On the Importance of Names


Phil Hagelberg of Technomancy references the essay on Confucianism and Technical standards with this quote:

In a famous passage, Analects 13.3, Confucius was asked by a disciple what his first order of business would be if he were to govern a state. He replied, 正名, meaning roughly "make right the names," "insure that names are used properly," or "rectify the names." His disciple was somewhat incredulous and asked, "Would you be as impractical as that?" Confucius strongly rebuked his disciple and explained that proper nomenclature is the basis of language and that language is central to taking care of things.
From Confucianism and Technical Standards @ DHS.com
Referenced Mon Feb 12 2007 08:37:56 GMT-0700 (MST)

Phil's using the quote in connection with behavior driven design (this is cool stuff, go read Phil's post) to make the point that nomenclature makes a difference. I made a similar point about nomenclature in an essay about retaining corporate knowledge.

What struck me about the passage, however, was how true it is in the context of plain old identity. Until the identity system is working--in your organization, on your Web site, or on the Web as a whole--everything else is hard.