Perception, Distractions, Alt.Net

By: Johnathon Wright on: October 15, 2007

What's in a name? Would a rose by any other name smell as sweet? Can we move on to discussing coding, please?

At the conference in Austin, there was quite a bit of discussion about the name Most of this was a semantic discussion of the definition and connotation / denotation of the words alternative and alternate . Does the term indicate that we are embracing while being willing to look outside the Microsoft-centric universe for tools and practices? Or does this bifurcate the community into those who follow some unspecified set of best practices and those that don't? What about those who use one or two tools but not others? Will people not like us because of the alternative aspect of this stuff?

This then becomes a branding issue. How is the word alternate being perceived by those outside the group? Everyone knows the expression "don't judge a book by its cover." The reason that expression exists is because people are hard-wired to judge books by their covers. It's human nature. Will people who aren't involved in this right now, who would otherwise benefit from becoming engaged in this discussion, stay away because of their perception of the name? Unfortunately, perception is often reality. I do think some people, who are not me, will be turned off by the name and will allow the name to inform their understanding of the goals of the collective.

If this is something that we want to spread, and I think that it is, then we need to divest ourselves of the distraction. That way, we can spread the good news that using best practices can make your life easier, less stressful and fun .

The name isn't the core of this thing we call Alt.Net. A name was needed for a group of people to associate themselves with a movement toward better development. The topic of the name, or anything that falls under the discussion of branding, should be secondary to actual discussion of practices.

I vote that the name should be retired. Frankly, anything that doesn't distract from the message would be fine with me. I would be open to calling it Jedi Programming Tricks, but it's not as flashy as

One suggestion that I thought was positive was and CodeBetterConf. It is simple, it captures my understanding of the collective mentality, and I don't think it will be the distraction that has become.


Just checking that you are human. What would be the result of this code?

a = 3*(4/2); b = 1; a+b