Backwards, why are email addresses

Discussion in 'Apple, Inc and Tech Industry' started by Doctor Q, Mar 6, 2007.

  1. Doctor Q Administrator

    Doctor Q

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    #1
    I'm just curious. When people set up personal email accounts, they are usually of the form
    John Smith <johnsmith@isp.com>​
    but very often businesses have all their employees use addresses of the form
    Smith, John <johnsmith@isp.com>​
    It's not a big deal, but it's less friendly to read that way. The only reason I can think of for this is that they want Address Books to be alphabetical by last name, and they don't have software that can display them sorted by last name unless they enter the last name first as the "display name".

    That seems like a poor use of technology -- making things easier for the computer and less convenient for the people. Is that really what's going on?
     
  2. nazmac21 macrumors 6502a

    nazmac21

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    #2
    I think companies think its easier when its sorted by last name and it will be easier for them to find a person if they need to.
     
  3. psycoswimmer macrumors 65816

    psycoswimmer

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    #3
    Nice title. :)

    I think that it's a standard to make things more formal. Even on printed pages I still see names listed this way. I think that reading thats the "correct" way is so much easier, though. Especially when someone has a last name that can also be a last name, and vice versa. That can get confusing. :eek:
     
  4. jsw Moderator emeritus

    jsw

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    #4
    Employees are people? :confused:

    I think it's probably the default setting on Exchange and few companies bother to change it.
     
  5. mattscott306 macrumors 68040

    mattscott306

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    #5
    Yeah, I agree with Naz, it's much easier to sort through names based of the surname rather then the first name.
    When I look at an email and see Jedrezjak (my boss' last name), I know its from him, vs if I were to see just Jeff (his first name) I'd wonder which manager it was from.

    Nope, they aren't. Just ask my corporate office.
     
  6. Legolamb macrumors 6502a

    Legolamb

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    #6
    Either that or it's a Yoda thing:)
     
  7. ITASOR macrumors 601

    ITASOR

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    #7
    1%?
     
  8. mrkramer macrumors 603

    mrkramer

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    #8
    can't most people's last names be last names?:confused: :confused:
    and I agree nice title
     
  9. roland.g macrumors 603

    roland.g

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    #9
    They're on windows in the first place, they're not exactly moving forward.

    File it under W for worthless, but crossreference it under D for dumb.
    And while you're at it, crtl-alt-delete because something crashed.
     
  10. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus

    mkrishnan

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    #10
    Well, the problem is that many of us also use the sort by from address option on our Mail programs. And so ... (1) it makes more sense to me for the sort by from to be sorting people by their last names, and (2) I want it to be consistent. But then I've usually wound up with a hodgepodge. I more and more use Spotlight to resolve this, but I do like to be able to see my e-mails by name. Perhaps e-mail addresses need the equivalent of ID3 tags or embedded VCFs so that they have rich, categorized meta-data.

    It's also worth understanding that there are many countries in which referring to non-intimates by their given name is relatively rare... so people will not only be looking for e-mails by family name but will also be referring to people by family name.
     
  11. Doctor Q thread starter Administrator

    Doctor Q

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    #11
    Correct. But why not let users format their names for display (in the FROM field) the way they want? I think it should be up to the software on the receiving end (email client or address book) to display names differently if the receiving user wants that.

    Correct, so once again the person whose account it is should make the choice.

    Q, Doctor
     
  12. t1937r0 macrumors 6502a

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    #12
    OK. How about DoQtor C? :D
     
  13. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus

    mkrishnan

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    #13
    Yeah, that's where my comment about meta-data came from. Right now, the "owner" of the e-mail address, or the plain text name, is just a text string. There's no way to tell what order it is in or what kind of data is included in it. What it contains varies from a copy of the e-mail address, to Last, First, to First Last, to 1337 ScReEnNaM3S to company names or titles to other random weirdness. So user-end formatting is obstructed by the simplicity of the tag.

    I absolutely agree with you, but it's impossible unless e-mail is revamped in such a way that there is a standard for rich metadata transfer.

    Although... at least with Mail.app, it to some extent treats people differently if they're in your Mail book. My IM buddy list is set up so that I override people's screennames and put in their plain text names. So then at least, if only manually, I have the control you desire.
     
  14. Doctor Q thread starter Administrator

    Doctor Q

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    #14
    It can't be foolproof without that metadata, but it could be automated and get most cases right.

    I suppose that software could convert "Jobs, Steve Paul" to "Steve Paul Jobs" automatically, and most cases would come out corectly, whereas trying to convert "Steve Paul Jobs" to last-name-first form automatically would be less foolproof because of one-vs.-two-word last names, such as these three musicians who often send me email :rolleyes: :
    Kathie Lee Gifford
    Rebecca St. James
    Ludwig van Beethoven​
    and the possibility that the name is already reversed, but without the comma, e.g., Smith John, or from a company, e.g., iTunes Music Store.

    Apple's Addres Book has the right idea, with separate fields for first and last name, which can be assembled as the FROM field. But, as you say, the name field is unstructured in RFC 822 and other e-mail protocols.

    And of course not all cultures put surnames last.

    We clearly need to start over with better ground rules!
     
  15. balamw Moderator

    balamw

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    #15
    RFC 822 and 2822 allow for optional X-headers to be sent along with the message, though they are not required to make it to the destination and can be stripped off along the way. This would seem to be a good place to put such tags to allow for smarter name parsing without reinventing e-mail.

    X-Sender-First-Name: Fred
    X-Sender-Last-Name: Flintstone

    B
     
  16. iMeowbot macrumors G3

    iMeowbot

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    #16
    Along with our jet packs and atomic robot butlers, we were supposed to have a global directory service by now that would have taken care of this.
     
  17. balamw Moderator

    balamw

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    #17
    I'm still hoping for flying cars. :p

    B
     
  18. Doctor Q thread starter Administrator

    Doctor Q

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    #18
    Less than 3 years left.
     
  19. IJ Reilly macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

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    #19
    You mean, you don't? Somebody didn't get the memo!
     

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