Making it impossible for people to enter their own names the way they actually use them is anti-user. It's like refusing certain characters or artificially restricting the length.
Names most definitely don't make sense, and trying to force them to make sense in your software is the path to madness.
Most forms I see these days either leave it off, or make it free form. This article discusses those that don't.
In any case, this is not "part of your name" - simply move to a country with a different language and look for the "Mrs." option.
And frankly I find it disgusting that people should consider it brainwashing at all. It is not. At one time, being married was a badge of honour that a woman wore with pride, and whether or not that happens to be your standard of maturity or not, it is not for you to decide what should be important in somebody else's life.
If you're worried, present the user with a short text input. Give it a placeholder "e.g. Mr, Ms". Allow it to stay blank for those who want it. But don't make a judgement call on another person's behalf. It is not your place to do so.
That's ridiculous. There are many women out there who are proud of their marital status. It's a big deal in some parts of the country.
There are better places to fight your war on American traditions than your cart checkout. In fact, I would argue that the carts need more choices. For a good example, check out http://www.bodenusa.com. They offer a big list of salutation options, including awesomeness like "Baroness", "Colonel Sir", "Lady", and "The Honorable". If I ever get a piece of junk mail addressed to "Field Marshal Lord Snell", I'll know who sold my information.
Is that your intention?
EDIT: Oh wait, "customer" here may mean "client", as wilg pointed out, ie. the person asking for the form to be built, not the person filling it out. That is likely the source of this misunderstanding. I still don't see the harm in providing both Ms. and Mrs./Miss -- some surely prefer Mrs. and there is no shame in deciding you prefer "Ms."
I've built many such forms, and all of them have included traditional forms of address. I may build another with traditional forms of address, but I certainly have no problem discussing the subject without laughing the idea off.
If anything, chrissnell said it was ridiculous to question the client.
raganwald said it's not ridiculous to question the client.
And, before you try to weasel your way out, this isn't some interpretation, it's literally what was said.
Granted, with a handle like yours, I could see how having someone else make the decisions for you might appeal to you.
What he is asking is pushing back on a culture issue, as if we, the annointed programmers in the world, are going to create social justice by changing the options in forms and denying people the ability to add what information they want. It's fine to say "Ms should be an option" but it is rediculous to deny women the option to use "Mrs" and "Miss" if they want.
> In fact, by calling it ridiculous, you're sending a very strong signal that people who ask questions about whether we should keep doing this the way they've always been done will be shamed.
That's one possibility. Another one is to recognize that as a programmer, it is not our role to shape society in this way. The best thing we can do is empower people to choose what they want to do, not take away options. Culture arises from the grass roots.
> Is that your intention?
There is one thing that is worth shaming here, and that is those who would deny women agency in deciding these things for themselves. That's not the role of the developer and sometimes there is a room for a little humility.
I just think there are points where some ideas need to be called out for what they are.
The idea that we mostly male programmers will help make women equal by denying them options on how to fill out forms that they might otherwise want to choose strikes me as deeply at odds with itself.
That's interesting. Including titles of nobility makes things much more interesting. The appropriate thing to write on an envelope for a Duke is "The Duke of PlaceTheyAreDukeOf", and the letter starts "My lord,", but a baron is handled differently. He gets "(The Rt Hon) The Lord PlaceTheyAreBaronOf." And that doesn't even begin to cover all the cases.
If you make a new form, limit salutations to Dr., Mr., Ms.
Why do you ask people what their titles are at all? Dr., Mr., Ms. Why do you need them?
If your customer wants Mrs. & Miss, push back. Up to you to decide how far and how hard, but make an effort.
Given that you do ask such silly questions, who are you to push back against the title someone wants? If a woman, say my mother, older than the both of us, wants to be known as Mrs., who are you to push back on that? Is your push back a step for gender equality, or you just being even more self-absorbed and clueless in your questions than before?
Would you push back against a person that wants to identify with a different pronoun? Or a different gender? Then why are you pushing back against that person's choice of a title?
Do you verify the titles? If not, what's the skin off your nose?
There is simply no male equivalent to "Miss" and "Mrs.", so asking someone to choose between titles is implicitly asking for their relationship status.
I would prefer there were no titles at all, but if you have to use them the only equitable way of doing it is to eliminate "Mrs." and "Miss".
Edit: Actually even better would be to have a text field.
Or you could just be inclusive and allow Ms, Mrs, and Miss.
Why on earth is "Dr." in there? From those options it strikes me as if the form would really care about wether or not I am male or female, but if I am a doctor, then who cares if I am female or male, I have apparently made it to a higher state of being, one that transcends gender. Get rid of salutations all together. If it is important for you to know the persons gender, ask them specifically that question. If, for some unknown reason, you also need to know if the person completing the form is a medical doctor, or a doctor of another type, ask that question directly as well.
I think it similar to how students are told to address their teachers as Mr. X or Ms. Y, rather than by their first names.
The American Heritage Book of English Usage states that: "Using Ms. obviates the need for the guesswork involved in figuring out whether to address someone as Mrs. or Miss: you can’t go wrong with Ms. Whether the woman you are addressing is married or unmarried, has changed her name or not, Ms. is always correct." The Times (UK) states in its style guide that: "Ms is nowadays fully acceptable when a woman wants to be called thus, or when it is not known for certain if she is Mrs or Miss". The Guardian, which restricts its use of honorific titles to leading articles, states in its style guide: "use Ms for women... unless they have expressed a preference for Miss or Mrs".
In business, "Ms." is considered to be the standard default title for women until or unless an individual makes another preference known. The default use of Ms. is championed by a number of etiquette writers, including Judith Martin (a.k.a. "Miss Manners").
Eliminating it completely solves a non-problem and takes preference away from those who would prefer either term.
However, having experienced this weird identity/title disconnect a few times now, I know she would also feel like it wasn't her, but somebody else, being addressed if she were forced to be "Ms".
Sure, there are times where you don't want to be informal and there isn't much of an alternative than Title Surname, but I'd rather see the titles removed altogether. Should we try to make "Miss" and "Mrs" obsolete? Probably, but not by removing the ability for us to choose it on forms.
I called a friend "Ms ..." once - she was quite offended, though she chided me in a humourous way. She is quite proud of being "Mrs ...".
So if you eliminate Ms, you eliminate her from your user base. And it is NOT your job to drag people kicking and screaming to your view of The Right.
I happen to prefer using Ms, for the very reasons you state. But it would be patronizing in the extreme for me to use Ms instead of Mrs when Ms offends. Or instead of Miss.
If you are not going to have a comprehensive list of all possible salutations (including Rev, Father, Your Holiness, Minister, Prime Minister, Honourable, Right Honourable, etc., as suggested by another comment, then have none).
I find it creepy when machines address me by name anyway. I shudder every time my ATM displays "Thanks, Peter". I would much prefer "TD thanks you for your custom" - or something less archaically phrased.... :->
No. You let people decide how they'd like to be addressed and leave your amateur social engineering at home.
I don't think it's right to force your own opinion on people when you can just as easily give a blank field and let them put whatever they want, including nothing at all.
Well done man, you went all the way to explain that we should not make differences between women and men, and there you still keep a difference for DOCTORS, like OMG do you not see the gaping abyss in your argument ?
Why don't you go all the way and push back on the use of ANY honorific title, because seriously there is no rationale to put people above others just because they studied more or obtained a position of power somehow.
You destroyed the whole point of your article, just because you want to fight for women but you should be fighting for equality for ALL if you were a little bit logical.
You can make that same point while recognizing that probably the author wasn't really trying to place doctors on a pedestal.
I've never understood why people with MDs or PhDs feel the need to be addressed as "Dr." wherever they go. Distinguishing between "Dr." and "Mr." or "Dr." and "Ms." seems at least as weird as distinguishing between "Mrs." and "Ms.".
And once you concede that people with those degrees deserve to be called by their preferred salutation, why not add all the other possible honorifics, like, "Senator", "Rabbi", "The Right Honourable", etc.?
Maybe the right approach is to just provide a text box that the user can fill in with their preferred salutation, or leave blank.
It's interesting how much cultural baggage goes into creating something as simple as a data entry form.
But what happens when someone fills in a salutation your CSRs/salespeople don't recognize? Do they hazard a guess at pronouncing it? Screwing up a title seems worse than screwing up a name, in terms of how much respect you've lost with what might be a potential client. (Really, though, I'd guess that they'd just ignore it, look at your gender, and call you "Mr." or "Mrs.", depending.)
On the other hand, the true 100% solution... I'm not even sure. An autocompletion-search based chooser that knows about every salutation that exists around the world, with the abbreviated, expanded, and IPA-pronounciation forms included for each salutation?
It's a relic of professional address. In Germany, an engineer may still be addressed as "Herr Ingenieur", or a professor as "Frau Professorin" (I'm a little rusty since the last orthography). Attorneys in the US may be addressed as "Esquire". Public officeholders and members of the military are often referred to with title or rank.
It claims that the use of /mɪz/ (Ms. in spelling, but the S clearly pronounced as /z/) was proposed as "close parallel to the practice long universal in many bucolic regions" of slurring the pronunciation of "missus" and "miss" as a single entity. Never thought of it that way, but my first reaction to reading this article is that we already have such a title, "Ms.", with the S pronounced as Z.
Your computer IP address 22.214.171.124 is listed at
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unblock yourself by entering the following code:
Which is ridiculous. Agent IP's, fine (although this is a really stupid way to go about it).
Referrers, okay, but only if you suffer massive abuse via a certain link, otherwise it's really, really dumb and you may ban tens of thousands of innocent bystanders.
But referrer IP's? That's just beyond idiotic.
I doubt I'm banning "tens of thousands of innocent bystanders", however :-)
Again, not saying it's wrong, just saying it's not easy. There's maybe even a point in there about programmer tendencies to underestimate the full impact of small code changes...
Not everyone has a last name. Chinese people have a family/village/personal name, others have just a single name.
Cultural assumptions for the convenience of database schemas is unnecessary.
Let people choose their username. Let them choose their "name" to be addressed as, including title.
You just lost a customer.
In the Netherlands, this kind of thing has been unacceptable for decades. The only reason why someone would put that in a form is as a deliberate joke.
Or just don't ask for it at all. I find it better to let the person determine how they would like to be addressed than limiting it based on my political agenda.
I recall seeing a flight reservation form on a British Airways site that
had a pulldown menu for either titles or forms of address that included
"Lord" and various others. To a US American it was slightly surprising,
but to a native Brit it would probably seem quite natural. (Of course,
what airline would pass up a chance to bring back distinctions of class?)
I see the problem that the original post describes as a "value and a
half" issue - the client and programmer are trying to extrapolate values
for several ranges from the variable they have jammed multiple values
into: gender, marital status, title, and form of address.
Even if all your users are from one culture, you're going to have
unexpected corner cases - these pages should suggest some:
For whatever reason you find yourself doing a task. Gardening, washing dishes, building a web form, saving a life. Whatever it is you choose to do, why not do it as well as you know how? Why denigrate something as not being worth doing well because there are more important problems in the world?
So what I'm stating is not that I simply "do not think of that problem as of being important enough to discuss". Actually, I don't see any problem at all. And I find that both sad and funny — maybe even horrifying — that many other people see it as a problem and even important one. Because, really, there aren't many "non-live-saving" tasks, everything that makes world a better place to live is pretty much worth doing.
That arguing on topic if you should or shouldn't leave a choice between `Ms.` or `Mrs.` doesn't make world better. Actually, I wonder if it isn't accomplishing the opposite. If you are a woman and you are presented the form that asks you how you'd like to be called in the emails or whatever, seeing both `Ms.` and `Mrs.` on that form doesn't hurt you unless you have some pretty serious psychological problems. More than that it might be even annoying to be unable to choose the honorific you personally prefer. That's why you might want to leave text input for your customer to enter whatever he wants anyway.