Pin Eight:Manual of Style/Placeholder names
Articles about linguistics or cryptography may need placeholder names. This is a chance to inject stealth puns and shout-outs to give an article layers of meaning, as long as they aren't pointed out to the point where they interfere with the article's primary meaning.
- Alice/Aeris/Aerith and Bob
- Alice and Bob are common characters in cryptography stories. A whole mythology grew up around the common case where Alice wants to send a message to Bob; as a famous coding theory speech puts it: "Bob is a subversive stockbroker and Alice is a two-timing speculator." Sometimes one may mix it up and give a shout-out to Final Fantasy VII with Aerith and Bob.
- Sam, Pat, Alex, and other gender blenders
- Wikipedia tries to get cute in articles about word order, using the name "Sam" to represent either Samuel or Samantha. Its article about the negative binomial distribution in probability contains an example originally adapted from this writeup on Everything 2, but someone changed Johnny to the more androgynous Pat to more strongly allude to The Little Match Girl. But don't overuse these; we don't need pronoun trouble or a dramatic gender reveal in every single article.
- Milo, Staisy, Gnivad, Acha, etc.
- Sometimes one may use the names of NPCs from a video game. A few articles here use the names of the characters from Thwaite. But this isn't a fan site, so don't use names strongly associated with particular non-free fictional universes without a good reason. See also List of character names.
- "Weena", the only Eloi name given in H. G. Wells's The Time Machine, sounds like a slang word for male genitals. Our research into the structure of the novel's frame story uncovered a hypothesis that those few native words in the narrative may have been mistranscribed in-universe due to phonetic mismatches between early 8028th century Eloi language and late 19th century British English. For example, "Weena" in the narrative could easily have been "Luina". It's OK to use "Luina" as a placeholder name because it doesn't draw quite as much attention to the innuendo, as Don't Name Your Baby by David Narter (ISBN 9781581821918) warns for names such as "Gina", "Nina", and "Tina".