When I first joined this site and became active on the boards, I was grateful that I’d finally found a place where names of all styles could be discussed with thoughtfulness, intelligence and openmindedness, and a place I could look to for constructive, non-judgmental advice and insight.
Since, I’ve started to get a little bummed out about the tone that often dominates some of the threads.
To be more specific, I’m talking about posts where, instead of replying to a request for feedback about a name with something like " I don’t like that name at all because X, Y and Z," a respondent sees fit to write something like, “No. [name]Just[/name], no. That’s ridiculous.” Or, instead of, “I prefer quirky, unusual names to traditional or trendy ones,” a poster blasts anyone who chooses a traditional or trendy name as “lazy,” or uncaring about their children’s futures.
What’s the difference? [name]One[/name] kind of response sets up room for dialogue and critical discussion. The other shuts it down. “That’s terrible;” “That’s a stripper name;” That’s trashy;" “That’s boring”: [name]How[/name] do these kinds of comments do anything except contribute to polarization and icky feelings?
I want to be part of a discussion community that’s about sharing an interest, learning about other points of view, and trying to understand how and why we all have such varied, subjective responses to individual names–I think it’s an incredibly interesting thing to think and talk about. I think (I know?) other Berries feel the same.
I would hope that we might all try to work toward keeping this a space where all participants–especially those who have entirely different sensibilities from ourselves–feel welcome and empowered to share.
I do think people should practice proper manners and etiquette when critiqing and reviewing other’s names. I’ve felt the same way about some post also. I think you should be honest but be a little more conscientious and considerate of other’s names styles and choices. Embrace the differences and learn to provide better feedback instead of being abrasive and harsh. It’s an opinion not the law and treat it as such. No one opinion holds more value than the other.
I’ve been noticing this a lot more lately as well. I’ll probably get blasted for this, but I notice this a lot more with newer, younger posters. While there are some “Senior Members” which I tend to think of as rude, they still tend to lend more to discussion. I mostly see the short, rude responses from the younger posters.
ETA: There are many wonderful, young posters on Nameberry. I don’t want to say all of the young posters are like that, just a few that I’ve noticed.
Hmmm. I feel like I may sometimes be guilty of this, though I never intend to belittle anyone or their choices. I usually try to qualify whatever I say by adding that it’s just my personal opinion, I’m not objective, etc etc.
However, it kind of annoys me when the opposite problem occurs–people are almost aggressively nice, and gang up on anyone who expresses a remotely negative opinion, even when it’s expressed respectfully. This is a forum people visit in order to solicit opinions–some negativity is inevitable.
I think most people behave nicely. Of course I don’t get people who are being mean about it (as some have been from time to time), but c’mon, there’s a lot of weird questions around here, what do you think of Ammunition as a boy’s name, nickname Amu? Is Magpie a cute name name for a girl? Should I put Twinkletoes in the middle or should I be brave and use it as a first? What are you supposed to say? And after pouring down the tequila the brain doesn’t function quite the way it’s supposed to.
I find it more “bullying” with the people who hunt down threads where people discuss more controversial naming styles to belittle them. I think we should all try to give advice based on the OP’s taste, not our own. I don’t find it constructive to comment on people’s taste based on my own, I try to put myself in their shoes. If someone likes surnames or boy names on girls, find nice one and suggest instead of bringing up [name]Annabelle[/name] or [name]Cordelia[/name].
And we have to remember that the way you think you say stuff isn’t always how it will be read on the internet. Sarcasm and wit can be hard to decipher.
I want to add that I think it’s super important that berries feel free to say they dislike a name (especially if the opinion is at odds with the majority), but that I hope we are all thoughtful about doing so. I think this is totally possible if and when we are all able to look at ourselves and actually try to understand why we like and don’t like certain names (e.g. culture, previous experience, negative association).
[name]Just[/name] pronouncing a name to be “ridiculous,” “trashy,” etc. isn’t terribly thoughtful, nor does it contribute to real discussion.
Let me give an example: I don’t like [name]Margot[/name]. I know a lot of other berries adore it, but my first association with the name was the snobby, privileged [name]Margaux[/name] character on Punky [name]Brewster[/name]. When I’d play Barbies as a kid, I would name the stuck-up, mean girls in my story lines “[name]Margaux[/name].” . Also, I grew up working class and brown in [name]America[/name], and knew absolutely no one named [name]Margo[/name]/[name]Margaux[/name] (not a real common name in Latino circles) so there was no counterpoint to this one experience of the name. For me, this name is (indelibly?) associated with snobbery and classism and general bitchiness. Of course, this is all my own hang up, and one thing I enjoy about this site is that it makes me really look at myself and question, and try to move past such hang ups toward greater openmindedness.
But if I just jumped into a forum thread in which someone had declared a love of the name and brusquely declared, “[name]Margo[/name]/[name]Margaux[/name] is a snob’s name,” what would that do? Absent the context of my dislike, how does this contribute meaningfully to a discussion? [name]How[/name] does it do anything except make the OP feel as though I were passing judgment on his or her taste?
So, to reiterate–thoughtful disagreement is not only acceptable but invaluable to any worthwhile discussion
I prefer to take the “Sorry, but it’s just not my style” approach. Everyone has different taste in names, which we should all be thankful for, as it makes the world a bit more interesting, doesn’t it? I agree, there’s no need to bully. Either give your polite and thoughtful reply, which contributes to the topic -whether you agree or disagree with the name choice- or don’t reply at all. Easy.
Well I am just not sure why people feel the need to comment unless they have anything constructive to say, regardless of whether they like the names being discussed or not. No one is forcing you to reply to every thread…
If it’s not your style and you have nothing helpful to add (ie: a point of teasing the OP may not have considered) as justification for why you don’t like it, then just move on and find a post that talks about names you prefer. Seems easy enough to me. Sometimes I even check threads with names that I [name]Do[/name] like in the title, read the responses already mentioned, think “well I have nothing else to offer here” and go about my day. I’m not the type to be rude in most situations, so I just avoid any discussion that doesn’t pique my interest. I will say that I also will tend to avoid threads that have already started to become heated. Sorry Berries, I’m not here for your drama.
I think it really depends on the name in topic and the purpose of the thread. If someone is asking for “honest” or in some cases I see “brutally honest” threads, then I see nothing wrong with people saying “It’s terrible, I don’t like it, don’t do it, etc…”
I also think the “No. [name]Just[/name], no. That’s ridiculous.” can be a justifiable response if the name is something like [name]Princess[/name] Peanutbutter or Waffles [name]Nevaeh[/name]. However, it probably would be a bit nicer to add an explanation as to why it’s ridiculous, although that can be hard just looking at the two names I made up.
Though it’s rude, they are opinions and they should be taken with a grain salt. I think, as a poster, one has to realize that they are going to get these remarks and if that bothers them, then they shouldn’t post.
So yes, I have to say I’m guilty of this from time to time, however, I do try to always mention that it’s just my opinion. I add in key words like “I personally” or “In my opinion…” or just using imo.
Honestly, while I do run into the occasional “cringe-worthy” comment, I really don’t find a lot of overly rude remarks on NB. It’s generally a very tame, supportive atmosphere [name]IMO[/name]. It could be that I’ve been spending too much time on the BBC boards… Talk about ridiculous drama!
I hear what you’re saying, but this topic gets brought up every once in a great while. I’m not saying that to dismiss your feelings, but to assure you that the majority of users are trying to be helpful and the others will come and go in waves. You can drive yourself batty trying to get everyone here on the same page.
When I see an unhelpful reply, I just consider it another bump that my thread received up to the top of the boards, haha.
ETA: I think we’re talking about all different kinds of things here: being blunt, being rude, sugarcoating, being vague or unhelpful, being honest, being critical or “negative.” All very different motivations and not interchangeable. For example, I appreciate a blunt, visceral reaction every once in a while, but not a rude one.
I know I’ve occasionally responded with a “No, no, no. Please no.” But it’s usually in response to a thread where everyone is so excited about how wonderful a name is and I feel the need to be a voice of reason. I’d never say that to a name like [name]Victoria[/name] or even something like [name]Jasmine[/name] or [name]Kaitlyn[/name] or [name]Harper[/name]. But if everyone in a thread is telling the OP that it’s a fabulous idea to call her daughter [name]Elliot[/name] or Kyndoll, I’m gonna say something. Probably more strongly because of all the previous positive feedback.
Most of the time with those type, it’s pretty obvious the reason for the negative opinion. I would feel like I was patronizing the person if I said, “You shouldn’t name your daughter [name]Elliot[/name] because it’s a boy’s name. I know it’s on a TV show, but just because they do something on TV doesn’t mean you should do it to.”
But by the same token, if I love a name and everyone in the thread is dissing it, I’m also more vocal in my love and approval!
I’m usually much more democratic if I’m the 1st poster in a thread. And I don’t rub it in if 10 other people have already shown disapproval.
But overall, I think most people take the opinions given with a grain of salt. And if they don’t, they should.
I agree, constructive criticism should be the name of the game. But sometimes I think you just need to be brutally honest. If someone is asking about naming their child something crazy (by most people’s standards), we aren’t doing them any favours if we don’t provide honest feedback. Sometimes a “No, that’s ridiculous” will convince someone not to name their child something terrible, whereas a “That’s an interesting name…” might not have the same effect. But I agree with the general arguments put forward by the OP, as well as kalaway’s statement that people’s opinions should be taken with a pinch of salt.
[name]Imo[/name] the greatest disservice is to frighten people out of being honest with their opinions when those opinions are negative. Of course we should try to have as much tact as possible when we don’t like a name or a style. However, constructive criticism is useful. That’s why people ask for “brutally honest opinions”. When people are afraid to voice their negative opinions, the sample gets skewed and only positive opinions are voiced. The result is someone thinking that others like their name/style more than they really do. Personally, that’s not what I come to a name site for (to get people to approve of my choices)…that is what real-life family and friends are for. The value of Nameberry and other anonymous sites is honest opinions. And not everyone likes honest opinions; we can all be overly sensitive just as we can be overly terse. When people give me terse, negative opinions…well, at least they took the time to give me an honest opinion! They could have said nothing at all…of course, explanations are even more helpful.
In the end, if Berries are looking for approval over honesty, they can block my posts. But being honest is more important to me, personally, than being someone’s virtual “friend”. There tends to be an inverse relationship between anonymity and honesty because people want other members to like them on a site…which I find unfortunate because as I said I value constructive criticism.
I generally don’t comment on posts in which I have nothing positive to add, but one time fairly recently I was very rude and I felt awful afterward but the name(s) suggested were so self-indulgent, so cruel and so ridiculous that I had to stand up for that sweet innocent child who was about to get this god-awful name. I can play very nicely with trendy names or names that are not my style, but when people start being so incredibly self-indulgent and given to fancy that they forget they’re naming a HUMAN, I have to say something. And even then, I try to say it nicely but in this particular instance the name was so horrendous that I felt it was a crime against humanity and I had to take drastic measures to save a life. And I’m incredibly tolerant of names, I like to think. I mean, most people can overcome whatever they were named but this one in particular … guys, it was that bad. I don’t remember what it was anymore, but it was terrifying. [name]Trust[/name] me.
I also think the negative and sometimes very honest feedback is important. If somebody posts on here wanting feedback on a name and all they get is positive or carefully worded comments that are difficult to decode as negative then that might cause them to name their child a name that they think will be well received when in fact most people will hate it and judge the child based on their horrible name. Many people choose not to share names with friends or family before the baby is born so this might be their one chance to get real feedback on the name. And some comments like calling a name trashy in my opinion is actually a reason. There are names that people think of as trashy or stripper names. Tiptoeing around that and saying “I’m not sure it’s a very serious name” could result in a [name]Sugar[/name] Sparkles or something horrific.
I certainly hope this isn’t something I’m guilty of. I know can be quite blunt, but I try my best to be polite and give a short reason why I may dislike a name. I know that most of the time other people aren’t really affected by other poster’s opinions of their names. I know a lot of people probably don’t like my names but that doesn’t really concern me at all. I love nameberry because I get new ideas and get to hear what other people like in names. Although sometimes I may come off as a bully (and I hope I don’t), and just love hearing other people’s opinions and chipping in my own two cents. Regardless, I will try to work on my tone. Thank you for bring this to light, tawnysaurus, once again I hope I am not guilty of this and that I have not hurt anyone’s feelings.