January 21, 2004

It's funny how the emotional value of a term can have an impact on its sense. I made up the opposite terms "modulesIntegrated" and "modulesSeparated" to indicate text that would or would not take part in my documents depending on whether our released product had the module pack feature in it. The module pack feature is good, because it allows modules to be added to the product independently of the product. Therefore, I would like to move my documents from "modulesIntegrated" to "modulesSeparated". But we are in an intermediate stage of development, so I have to keep both versions of the text for now, and each time I publish my documents, I have to choose which type of text to include. And each time I have to choose which text to display, I forget what "modulesIntegrated" and "modulesSeparated" mean! I tend to think of the whole process in terms of "Now I'm making the good version," or "Now it's the crap version". But I can't remember which one of "integrated" or "separated" is "good". In fact, "separated" is good. So I wonder: if I had chosen the terms "good" and "crap", would it help? Surely it would; but I wanted two extra things: some traceability for the future, and some scalability. If I use the terms "good" and "crap" A) I can only use them for this one feature, and B) I'll forget what they mean later on. Even "goodModules", "crapModules" lose some traceability. But I think a term like "modulesLumped" and "modulesSeparated" would work much better: because the classic "separated" sounds more intellectual than the onomatopoeic "lumped". I would more easily map the "more intellectual" term with the "good" version. In fact, if I had said "modulesDependent" vs. "modulesIndependent", that might be even more descriptive, while introducing a sense of "crappiness" into the version which is made with the term "dependent". But that's all due to the cultural weights of the words. I can understand something quicker when I choose a word that touches me somewhere. And that's funny.

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