Tuesday, March 20, 2012

' is not a valid character

Steve Sailer writes:
This would make a pretty good sketch comedy running joke -- L'qisjha Jones, Affirmative Action Arbiter -- as various people try to bluff their way past L'qisjha, each rejected with the same punchline.
That doesn't actually appear to be a given black name (at least not yet), but it reminds me of a funny thing that happened a couple of years ago. At the company I work for, we were using a new in-house program that had been working fine, without incident, for a couple of months, but then ended up having to send it back to our programmers for a rework when we discovered, thanks to a new client named L'Tisha, that it wouldn't recognize an apostrophe in the Name: field. Even though we're a privately held company, we of course did the prudent thing and incurred the expense of making the program change rather than running the risk of someone--perhaps L'Tisha!--accusing us of being racists.

11 comments:

Jokah Macpherson said...

Come now, the apostrophe thing is not racist. Why, your next client may turn out to be a D'Artagnan.

Anonymous said...

If she isn't in your target customer base, frankly who cares?

Anyways, new post/data analysis idea! What's the population of bilinguals or multilinguals in the USA?

Anonymous said...

A lot of people have an apostrophe in their name, though it is more common in the last name. d'Artagnan, for instance, or O'Neill.

Peter said...

The most interesting apostrophe last name was that of some kids I knew when growing up, M'Sadoques. It was Portuguese and pronounced more or less like "Massa-dokes."

Audacious Epigone said...

It may have been the first name field, specifically, I can't remember.

Audacious Epigone said...

Or no one had previously made an issue out of it before she did, and we just did O'Neill as "ONeill".

Olave d'Estienne said...

What would be REALLY racist would be to reject exclamation points in names. Just ask N!xau.

Jokah Macpherson said...

I'm not a software engineer or anything but for anyone who knows: does it take special effort to make the apostrophe character valid? I figure it may be something to do with it often serving to indicate the borders of a text string. My company's time system, which was developed in-house, won't let you enter an apostrophe in the comment field, so it seems to be pretty common.

Randall Parker said...

Jokah, Whether single quotes (apostrophe) or double quotes in a name or other entry field will cause a problem depends on which programming language you are using and your techniques. It is very to avoid problems from apostrophe. The software developer just has to know how.

Entry fields that are affected in this manner are probably at risk for other reasons as the entered data is probably being evaluated in a way that runs the risk of executing interpreted code. So I would be concerned about a site that can't handle single quotes in name fields.

Myrmecodon said...

Apostrophes are the provenance of nerds, Negroes, Jews, and Klingons.

Should be called the APOZtrophe because listening to people bearing one will get you infected with AIDS or shoddenberry liberal thinking.

rjp said...

Question is, can the application handle having La-A as a Client?

It's pronounced LaDasha.