Author Topic: When will organisations learn that the general public can't be trusted?  (Read 2577 times)

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Offline karajorma

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When will organisations learn that the general public can't be trusted?
http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/apr/17/boaty-mcboatface-wins-poll-to-name-polar-research-vessel

Quote
Forget the EU referendum. The major test of modern democracy has fallen into the hands of the Natural Environment Research Council – over the naming of a boat.

As the polls finally closed for the naming of its new polar research ship, the NERC confirmed that the votes were overwhelmingly in favour of RRS Boaty McBoatface.

The suggestion, which sent the competition viral last month, received 124,109 votes, four times more than RRS Poppy-Mai – named after a 16-month-old girl with incurable cancer – which came in second place.

The chief executive of the NERC, Duncan Wingham, with whom the final decision lies, now faces the dilemma of choosing between the credibility of his organisation – and its £200m arctic explorer – and the overwhelming burden of public opinion.

Still, could be worse. The examples further down that page from Mountain Dew and the Austin sanitation department are much worse.
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Offline 0rph3u5

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Re: When will organisations learn that the general public can't be trusted?
The problem is that you can't distrust the general public if you depend on the general public.

Companies can just go "screw it" because they require no more awareness from you than "oh look it's on the shelf". But in the case of NGO's you are really caught between a rock and a hard place because you need awareness form general public for all sorts of reasons (from funding to networking). And with awareness come the trolls ... it has been this way since there was a general public in the modern sense but internet has only highlighted the issue (because you can't just screen out the singular nutjob-letters when they come in the thousands because the one nutjob got an audience to turn is nuttery into a performance).

However what is the alternative?- I honestly don't know (well I do know several alternatives but they all revolve around some kind of dictatorship)
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Offline karajorma

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Re: When will organisations learn that the general public can't be trusted?
The problem is that you can't distrust the general public if you depend on the general public.

No one depends on the general public to decide on the name of a boat. :p
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Offline 0rph3u5

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Re: When will organisations learn that the general public can't be trusted?
The problem is that you can't distrust the general public if you depend on the general public.

No one depends on the general public to decide on the name of a boat. :p

The name of the boat was just their latest PR gig. You know, using the naming of the boat to evoke the illusion of ownership via contribution which then would lead to identification with the cause and finally/optimistically to actualy contribution.

The method is old by PR standards and no one below the age of 30 would employ it, because most of them know better.
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Offline Dragon

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Re: When will organisations learn that the general public can't be trusted?
They're not the first to fall afoul of it. NASA was told to name the ISS Node 3 "Colbert" after Stephen Colbert. They went with "Tranqulity", but he did ge an exercise threadmill to his name. :)

Unfortunately, "the general public" seems to have lost the ability to take serious things seriously. Maybe it never had it, but the internet allowed people to give input directly instead of through a handful of representatives (who are traditionally expected to act somewhat dignified). Today, if you're going to do something like that, you need to have people vote on a premade list of names and refuse any silly suggestions. All things considered, they probably should go with RRS Poppy-Mai.

 

Offline Luis Dias

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Re: When will organisations learn that the general public can't be trusted?
Meh, I find the name ok. It's funny and self-conscious. I'd say deal with it and have a giant laugh with it, learn how to have a sense of humour even in your oh so important oh so incredibly rigthteous NGO.

I also think that the "general public" is smarter than you give it credit for. They sensed something here. A failure of a kind. A crack. And there's nothing like humour that manages to distinguish good human beings from righteous psychos in wont of salvation through these "causes". So for the sake of their "image" they should totally take the name and run with it.

And there's Dragon about "taking serious things serious". Really? Look at what names SpaceX gives to their drone ships. Does that smell "seriousness"? Why should a name be "oh so serious"? Why are these things always humourless? "Oh but it's a serious matter" they say. "these things are no laughing matter!" and everytime I hear these phrases, I weep for humanity. Without sense of humour, humanity is just not worth its salt.

 

Offline Dragon

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Re: When will organisations learn that the general public can't be trusted?
The thing is, those ships operate for quite a while. A giant laugh is fine and dandy, but it's also something people quickly forget. After that, it just ends up looking idiotic. I don't think that scientists and sailors for whom this ship is more than an abstract concept would appreciate their ship being named for a stupid joke. Especially considering who the runner-up was. The "general public" took a honest initiative and ran it into the ground. Humor is good, but the way it is applied also distinguishes good adult human beings from children that yet have to grow up. In that case, most voters acted like children.

TBH, I'm waiting for a day some two-bit YouTube celebrity jokes about being elected for president and ends up getting the office via write-in votes. Seeing how well Trump is doing lately, the day might not be that far off...

 

Offline The E

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Re: When will organisations learn that the general public can't be trusted?
Unfortunately, "the general public" seems to have lost the ability to take serious things seriously. Maybe it never had it, but the internet allowed people to give input directly instead of through a handful of representatives (who are traditionally expected to act somewhat dignified). Today, if you're going to do something like that, you need to have people vote on a premade list of names and refuse any silly suggestions. All things considered, they probably should go with RRS Poppy-Mai.

You're talking about a country where a considerable amount of people regularly answers "Jedi" when asked about their religion. Taking things seriously, especially when it comes to consequence-free stuff like this, has never been a particularly british thing; I'd hazard a guess and say it's not a particularly human thing either.

Also, given the result of this poll, the name should clearly be chosen from this list.

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Offline 0rph3u5

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Re: When will organisations learn that the general public can't be trusted?
TBH, I'm waiting for a day some two-bit YouTube celebrity jokes about being elected for president and ends up getting the office via write-in votes. Seeing how well Trump is doing lately, the day might not be that far off...

Ask around in Brazil, the country got a "good" track record on not-so-serious-cadidates getting elected (only on local level though, and once it was noted the office of course passed to the next suitable candidate in line)... But over there they might be bit busy with an impeachment right now...

I also think that the "general public" is smarter than you give it credit for. They sensed something here. A failure of a kind. A crack. And there's nothing like humour that manages to distinguish good human beings from righteous psychos in wont of salvation through these "causes". So for the sake of their "image" they should totally take the name and run with it.

There is a distinction between humour born to mock a failure of someone who has gone against their better judgement and the things that come of general apathy, a specific lack of interest and/or boredom ... The last one is a real problem with "good" special intrest (like envoirmental NGOs or civil rights groups for minorities).

 NGOs regularly fail at the PR game because they can't afford to put the same kind of money into lobbying and PR than cooperate special interest does, and so you get PR actions no-one with an ounce of knowledge into the media rotation would do. You have to sober up to the fact mind that it is rarely well-paid people in the know which fail here - if it were, it would be hilarous. For the troll-trail to then roll over these already weak actions and drag them along until there is nothing left that let's you at the recieving end of communication know of the earnest effort ... that's messed up IMO.
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Re: When will organisations learn that the general public can't be trusted?
This is awesome.

 

Offline Luis Dias

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Re: When will organisations learn that the general public can't be trusted?
Also, given the result of this poll, the name should clearly be chosen from this list.

I had mentioned this, and I kinda agree with it, were this naming algorithm not already taken by spaceX...

There is a distinction between humour born to mock a failure of someone who has gone against their better judgement and the things that come of general apathy, a specific lack of interest and/or boredom ... The last one is a real problem with "good" special intrest (like envoirmental NGOs or civil rights groups for minorities).

I get ya. It's not a great name, but they screwed it themselves. They misjudged their own species. IMO, they should own up to it in some manner. Perhaps honor the choice for a year or so but calmly and respectfully explain that such a name cannot be burdened with forever, and then come up with another process to name it from that point that also takes into consideration this public that has voted. Or something. You know, "PR" isn't that hard. You just have to spend a morning with non-idiots discussing some ideas, learn from mistakes and get it right.
« Last Edit: April 18, 2016, 06:52:35 am by Luis Dias »

 

Offline 666maslo666

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Re: When will organisations learn that the general public can't be trusted?
I am sure they knew very well that something ridiculous may win. Thats why such public polls usually have a disclaimer reserving the right to ignore crazy entries. What they wanted is free publicity, and they indeed got lots of it..
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Offline Dragon

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Re: When will organisations learn that the general public can't be trusted?
You're talking about a country where a considerable amount of people regularly answers "Jedi" when asked about their religion. Taking things seriously, especially when it comes to consequence-free stuff like this, has never been a particularly british thing; I'd hazard a guess and say it's not a particularly human thing either.

Also, given the result of this poll, the name should clearly be chosen from this list.

It is clear to me that Dragon has either not read or not understood Culture novels. A shame, really.
Hasn't been able to get my hands on those yet (another way in which Poland sucks, good luck getting a book that's only well known in the West), guilty as charged.

Anyway, if that's the case, what happened to the famous British humor, then? I heard that it's witty and clever. Boaty McBoatface isn't either, really. I don't see Monty Python doing something like that, except maybe as a part of some larger joke. It isn't even a reference (like The Culture examples). If you want funny, yet clever ship names, look no further than SpaceX landing barges ("Of Course I Still Love You", anyone?).

Also, the Jedi thing as apparently a protest against some stupid-sounding legislation (seems this is a common theme with Jediism), as opposed to a pointless jest:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jediism

 

Offline Luis Dias

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Re: When will organisations learn that the general public can't be trusted?
SpaceX ship names are taken directly from that list of Culture starships.

btw I'm having this yuge sense of dejá vu in this thread, in which whenever I say something, there comes along someone else to refer to exactly to what I had stated before, without any knowledge.

Perhaps I'm being muted by everyone? That would explain a lot.

 

Offline NGTM-1R

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Re: When will organisations learn that the general public can't be trusted?
Anyway, if that's the case, what happened to the famous British humor, then?

Dry humor is reserved for events of import.

This is not an event of import.
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Offline Dragon

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Re: When will organisations learn that the general public can't be trusted?
Well, I'd call launching a research ship an event of import, but I guess I'm biased regarding both "research" and "ship" parts (if it was a sailing vessel on top of that I'd be up in arms :) ).
SpaceX ship names are taken directly from that list of Culture starships.
I suppose that was kind of the point, though I admit I wasn't really thinking of that at the time of writing. I haven't read Culture novels (yet), but I've been following SpaceX. They're perfect examples of something that's witty, clever and a reference.

 

Offline Black Wolf

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Re: When will organisations learn that the general public can't be trusted?
Personally, I think it's a great, light-hearted fun name...  buuuuut, I'd hate to be the news reporter having to report the story of the tragic sinking of Boaty McBoatface, and the terrible loss of life as the wrecked hull of Boaty McBoatface dragged brave, helpless sailors to a freezing, watery grave.
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Offline Snarks

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Re: When will organisations learn that the general public can't be trusted?
I would take a compromise approach and have the vessel be named Boaty McBoatface for a year then renaming it to something else afterwards. It honestly doesn't seem that big of a deal really.

 

Offline karajorma

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Re: When will organisations learn that the general public can't be trusted?
Would you also suggest that Mountain Dew went with launching a new drink called "Hitler Did Nothing Wrong" for a year too? :p
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Offline NGTM-1R

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Re: When will organisations learn that the general public can't be trusted?
Well, I'd call launching a research ship an event of import

Why? I mean, what do you think this ship will do that will be important to the people who named it?
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