Re: Terminology Correctness - was Re: Friction Bearings

A&Y Dave in MD

I think Jim's plea is a good one.

In my historical and sociological research, we avoid the idea of a single universal "correct term" to end this particular form of debate. Instead, we specify usage by also stating for whom and under what conditions a term is used and what work it accomplishes. People and organizations may have strong reasons to use one term under one condition (formal business transactions between companies where one is reimbursing the other for materials used in repair) and another in sales brochures, and another when out on the RIP track. We as modelers might use one term and as historians we might use another. Each are "correct" if the goal intended by the use was accomplished. 

History is telling a good, documentable, and interesting story, sometimes with a provocative conjecture to ensure future arguments, i.e., publications (fictional example: Timken encouraged use of the term friction bearing to highlight their product and increase market share, but bull-headed railroad executives and their penny-pinching accountants insisted on older 'proven' technologies, otherwise the golden age of passenger trains might still be with us.) Social science is far more boring in that it empirically documents the terms, when they were used, by whom, and for what purposes (creating tables and datasets as boring and as important as accounting ledgers). Sometimes a gifted researcher combines both: Wolfgang Schivelbusch's book "A Railway Journey" on how the railroads' work created our modern meanings of time, speed, and risk.

You all should read the style and grammar boards sometime, this "correctness" conversation would fit right in. Determining the right term for the right person is also important and hard work, but don't expect to convince everyone--you'll just increase your risk of apoplexy 😵.

I'm going back to build models. Thanks to the Speedwitch Media sale, I have a new collection of  steam era cars to complete!


Sent from Dave Bott's iPad

On Jun 6, 2016, at 10:39 PM, jimbetz jimbetz@... [STMFC] <STMFC@...> wrote:


A clarification ...

I didn't say "don't use the correct terms" ... I said "we should stop
ourselves in the role of Correct Terminology Cops".

If someone asks "what is the correct term for ____" - then by all means
provide it. (But you should probably provide both the E dept and the
guys with boots on the ground - for completeness.)

But if someone -uses- "running boards" ... and you prefer "roof walks"
(or vice versa) ... just let it go ... if it really bothers you ===>
just don't
reply to their posts.
- Or mine ... Jim B.

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