas
    Offline

    B-Gas Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Dec 1, 2007
    Messages:
    330
    Likes Received:
    14
    Mostly it's because the threads are always the same.

    OP: "Help me name this guy!"

    1: "Babynames.com"

    2: "How about this list of five names?"

    3: "(quotes the above, with one of them bolded) I like this one"

    2: "Thanks!"

    OP: "I was thinking something more (adjective)-y; here's a few character traits or core setting details I really should have mentioned in the first post."

    4: "Well, how about this name?"

    5: "How about this very slight variation on the above name?"

    6: "You could call him this, which means this, which is tangentially related to your story. Or try some of these similarly-derived names."

    OP: "Thanks everyone, but I just thought of my own one/I'll take these into consideration."

    Sometimes there's more lists, or more meanings, or more 'i like this one' but this is almost universally how it ends up going. Seen one, seen them all.
     
    1 person likes this.
  7. Etan Isar
    Offline

    Etan Isar Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2007
    Messages:
    1,183
    Likes Received:
    32
    You've captured the exchange beautifully. That's exactly how it goes, 93% of the time.
     
    1 person likes this.
  8. InkDream
    Offline

    InkDream Senior Member

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2009
    Messages:
    197
    Likes Received:
    3
    Location:
    the Evergreen State
    Yes! There should be a thread for name suggestions just like the one we have for the short story competition suggestions.
     
  9. Cogito
    Offline

    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    May 19, 2007
    Messages:
    35,935
    Likes Received:
    2,043
    Location:
    Massachusetts, USA
    Again, that constitutes a form of endorsement.

    Maybe I should just create another of those template posts everyone dislikes seeing. ;)

    I understand your frustration with these naming threads. I feel it too. But I don't see any benefit in giving them a nod by setting up a special place for them. I'll consider merging some of those threads, so the posters can see all the rolled eyes and heavy sighs that have come before.

    But my experience is that the members who ask these questions don't look around first, and focus only on their immediate need. These are the "think for me" members, the same ones who "have a ninja team and some demons, what should they fight over."

    They won't go away, they won't post were you want them to, and it's up to the rest of us to try to explain why they should be solving these issues themselves.
     
  10. mammamaia
    Offline

    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2006
    Messages:
    19,316
    Likes Received:
    1,014
    Location:
    Coquille, Oregon
    amen to all that!

    i'd second that motion..............
     
  11. Etan Isar
    Offline

    Etan Isar Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2007
    Messages:
    1,183
    Likes Received:
    32

    Cogi, no one pays attention to crap like that. If you really want people to listen you’ve got to create the illusion you’re responding personally. Which is a pain the butt, of course, so whatever. :)
     
  12. HeinleinFan
    Offline

    HeinleinFan Banned

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2007
    Messages:
    483
    Likes Received:
    33
    I'm chiming in because, while I don't believe that I've ever posted one of those threads, I do know that I went through a phase -- maybe around my third year of writing -- when I suddenly had name-block.

    I tend to visualize characters as complete people, so I will tend to aggregate information about their wants, needs, general personality, experience, training if any, age, gender and then, finally, description. Their name comes last.

    So in seventh grade, when I had an acute attack of uncertainty regarding names, I panicked. It wasn't until eighth grade that I heard about babynames dot com and similar sites, which fixed my problem.

    So while, yes, I agree that it's reasonably lame for folks to ask "Hiya, what should I name my character? He's tall and dark and handsome and uses a sling and shortsword as part of his job, he's a bodyguard for Suchandsuchblarney the king of Fug Hedaboutit," I too was young once and I know what it's like to simply not know about babynames dot com.

    Perhaps we could set aside a sticky forum, or whatever they're called, titled something along the lines of "Having trouble with a character name? Look here" and featuring a list of translator sites, baby name sites, and such?
     
  13. B-Gas
    Offline

    B-Gas Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Dec 1, 2007
    Messages:
    330
    Likes Received:
    14
    If you do that, you'll get the same thing we have going in the Plot section- people still use it for the 'what do you think of this plot?' despite the warnings. If you give the appearance of catering for the name-hungry crowd, they'll flock to it, and they'll leave the character development main forum alone.

    RPG-Directory did the same thing- they made a seperate forum for plot critique, because they were clogging up the discussion areas- and now they don't have that problem.
     
  14. Torana
    Offline

    Torana Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2007
    Messages:
    9,659
    Likes Received:
    128
    From an outside perspective, all this "Why don't you delete them and merge them because it is annoying me" doesn't make for a nice atmosphere where I would personally want to join as a new member.

    If you make things anymore strict than they already are, you are creating a place that could possibly seem less inviting. This is a writing community where people are meant to be able to come to for advice on writing, learn new skills, develop their writing skills, etc. Not to be criticized for posting up a thread saying "Help me pick a name" because they are unsure if a name they have picked is going to sit well with a target audience.

    People have been posting threads like this since before I joined here and I don't have a problem with it. Why should anyone else? Aren't we a writing community? Aren't we all here to develop our skills and help those around us develop theirs?

    Instead of complaining about such threads, why not start a discussion in the forum somewhere on finding the right name for a character? Surely that would do more for the site and members than all previously proposed ideas.

    We shouldn't discourage others, we should encourage.
     
  15. Cogito
    Offline

    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    May 19, 2007
    Messages:
    35,935
    Likes Received:
    2,043
    Location:
    Massachusetts, USA
    Folks, I wasn't serious about the template post. I don't bother with that unless what I need to say contains more than a sentence or two, and usually a link for more information.

    Mostly, I ignore the name threads. They're pointless, but the members who start them clearly don't want to be told that. Heinlein Fan, I have yet to see one in which the member seems to have things together but is just blocked on a name. Unlike the "what do you think of my storyline?" threads, there really is no important shift in thinking to be taught.
     
  16. B-Gas
    Offline

    B-Gas Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Dec 1, 2007
    Messages:
    330
    Likes Received:
    14
    Torana-

    I doubt that providing a subsection would discourage new members. If I was looking for a name and there was a specific section catering for what I was after, I would go there.

    The problem isn't the names threads themselves- it's that they follow a universal pattern and rarely seem to actually accomplish anything. The original poster either figures a good name out on their own, or they decide to keep thinking about it. I have yet to see a naming thread where the OP actually chooses a name suggested by someone else.
     
  17. digitig
    Offline

    digitig Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2010
    Messages:
    2,502
    Likes Received:
    79
    Location:
    Orpington, Bromley, United Kingdom, United Kingdom
    I think one situation where discussion of character names could be useful would be questions of cultural or historical research. "I'm writing a story set in Plantagenet England. Would 'Samantha' be a credible name for my peasant heroine?"
     
  18. mammamaia
    Offline

    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2006
    Messages:
    19,316
    Likes Received:
    1,014
    Location:
    Coquille, Oregon
    good point...
     
  19. Cogito
    Offline

    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    May 19, 2007
    Messages:
    35,935
    Likes Received:
    2,043
    Location:
    Massachusetts, USA
    Trouble is, that is never the kind of names post we ever see. :p
     
  20. Etan Isar
    Offline

    Etan Isar Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2007
    Messages:
    1,183
    Likes Received:
    32


    True, somewhat. But they ought to be able to figure that out from their research. Historicals in any genre are all about the research, and if someone was throwing out such a question in a random writer's community, I would hesitate to pick up their book.
     
  21. Banzai
    Offline

    Banzai One-time Mod, but on the road to recovery Contributor

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2007
    Messages:
    12,871
    Likes Received:
    150
    Location:
    Reading, UK
    Exactly. Not to mention that it could be put in the Research subforum.
     
  22. digitig
    Offline

    digitig Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2010
    Messages:
    2,502
    Likes Received:
    79
    Location:
    Orpington, Bromley, United Kingdom, United Kingdom
    Though of course, asking questions on forums of all sorts does count as research ;)
     
  23. Etan Isar
    Offline

    Etan Isar Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2007
    Messages:
    1,183
    Likes Received:
    32

    In a manner of speaking, yes, but good historical fiction requires the writer to do personal reasearch and/or talk to an expert. That's just not something you can do on a forum like this.

    Also, what Banzai said.
     
  24. Torana
    Offline

    Torana Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2007
    Messages:
    9,659
    Likes Received:
    128
    That is exactly what I was getting at.

    And Cogito, while these aren't the normal posts/threads that have been mentioned, it may help to contain such threads/posts, to one certain area and also help to create more discussion on the matter rather than just 'I need a name' as such.

    Sometimes a little nudge in the right direction is all that is required. Look at the poetry contests for example. A little nudge and now they have been going for over a year. No harm in giving it a go and you can always move such threads into that thread and PM the posters. I know that it can be a hassle at times as the mods are run off their feet with other issues in the forum, etc. But there really is no harm in trying to turn something that people are complaining about into something really useful.
     
  25. B-Gas
    Offline

    B-Gas Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Dec 1, 2007
    Messages:
    330
    Likes Received:
    14
    So- what is the verdict? Names sub-forum or not?
     
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.

Share This Page