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Title ought to reflect the fact that this woman has a doctorate from MIT and should rightfully be addressed as Dr. Katie Bouman.





Her name is Katie Bouman. She can also be addressed as Dr. Katie Bouman.

Sure.

But in a published headline, one ought to be addressed by their formal title.

Differences exist between casual conversation and publication. A distinction I shouldn’t have to point out as one that exists.


Looking at the style guide, looks like the title may have been dropped because the length was already longer than 55 characters? I couldn't find a formal rule related to titles in headlines.

As long as the BBC is consistent (and not biased because of gender or other factors), I don't think it's a big deal.

From the BBC's style guide[1]:

Doctor

Use the title Dr (always abbreviated) for doctors of medicine, scientific doctors and church ministers who hold doctorates - but only when it is relevant. So it would be Mr Liam Fox. But do not use Dr for politicians who have a doctorate in politics, history etc. Surgeons should be referred to as Mr/Mrs/Ms.

headlines

Index-level headlines must be 30-39 characters long, including gaps - usually five to seven words. Story-level headlines can be up to 55 characters (a little longer as long as key words are within the 55) and should aim to include key terms to attract search engine referrals.

Avoid the US convention of using a comma in place of the word "and" (eg: "Crowe, Roberts in Oscar triumph").

If the attribution is clear, there is no need for quotation marks (eg: I’ve had enough, says Smith). Any quotation marks in a headline must be single.

Headlines might appear without an accompanying summary, so keep them simple. A cryptic headline, out of context, may be meaningless.

[1] https://www.bbc.co.uk/academy/en/articles/art201310101127407...


I appreciate you taking the time to go and find what BBC’s editorial standards are for formal titles in their headlines. It’s entirely possible you’re right and this is why it was dropped, I should have gone and looked for their style guide the way you did.

May have found my own answer much sooner but thanks nonetheless for that bit of information.


Given that it was the BBC, who in my mind would take a "stuffier" approach to these things, I was curious what was in their style guide.

This is an assumption, but I would think that all the recommendations in their style guide were put in there with at least some consideration.


In the headline? They call her "Dr" just a few sentences into the article. The rule of headlines is to use as few words as possible, and every one of them should be necessary. I've never heard that formal titles MUST be used in headlines, and indeed in practice this doesn't seem to be the case. Shaquille O'Neal has a PhD and I've never seen him referenced as Dr. Shaquille O'Neal, in a headline or otherwise (and no, I'm not joking, this is apparently real).

I don't think this is an attempt to minimize her accomplishments, unlike many of the comments here in this very thread.


Note that I didn’t say she MUST be referred to as doctor. You did. I said ought, because the accomplishment is worthy of merit as a scientific achievement and in this scenario I think it’s quite proper the doctor is formally addressed as Doctor, it’s highly relevant and germane to the topic in the article.

My statement isn’t an assertion of requirement on the part part of the BBC. This is just opinion and really ought not be looked upon as something incendiary or contentious.


I agree with you, however the difference is that her Dr is relevant to the article, and Shaq's Phd usually isnt.

Neil deGrasse Tyson has a PhD in astrophysics and isn't typically referred to as "Dr Neil deGrasse Tyson" in headlines either. Same for Carl Sagan, Stephen Hawking, and many others. Titles simply tend to be dropped in headlines and casual conversations; they certainly aren't universally used, or even close to it.

Are you at all, in any way willing to entertain a viewpoint that suggests that those gentlemen have their titles dropped possibly because they have become synonymous with their crafts and a lifetime of achievement that-at least in the case of Dr. Sagan has spanned generations (Dr. deGrasse-Tyson's work and personality on the cusp of enjoying the exact same), and their names closely associated with a deep personal connection to the dissemination of science as a form of consumable entertainment (that also happens to inform) and that this maybe serves as an important distinction between someone who is appreciating their first bit of notoriety for their scientific accomplishments?

I personally think they should all be addressed by the titles they've worked lifetimes to earn, that anyone who holds a formal title such as Doctor should be addressed as such in a non-casual/non-informal environment, but I'm also willing to entertain that this is a possibility for why the difference may exist between Dr.'s Sagan, deGrasse-Tyson, and Bouman. And yes, there are probably, most likely others that are far less nuanced and charitable.

Would you be willing to entertain that viewpoint?


"Are you at all, in any way willing to entertain a viewpoint that suggests that those gentlemen have their titles dropped possibly because they have become synonymous with their crafts and a lifetime of achievement that-at least in the case of Dr. Sagan has spanned generations (Dr. deGrasse-Tyson's work and personality on the cusp of enjoying the exact same), and their names closely associated with a deep personal connection to the dissemination of science as a form of consumable entertainment (that also happens to inform) and that this maybe serves as an important distinction between someone who is appreciating their first bit of notoriety for their scientific accomplishments?"

Nope.

I think you are now beating a dead horse with this argument.


Sagan's critics were wary of pop science. Would the need to entertain come before rigor and accuracy? And their fears were realized with Tyson. Possibly the sloppiest, most inaccurate pop science celebrity ever.

May I take it with me to the grave. I think someone who is, in fact, a doctor ought to be addressed as such. Regardless of their gender.

Apparently that is a problem for some in this community which is a damn shame.


Eh, I think it's kind of pretentious to demand using a special title when referring to people like this. It's just a degree. I don't demand people refer to me by using my work title in front of my name and I've been doing this for a lot longer than 5-7 years. The people I've met who correct you on how to address them by their title invariably come off as (and usually are) arrogant assholes.

Titles in general seem quaint and obsolete to me (and to many others). Seems like a relic from centuries ago, like from monarchies. I don't see why not participating in this is a "problem" or a "damn shame".


The title of Doctor witnesses that the owner advanced humanity’s knowledge, and often turned the impossible into possible (as here). It’s not “just” a degree. It’s also not inherited. That you compare work titles with that suggests you have no idea on what you’re talking about.

One can make intelligent arguments about the use of such titles. These aren’t.


She should be referred by her proper title. Can and should.

The policy on Hacker News, according to their guidelines, is they use the original article title, unless there's a good reason to change it.

[flagged]


Can I ask how you know what I would or wouldn’t do and what my sensibilities are on this topic?

[flagged]


I’m not white knighting anything. I am respecting her academic achievements as someone raised by someone who holds a doctorate to respect and address people by the titles they’ve earned-where appropriate, and encouraging others to do the same. I've literally said nothing about what bearing her gender has on my opinion--I only offered the opinion that the article's headline should acknowledge the title this individual, one who happens to be a woman, holds in light of their remarkable scientific achievement.

Why is this a problem and why do you characterize respecting achievements as “white knighting”?

Are you here to tell me a man can’t respect a woman’s title without having an ulterior motive? Why do you believe this to be the case?




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