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October 08, 2004

Terminology that isn't obvious

A few weeks ago I installed MT-Blacklist to this Blog, it's been doing a great job blocking spam-comments. However today I ran into a small problem, there was a trackback entry from Jason Della Rocca's IGDA blog 'Reality Panic' which it asked me to check (it was a link to this article). I was shown the entry, and asked if I wanted to 'de-spam' it. Since it wasn't spam, I said yes. Now you can see whats coming, in this context 'de-spam' meant remove as spam, whereas I thought it meant to mark it as not-spam. Doh!

Why do we create words like this where the meaning is not clear to everyone ? Instead of saying 'despam' it could have easily said 'mark as spam and delete'.

I see this in games as well, words either being chosen poorly or invented for the purposes of the game. I'm sure you can think of lots of examples yourself. I suspect that most projects do not employ someone to actively check all the strings in the game for context and content.
Recently, on our current project, I created a Bugzilla component called "String Approval" (or something like that). The idea is that any string displayed in the game gets entered into that component and at some point before we ship it will be approved/changed/deleted by someone qualified to do so. This is going to help us create a game that is more easily understood by the public, and it will also help with translations (if the meaning is clear, the translations are easier and less prone to error).

Posted by Zaph at October 8, 2004 08:43 AM

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Amusingly, I needed extra explanation to understand "String Approval" but immediately knew what "despam" means.

(Actually MT-Blacklist does provide a description about what it's going to do)

Posted by: Jon Eaves at October 8, 2004 10:55 AM

> Amusingly, I needed extra explanation to understand "String Approval"

Yep, I just checked and the actual name of the category is "Localisation - String Approval". Unclear meaning :-(

Another amusing tidbit related to that... I was once told by one of our USA based staff that I had spelt Localisation wrong (he was expecting "Localization")

Posted by: Zaph at October 8, 2004 11:19 AM

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