'Atom' Should Be Its Name, and Its Name Was Atom

I would like to propose, nay, admonish, that the name of the format and spec should be Atom, that the current naming vote should be killed, and we should move on to grander things without the auspices of "what's it called?!" over our heads. This has been going on far too long.

  • "what to name it?" has been an issue since the wiki started. unsolved.
  • in every press mention, it's always been referred to, somewhere, somehow with the Atom moniker (individually or as multiple choice like "atom/echo/pie").
  • Atom' is becoming ubiquitous, both in our day to day discussions on this mailing list (contextually and titular, i.e. 'atom-syntax'), in the titles of the Wiki ('Atom Wiki'), and in regular chat (save for the entropied #echo IRC channel).
  • The current NameFinalVote wiki page shows very little participation, suggesting that no one really gives a damn. Likewise, the voting is proactive, not reactive (impending doom is more inspiring than lackadaisical choice). The vote should be replaced with something akin to: "Within {1 weeks time}, if a substantial amount of people raise no fuss, the official name of our format will be called Atom." If people can give good reasons WHY it should not be called Atom, in contest of this email, then that's reason to listen. However, it's more important to get this naming finalized, however.

Why Would Changing To 'Nota' Suck?

  • Re-education of the Press. As mentioned previously, they've all been using 'Atom' somehow or another, and renaming it to something different will cause confusion, explanatory backsteps that every editor hates, and an alienating of readership ('wait, i thought this was atom? why the name change? huh?'). Likewise, 'Related Articles' links will lose their charm ('i'm reading about Nota, what's this Atom crap?').
  • Re-coding of Projects. Due to Atom's ubiquity, much effort would need to be spent banishing the old name, heralding link-rot like never before. All atom-syntax archives and links would need to be forwarded to a NAME-syntax replacement, all Wiki pages would have to change (and searching for 'NAME' within your saved existing bookmarks would fail miserably), and more.
  • We'd Lose Search Magic. Searching for NAME will have little effect for months after the change, even though there's a wealth of good information out there.
  • People Will Misunderstand. They'll think it's a fork, a poor replacement (once a name becomes popular lexicon like Atom has, any up-and-coming replacement is distasteful), or totally unnecessary this late in the game. Some people will continue to call NAME 'Atom', causing more confusion than necessary (is it 'Really Simple Syndication'? 'Rich Site Summary'? 'RDF Site Summary'? How many times have you read an "either or" statement like this in the press concerning RSS. Do we want this?).
  • Besides the above, 'Nota' has a very crucial misstep, already mentioned on the Wiki discussion: it's not indicative of pronunciation. Is it "NotAGoodReplacement" or "Note-a"? Do we really want to release an .mp3 of us saying the word (as PostgreSQL has done). More importantly, can you think of any OTHER product, company name, or item that has an immediate pronunciation problem? This is, IMO, the biggest nail in Nota's coffin.

I really can't believe the naming has been *allowed* to go on this long. I don't even start projects without a name and some sketches of a logo - they can make or break a product, and any revisionist history now will certainly harm the format.

But, but, Morbus! You've forgotten about the legal issues (here and here)!

Quite deliberately, and so should you. If it does in fact become a legal issue, we will have a *reason* for changing the name; one we can quickly whip out when *anyone* questions us for changing the name. There's no herd voting, no "well, you know, because, uh...", no "just because". And, as the above two URLs attest to, there are already multiple companies using some form of Atom, and there have been no desist letters sent. If these URLs were any powerful indication of the feelings of people (besides the ever-popular "LOOK! I CONTRIBUTED MY TWO CENTS TO THE MAKING OF THE NEXT BIGGEST THING! OOOOH!"), then Atom would never have become as ubiquitous as it were.

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