Why the underscore is so difficult to understand?!

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by AGX, Aug 18, 2015.

  1. AGX macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2014
    #1
    Hi,

    i have an old email address on Outlook.com that use the underscore (_) as separator of the first name and second name...

    But... why is so difficult for the people find and understand the underscore on the keyboard?!

    I have a bad experience on comunicate this address... and i admit that in the past, i have to change it with another email.
     
  2. Jatheon macrumors newbie

    Jatheon

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    Jul 3, 2015
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    #2
    I don't know why would be underscore be difficult. Maybe is hard to find on keyboard.
     
  3. keysofanxiety macrumors 604

    keysofanxiety

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2011
    #3
    Ah you'd be surprised how many people don't know the names of keys. I spent a solid few minutes explaining what a hyphen was to somebody.

    Just be patient I suppose.
     
  4. Scepticalscribe, Aug 18, 2015
    Last edited: Aug 18, 2015

    Scepticalscribe Contributor

    Scepticalscribe

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    Location:
    The Far Horizon
    #4
    No, it is difficult to understand because people do not use it in normal speech or writing. They don't understand what it is used for, and hence cannot integrate it into meaningful use for themselves.

    Most people do not have these difficulties with either hyphens, or with underlining words, because they understand the function and use of those symbols, are able to use them properly themselves, and thus, they understand what their position on a keyboard represents. This does not apply to the underscore key.
     
  5. Arran macrumors 68040

    Arran

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    Location:
    Atlanta, USA
    #5
    Some possible reasons:
    • Only developers use the underscore.
    • It moves around on iDevice (soft) keyboards.
    • On a hard keyboard:
      • It shares the same key as a hyphen and looks not much different from the hyphen/minus sign.
      • It appears above the minus sign/hyphen, which is the opposite of where it would appear if both characters were actually typed.
    • Many people who grew up with typewriters, don't regard the underscore as a character. It's an addition or enhancement to some other character (or more likely a whole word). Basically it's underline. (Just like pressing the keys extra hard or even typing over a word twice to whack more ink from the ribbon was how bold was traditionally achieved.)
     
  6. D.T. macrumors 603

    D.T.

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    Location:
    Vilano Beach, FL
    #6
    If anything, I probably _overuse_ the underscore since I use it to inflect in text (was doing that way before markdown was a thing...), and I still don't like spaces in filenames, so for [real world] example, on my desktop I have: TODO_Pv_07-17-2015.txt and dScripts_053115_1.zip :D

    I'm also a developer, so I spend a good bit of time naming things that can't have spaces and underscores are a nice substitute.

    On occasion I'll name other keys that confuse people like tilde, "pipe", etc., but those aren't typical in conversations with "civilians" :D
     
  7. tobefirst macrumors 68040

    tobefirst

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    Jan 24, 2005
    Location:
    St. Louis, MO
    #7
    Good point. I was never taught the appropriate use of the underscore (or the different types of dashes) in any of my classes.
     
  8. heehee macrumors 68020

    heehee

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2006
    Location:
    Same country as Santa Claus
    #8
    I have an account with an underscore and I would say 10-15% of the people gives me a confused look when I say my email.
     
  9. tobefirst macrumors 68040

    tobefirst

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  10. heehee macrumors 68020

    heehee

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    Same country as Santa Claus
    #10
    Yours as well. :p
     
  11. Arran macrumors 68040

    Arran

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    Location:
    Atlanta, USA
    #11
    Wow. Civility on MacRumors. This calls for....



    :D
     
  12. tobefirst macrumors 68040

    tobefirst

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  13. rhett7660 macrumors G4

    rhett7660

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    #13
    Hmmmm...... lots of Lego avatars showing up around these parts!
     
  14. Scepticalscribe Contributor

    Scepticalscribe

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    #14
    Well, I have no quarrel with Lego, either as an avatar or a toy. (And yes, agreed, @tobefirst, and @heehee, they are brilliant avatars).

    Anyway, it was a terrific toy, one that allowed and encouraged creativity, dexterity and imagination; I spent hours and hours as a child, lost in Lego.
     
  15. Huntn macrumors G5

    Huntn

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    #15
    That's because everyone knows that a period between parts of your name just make more sense, like each name is its own complete sentence. Or maybe say "bottom dash". ;) :p
     
  16. chown33 macrumors 604

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2009
    #16
    Sounds kinky.

    Not that there's anything wrong with that.
     
  17. AustinIllini macrumors demi-god

    AustinIllini

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    Austin, USA
    #17
    Unbelievably, "_" is still considered an abnormal character in Windows for computer names. I find that a little strange.
     
  18. AGX thread starter macrumors regular

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    Oct 12, 2014
    #18
    Abnormal character in windows?
     
  19. Scepticalscribe Contributor

    Scepticalscribe

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    #19
    Why?

    Apart from developers, it is not used by most people in either standard writing or speech - unlike hyphens, or underlining, the meanings of which are perfectly clear both formally (in writing) and informally (in everyday speech to the vast majority of people.

    The whole idea of an underscore makes little sense to the vast majority of people. Most people would ask what this symbol is for, and why it is used, and, as such, they would have to think - hard - when someone chooses to use it (or is obliged to use it) in an online identity.
     
  20. AustinIllini macrumors demi-god

    AustinIllini

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    Oct 20, 2011
    Location:
    Austin, USA
    #20
    Try renaming your computer "AGXs_Computer". It will let you, but Windows will protest.
     
  21. AustinIllini macrumors demi-god

    AustinIllini

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    Austin, USA
    #21
    It would be a great option for a space where spaces are available. And people know what an underscore is. It gets used all the time. I don't get the whole point of this thread, honestly.
     
  22. Scepticalscribe Contributor

    Scepticalscribe

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    #22
    Seriously, - given the thread title - I actually don't think that they do, and this is why they have some difficulty with it when it yens up as part of an online name.

    In terms of grammar, and speech, and writing, most people haven't a clue what an underscore is, or why it exists, or how it is used, whereas they have no difficulty with underlining, or hyphens.
     
  23. Tech198 macrumors G4

    Joined:
    Mar 21, 2011
    Location:
    Australia, Perth
    #23
    It is just a line "_"

    so maybe not a character per say..

    My email has an underscore in it.. my personal email that is no one knows :) but none of my friends has a problem emailing me..
     

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