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#1 2007-06-18 19:01:04

Dadge
Eggcornista
Registered: 2005-11-10
Posts: 77

Getting the suggestions onto the database

It seems to me that a lot of suggestions aren’t making it onto the database, or are only doing so quite slowly. I mean to do more, but it’s quite a laborious process, and who’s to say that anyone agrees with my choice of which ones to do?

It occurs to me that maybe there should be some sort of eggcorn approval system – either a simple java thumbs system like at Urban Dictionary
http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=Doofer
or a more formal system of peer approval such as at Rate Your Music
http://rateyourmusic.com/admin/corq/
where only registered members can vote.

Adrian

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#2 2007-06-18 21:44:58

Peter Forster
Eggcornista
From: UK
Registered: 2006-09-06
Posts: 812

Re: Getting the suggestions onto the database

Adrian, while I’ve always accepted that some formal qualification in language/linguistics is probably necessary for our gatekeepers, I’ve often had great difficulty in understanding some of the choices they’ve made and the grounds for their inclusion. In addition, none, with the exception of yourself, seem to be regular contributers, so I can only applaud your proposal and hope that it may yield something useful…

Peter

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#3 2007-06-19 03:03:29

Craig C Clarke
Eggcornista
Registered: 2005-11-19
Posts: 232
Website

Re: Getting the suggestions onto the database

I’ve been wondering if any of my submissions would ever make it in. :(

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#4 2007-06-19 03:09:22

Craig C Clarke
Eggcornista
Registered: 2005-11-19
Posts: 232
Website

Re: Getting the suggestions onto the database

Here’s one I don’t understand. What is the supposed imagery?
http://eggcorns.lascribe.net/english/420/jive/

When I saw that, and saw that comments were disabled, I was wondering why, and I wonder if maybe one thing that could be done is to keep comments active… let entries always be under discussion instead of carved in stone… because you can never tell what new information will come to light. Its possible that a non-eggcornish explanation for the usage will be made clear by some new discovery.

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#5 2007-06-19 03:43:39

jorkel
Eggcornista
Registered: 2006-08-08
Posts: 1455

Re: Getting the suggestions onto the database

By my count, there are over 200 solid eggcorns in the Forum—maybe far more depending on one’s standards. One criterion which seemed reasonable to me was Google counts (or even an eggcorn-to-idiom ratio)—but we really haven’t been keeping that close track. In lieu of that, there are a few eggcorn contenders that get entered into the Forum again and again by independent observers. This might be a logical source for the next few entries…

Laxadaisical—8 or more independent posts
Curve/Curb—6 or more independent posts
Easedropping—4 independent posts

Beyond that, it’s so hard to choose favorites because there’s so much good stuff out there. One thing that truly impressed me was the occasional eggcorn where more than one word takes on a new sense. Here are a couple that come to mind…

Crap chute vs. Crap shoot
Tough road to hold vs. Tough row to hoe

Beyond that? I guess I’d pick the ones with the strongest and most believable imagery—but that’s completely subjective, and we all have our favorites! I’d be willing to offer up a prioritized list as part of Dadge’s suggestion for a peer review. (I think one other eggcornista might also be working on such a list).

Last edited by jorkel (2007-06-19 03:52:24)

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#6 2007-06-19 07:06:21

Chris Waigl
Eggcorn Faerie
From: London, UK
Registered: 2005-10-14
Posts: 115
Website

Re: Getting the suggestions onto the database

All right, I was wondering at what point I’d have a forum rebellion on my hands.

Adrian—it is probably good you’re bringing this out in the open. I also owe you an email, and both the issue you raised there (finally editing that impossible intro text) and here are touching on the same matter.

The reason for the slowness of new entries on the main database is very simple: Availability of myself, as an “enterer”, but also as the gardener who takes care of the back-end, responds to hosting and display emergencies etc., and of Arnold Zwicky and Ben Zimmer—both have busy professional and personal lives. None of us is getting anything but informal recognition out of this work, and there are situations in life when we have to cut down radically on what one can do: I’ve just been through about more than a year of that, and you will be able to imagine that in some situations the inability to update a hobby site, however beloved, pales behind other worries.

So my first thing is to say I’m sorry.

But as far as I am concerned, this is in fact getting better. Over the last month I’ve managed to back through the forums and pursued links to assess how bad the situation is—and started entering again, after a long hiatus.

All three, laxadaisical, curve/curb and maybe easedropping (I’m not feeling I have a good grasp on this one yet) are on my “to be done immediately ” list, simply because the forum entries receive a lost of search engine hits, which shows that people out there are interested in these. The number of 200 good eggcorns in the forums does not look far off the mark. If I sometimes enter other eggcorns, not suggested in the forums, first, this happens because they aren’t mentioned in the forums: at least yours are not going to get lost! They are searchable, findable, documented. And yes, many of them should be in the main ECDB, but consider: outside the forums, Arnold Zwicky has a backlog of hundreds, and mine is not much shorter.

One of the things I did a while ago was disabling the comments after spam/CPU complaints from my web hoster. There are other “features” of the site that are the way they are simply because they need fixing.

I have to run right now, but I will revisit this thread tonight to talk further what your wishes are about what to do first:

  • a shortlist of high-priority eggcorns, elaborated here in the forums?
  • getting the individual comment system back up?
  • a series of articles on borderline cases, or how to spot a non-eggcorn? (I’ve been working on that.)
  • What? And how?

    Chris

    P.S.: “jive” for “jibe” seems unproblematic to me. The dance?

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#7 2007-06-19 11:40:06

Dadge
Eggcornista
Registered: 2005-11-10
Posts: 77

Re: Getting the suggestions onto the database

No rebellion, Chris! I’m just looking for a way to make it easier for people like me to do some of the work. After all, the database is a kind of wiki, so in theory anyone can add “their” eggcorns to the main page. And yet, for various reasons, people are hardly doing it.

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#8 2007-06-19 19:16:32

jorkel
Eggcornista
Registered: 2006-08-08
Posts: 1455

Re: Getting the suggestions onto the database

I just sent an Email to Chris stating my top 50 preferences, so heads up Chris. (Just to give others an idea of evenhandedness: I originated 100-150 eggcorns in the Forum, but included only 11 of my own in the list I submitted). Others poster are welcome to submit their own preference list. The main criteria that I used were these: How credible is the eggcorn? and How widespread is the eggcorn?

Personally, I prefer the notion of gatekeepers (Chris, Adrian, others) reviewing the eggcorns before they enter the Database. That helps to maintain high-quality content and a more uniform format.

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#9 2007-06-19 21:45:25

Dadge
Eggcornista
Registered: 2005-11-10
Posts: 77

Re: Getting the suggestions onto the database

On reflection, I agree. If there was a free-for-all**, some entries would have to be removed, which might hurt people’s feelings.

It still might be a good idea for visitors to be able to vote on the accepted entries in the database—it could be trialled at least—and maybe the entries could then be listed in popularity order.

Meanwhile, if someone emails me a list of ten undone eggcorns, I’d be delighted to do some database-updating. (The eggcorning procedure is a bit scary, but once I’ve done a couple it gets easier. :-) Adrian

**As soon as I wrote this, I thought this must be eggcornable, and sure enough, there are plenty of “three for all”s and a few “free far all”s, “fee for all”s and “free four all”s out there. (Maybe a more difficult challenge would be to find an expression that has never been mislearned or mistyped…)

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#10 2007-06-19 21:50:17

patschwieterman
Administrator
From: California
Registered: 2005-10-25
Posts: 1665

Re: Getting the suggestions onto the database

I agree with Jorkel about holding on to a small group of gatekeepers with linguistic training. I was a member of the Forum back when the Database was still set up as a Wiki. (A few longtime members still seem to be able to post Contributions to the Database itself, but the final contribute button seems to be disabled for most members.) I didn’t think the level of contributions was all that high—a lot of things got into the Database that shouldn’t have.

I suspect that I currently have clearance to enter things in the Database, but I’ve purposely avoided it because I really think Chris/Ben/Arnold should have some kind of input on all articles in order to maintain consistency.

After the wiki capacity was largely disabled, the contributions started reflecting (what I interpret to be) Chris’s vision a lot more closely, and they were just plain better in respecting the criteria of eggcornicity. I know a few of the regulars have raised questions about some of the recent entries made by Profs. Zimmer and Zwicky, but Ben and Arnold also have tons of excellent articles in the Database. So I think the more recent system is necessary to ensure quality and a consistency of vision. But, yes, quantity needs desperately to be worked on. I think we’ll be hearing more soon.

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#11 2007-06-19 22:22:00

jorkel
Eggcornista
Registered: 2006-08-08
Posts: 1455

Re: Getting the suggestions onto the database

In addition to the three frequently-entered eggcorns I mentioned earlier, here are a few more…

Boon/boom
labtop (3 or 4 mentions)
heat sync (3 or 4 mentions)
Old-timers disease
chalkful (questionable?)
cowtow (questionable?)
pipe/pike
volumptuous

These aren’t necessarily the most interesting entries in the Forum, but they keep coming up, so it’s bound to make a few people happy to promote them. (I left them off my Top 50 list because they’d make in into the Database via the frequent-post route instead).

I’m guessing that Chis will be the point person for our recommendations, and she could shuttle them to Adrian after enough input reaches her. In respect to all, I don’t want to appear to be making unilateral decisions here. I’m just trying to make helpful suggestions, and hope others will provide input too.

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#12 2007-06-19 22:45:13

Dadge
Eggcornista
Registered: 2005-11-10
Posts: 77

Re: Getting the suggestions onto the database

1. Ah, I hadn’t realised that most visitors don’t have the ability to add to the database. (I suddenly feel quite honoured that I’m able to.) So sztorno re some of my previous remarks. (Sztorno is a great Hungarian word that means “Back to square one” or “ignore” or etc. – I guess it must come from another language – is it Latin?)

2. “Cowtow” is definitely a bit iffy. I enjoyed finding a few “cow-towned”s though. A

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#13 2007-06-20 00:51:19

Chris Waigl
Eggcorn Faerie
From: London, UK
Registered: 2005-10-14
Posts: 115
Website

Re: Getting the suggestions onto the database

First of all thanks to everyone. When my life became a bit too convoluted and I left this forum to fend for itself, I wouldn’t have thought that you’d still be around after so much time, and have organised into a community. As far as I’m concerned, you have every right to rebel (gently).

Pat is right in his description of what went with the main site a bit over a year ago: posting had been left wide open to everyone, and unfortunately many didn’t bother thinking about the quality of their contributions and just put them on the main site. The very rough posting interface certainly didn’t help. At the same time, Arnold’s and Ben’s entries and I hope mine, had implicitly set a minimum quality standard. This is why I closed off posting to all new subscribers, and out of the old, only left it to those who had previously written high-quality entries.

The forum, however, can deal with and refine partial and tentative submissions.

I received a number of thoughtful emails, and will get to them (and to individual eggcorns) one by one.

As far as I can tell, two priorities are coming up again and again:

a) finding an organised way of turning the forum eggcorns into ECDB entries, one by one, starting with the best of the best (and we have the embarrassment of choice)
b) getting the comments on individual entries back

There is a third, less visible hight priority-item, tied in with b):

c) upgrading the backend

c) is blocking much good thing that would be possible on the front end, like more user-friendly comments.There is also a security concern, given that the core software is old and probably vulnerable to PHP exploit. Which reminds me that the forum (PunBB) needs upgrading, too. c) might well include reorgansising the data structure and writing a more user-friendly entry form.

To be continued …

Chris

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#14 2007-06-20 20:05:32

TootsNYC
Eggcornista
Registered: 2007-06-19
Posts: 263

Re: Getting the suggestions onto the database

what I wish is that the comments weren’t shut off on so my of the entries. (unless there’s some trick to posting comments?)

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#15 2008-06-25 19:16:07

Brooksie99
Member
From: Ann Arbor, MI
Registered: 2007-10-28
Posts: 27

Re: Getting the suggestions onto the database

Peter Forster wrote:

Adrian, while I’ve always accepted that some formal qualification in language/linguistics is probably necessary for our gatekeepers, I’ve often had great difficulty in understanding some of the choices they’ve made and the grounds for their inclusion. In addition, none, with the exception of yourself, seem to be regular contributers, so I can only applaud your proposal and hope that it may yield something useful…

Hi All,

As a relative noob to the wacky world of eggcornology, I’d like to commend Chris and all the eggcornistas for their expertise and hard work. This database and forum is truly a gem for us word nerds. I would concur with Peter; however, that some contributions seem ushered into the database straight away while others that I feel merit entry or at least further research and commentary slip away. I sometimes feel my contribution is waiting in line at an exclusive night club with a door person who lets certain words jump the line while the vast majority are left in limbo because they mysteriously don’t make the cut. I have a few questions and suggestions (if I may be so bold):

*Just what are the criteria for inclusion in the database? I think it would be quite useful to have a set of criteria posted on the forum; members can check their contribution against this list before posting, and we can be reasonably assured that it has high probability of being a true eggcorn and not a faux ami. For example, perhaps a contribution must meet say 3 of 5 criteria before it can be submitted for discussion? I don’t wish to discourage people from submitting; I enjoy the discussions and debate, but posting clear cut criteria may cut down on the volume of submissions that really miss the mark and mitigate the problem of people feeling discouraged that their contributions simply fade away or don’t matter.

*Who makes the ultimate decision to elevate the word from contribution to true eggcorn? Chris, this can’t all fall on your shoulders. Maybe there’s a way to tap into University Linguistics Departments and form informal partnerships wherein graduate students participate in making the final call and/or are assigned responsibility to follow a set number of contributions to ensure that the ensuing discussions come to a close. That is, it would be nice to know with some finality whether your submission makes it or not; we learn from this.

*Is there a way or place to announce or “christen” new eggcorns? This may take care of members wondering whatever happened to their submissions.

*Just how does one become an eggcornista?

Thanks for letting me step on the soapbox for a spell. I formed an eggcorn group on Facebook that has around 30 members, mainly linguists; it’s not hugely active, but we connect out to the Eggcorn database and relevant sites. I’d like to see more activity there, so if acceptable, I may “borrow” some of your criteria or ideas.

Best,

Laura

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#16 2008-06-25 20:49:52

patschwieterman
Administrator
From: California
Registered: 2005-10-25
Posts: 1665

Re: Getting the suggestions onto the database

Every family has a few questions that aren’t supposed to be asked around the dinner table. “Who was it who lived in the attic when I was a kid?” “Why don’t you ever talk about your earlier marriages?” “What was grampa doing in the Ukraine in 1951?” “Is it true I have three siblings I’ve never met?” You just asked a bunch of ours.

Well, I’m kidding to a degree. It’s not so much that there are things we won’t talk about—rather, we’ve sort of decided that talking about them amongst ourselveselves doesn’t get us anywhere—there are too many eggcorns that need to be hunted down in the meantime.

There’s a very basic problem on this site. The three people who are supposed to be evaluating entries from the forum and entering them into the database simply haven’t done much of that in quite some time. Members of the forum have made a number of suggestions—both here, and in emails to Chris—about rectifying the situation. Nothing’s happened. My own emails have gone unanswered, as have those of others. I don’t know why, and I obviously don’t want to speculate. And as Ken Lakritz has noted, setting up the Database and Forum was so much work that one feels a bit ungrateful suggesting that Chris should do more work in addition. However, the idea of getting the gruntwork done by volunteers so that it could be evaluated/tweaked by Chris or others seems like a good one to me—it was among the things suggested last summer—and I really hope a way of managing it can be found.

Personally, I’d prefer not to see criteria imposed on posting to the forum. Yes, I wish a lot more things just got posted to the “Slips” page. But the forum really is our sandbox, and I think people should feel welcome to grab a shovel and start playing the second they stumble upon us. Some people are going to go away immediately when we tell them, “No, that’s not an eggcorn.” But Chris’s original idea was that the people who really cared would start to pick up the basics from others’ comments, and then apply them. That still seems like a good principle to me. And we have had newcomers argue vehemently that contributions that clearly didn’t seem like eggcorns to the vets really did fit whatever criteria the vets laid out. And those noobies have generally gone away. So a list of criteria really might just provide a different set of things to be unhappy about for some people.

Still, it’s a little weird that we haven’t yet formulated a short list of criteria that can be posted under Eggcornology somewhere. We’ve hashed out the basics many times. The original and the eggcorn should a) sound very similar, b) mean roughly the same thing in the same context, c) not be obviously related etymologically. And perhaps most importantly, the eggcorn should introduce a new set of imagery that seems to refer on some level to the meaning of the original word. But we disagree sharply on how to define all of those criteria. And I’m sure there are things I’m forgetting. Maybe hashing out such a list would be a good collective project for the summer. What’s a good number of criteria? I’ve got 4 above, but some of those might be deleted, added to, split, etc. I don’t think that more than, say, 10 would be helpful. But could all of us agree on a definitive wording? And would the Database gatekeepers concur with our conclusions? Anyone want to take a first shot at starting such a thread under Eggcornology—with the understanding, of course, that we’ll all fall upon the prototype like a bunch of piranhas?

The “eggcornista” label is automatic—when you’ve made 50 posts, it appears next to your name. It can be reset to reflect any number. 50 seemed like a good goalpost back when Ken, David Fishbait, Craig, Adrian and I seemed to be the only regulars and there were only a few posts a week. These days, some people attain 50 in a few weeks.

I’m not sure I’ve responded to everything, but I need to do some work I’m paid for sometime today. I’m sure others are responding even as I type, though.

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#17 2008-06-26 03:40:30

DavidTuggy
Eggcornista
From: Mexico
Registered: 2007-10-12
Posts: 1742
Website

Re: Getting the suggestions onto the database

I have always had in my mind as a criterion

It should be standard for at least some speaker(s).

Thus, if I were to accidentally say “as a matter of fat”, or “kurdos to John Smith”, or “proceed by try all on air” it wouldn’t be an eggcorn, but if that’s how somebody always said it, it would have a good chance, even if you couldn’t document it with many ghits. (We forget what a luxury search engines and the Internet are.)

Last edited by DavidTuggy (2008-06-26 03:42:25)


*If the human mind were simple enough for us to understand,
we would be too simple-minded to understand it* .

(Possible Corollary: it is, and we are .)

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#18 2008-06-26 04:17:14

patschwieterman
Administrator
From: California
Registered: 2005-10-25
Posts: 1665

Re: Getting the suggestions onto the database

Yes, that’s right, the intentionality thing has to be in there—gotta rule out puns, spontaneous production errors, etc.

DT, you and I have already gotten in trouble once today for hijacking a thread, so we should probably get around to moving this to Eggcornology under a title like “Draft Eggcorn Criteria” or some such thing. Formulating the criteria might not be so bad, but providing a list of model eggcorns might get really interesting.

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