What’s in a name?

WP Motivate
WP Motivate
What's in a name?

Michelle posted a poll on Twitter asking if people are really bothered about the “capital P dangit” in WordPress. The responses were interesting, and everyone had an opinion. Kathy and Michelle both share their thoughts about the camelcase P in WordPress, as well as how we in the WordPress community might be supportive toward important brand recognition. We both agree that the context and intent matters. The conversation turns toward different funny experiences with our own names being misspelled, misheard, or mispronounced. In any case, we land on one key thing: our names, much like Shakespeare’s roses by any other name, don’t matter as much as who we are and how we make the world a better place.

Episode Transcript

 Start your week smiling with your friends, Kathy Zant and Michelle Frechette. It’s time to get ready for some weekly motivation with WP Motivate.

Happy Friday, Kathy. It’s Friday. It’s also the end of June. It is like converging these endings all converging all at once today. Yeah, I know. And for us in the US we have a holiday next week, so it’s a four day work week. Woo woo. I’m excited, super excited. But guess what? Not only do I have the broken fridge, just yesterday, well a week ago, my car’s alarm went off in the garage and it was unlocked in the middle of the night.

And I was just like, what is wrong with you now? Oh, and then yesterday it’s. Emissions problem. So Monday on one of my days off, I’ll be spending, getting my car fixed. I have to get, you know, driving, dropping it off. Inspection. Yeah. It’s due today and it’s not gonna happen today. So I’m gonna be a few days late with my inspection.

I hope I don’t get pulled over, but I don’t drive a lot, so it’s all good. There you go. But yeah, that’s, Emissions is an issue, although like where I live right now, it’s still smokey outside from Canada. Really? Yeah. And uh, my lungs are a little bit burny, but I’ve got my inhaler, well, I left it the other room, but I have an inhaler, um, so that if I do end up with asthma issues, Not fun, especially on the heels of, of having had covid.

Right. I just wanna breathe. Dammit. My son says up in Minnesota, he’s in south, like south of, uh, Minneapolis on the Mississippi River in a college town up there and he says there’s smoke there. He’s like, it almost feels like home cuz to him Shasta’s home. Yeah. We have like five air filters still. Right.

From living in Shasta and having. Just getting socked in with smoke, which was one of the reasons why we left. So I feel for you, because especially, here’s the thing, it’s like you just got through winter and now it’s like summer. Oh, the birds are singing, it’s time to get out. Oh my God, what happened to outside?

It’s not same. So it’s misery. I really feel for you it’s, it’s so hard. But yeah, take care of yourself. Yeah. I really saw it how bad air quality can be when um, my previous. Golden retriever was sick. Mm-hmm. And he smoke was really, really bad in the last few months of his life and he was coughing up blood and I’m like, oh, so you’re the un, you’re the sensitive group that they warn me about.

Yeah. And it, you know, where do I do? I can’t. It was so hard. So I can really see how detrimental it is. So air filter away. Yeah, I don’t have an air filter yet. I’m gonna get a pur purifier, I think. But I do have central air and I do have the house tight, like closed up, so that should, that should help a lot.

It’s just like having to go out and run an errand here or there. Or like yesterday, I’ll tell you, yesterday we toured, um, We being one of my coworkers and I toured the Rochester School of the Arts for a potential venue for World Camp Rochester this fall. So nice. Yeah. This fall already. Yeah. Crazy, right?

Wow. So excited about that and, but I was outside, so even just going from like. The house to the car, the car to the place, you know, kind of thing. It’s like, it really does kind of affect you a little bit. So, yeah, so I, and we don’t have it as bad as other areas, so, you know, um, certainly thinking about all those people who are near fires for one, but also also struggling with the smoke.

So, but I have a fun topic for today because I like to, Open Pandora’s box sometimes. Sometimes I don’t do it on office. Um, and I sometimes don’t. Only on Twitter. Only on Twitter. So today’s controversial topic I posted poll. I posted a poll that says, be honest. How triggered are you if someone writes WordPress with a lowercase P?

And so far, let me refresh my screen. 73 votes, 27.4% say I hate it. 34.2% says it bothers me a little. 31.5% says it’s fine, and 6.8% said other, and they told us below. And the below is the fun part.

Do you wanna talk over some of the responses? Sure. So James Laws who, um, is the founder, I think of Ninja Forms. Yes. He says, when it’s someone I don’t know, I could care less when it’s on my team. I care a little with a little smiley face. That’s fair. That’s fair. You can, yeah. You know, require your own company to adhere to the correct.

Capitalization. Yeah. Which is formal case of course. Um, let’s see. Mu Ali says it irks me. Fair enough. Uh, Tricia Cornelius says, if it is someone who is a WordPress professional and in the community and is a native English speaker, then I am annoyed if they don’t get it. Non-native speakers always get a pass.

I think that’s fair too. Yeah. Um, Alvaro says it triggers me if some business or person and they specialize. He put that in quotation, specialized WordPress circle. Um, if it is someone, some, if it is some business or person, the specialized person, I don’t know what specialized WordPress circle is, I guess.

People who should know better. I’m gonna say. Yeah. Um, MB Mark Benza says, uh, while I recognize the need to keep it consistent for branding, I have moved beyond. Communication is supposed to be about getting the point across, turning the discussion to upper lowercase piece turns it into a distraction. I, I, I tend to agree with that.

And then Jonathan Inger wrote a whole little thread, which I’m loving. So he says, First of all, the funniest thing is he wrote incoming and he had a typo, so it’s like, it’s like case in point, right? But it’s funny, he says, personally, I find the entire topic super interesting. I’m a stickler for writing things correctly, probably because I’ve spent my life having my name spelled wrong so many times.

So I write p php, all capital, not p, lowercase, hp, JavaScript of the capital S cetera. However, I don’t expect others to have that same need or requirement. So if I see WordPress with a lowercase P, it doesn’t really bother me unless it’s in a publication or news article. Then I usually reach out to the author privately and mention the correct spelling.

I think that’s kind to do it privately like that. Yeah. Yes. What I don’t is for sure, he says, what I don’t do is start attacking folks who have it spelled incorrectly for whatever reason, and I’d rather help them understand the correct spelling politely, ask them to correct it. Oh, that’s nice. Yeah, I polite.

This is always nice. Yes, I do wonder if that opinion is because I didn’t create her own WordPress, so I can see it from the point of view of the person who initially named it. And so functions like capital P. Dang. It also don’t, don’t bother me as they might for others. Yes. And I said, I replied to that one.

I said, it used to bother me a little, but honestly, if someone is using WordPress, then that’s all that matters. And he says exactly this. I do wish as a community we’d spend more time collaborating with each other to show the world why WordPress is great as opposed to fighting with each other over how it’s spelled.

Yeah. And then Jeff Chandler responds with a, like a police badge, it says, to serve and correct lowercase P Police 2003. I dunno where he did. Oh, that’s funny. Where he got that. But that was funny. And then there is. Really doesn’t like it. So this guy, ADE Ali, says it’s WordPress with a capital P. It’s not that hard to remember.

It’s like writing your name with a lowercase letter. It’s disrespectful and inaccurate. Please do yourself and the community a favor and write WordPress correctly. And I replied. I’m like, I mean, I guess, but when someone writes Michelle with a lower case, seven, it doesn’t bother me. I think gatekeeping, it can be elitist and problematic at times.

So, What are your thoughts, Kathy? I agree with all of the above. Did you vote in the poll? I did vote. Ok. I did vote. Which one did you vote? I, I’ll, I’ll, um, so you don’t have to say if you don’t want to. It’s, it’s contextual right? And so there’s so many good points in what people responded with. First of all, I love that idea of publicly or publicly celebrate people and privately correct people or privately say if somebody has, if you have to correct somebody, do that privately.

And I had an instance happen with, um, a neighbor kid who was like driving a little, not recklessly, but. I was walking my dogs and he came like a little close and I figured out like, okay, what house does he live in? Who are these people? I’m a little bit new to the neighborhood and been kind of distracted, so I didn’t really know the family well, but I figured out who they were and messaged the dad and said, can you talk to your son about this?

Mm-hmm. And he is like, wow. He sent his son over to apologize to me personally, and then they thanked me for doing this all very privately. I wasn’t gonna go on next door and say, Hey, kid with the red car, right? Like, But I see people do that kinda stuff all the time and it just creates animosity and it doesn’t help.

And I knew this was a teachable moment for that dad, and I didn’t really want, want the kid to come over, but he was very polite and everything. So I think that’s like such an important point. Um, and then intent really matters. So if your intent, like your intent with. How you’re being, first of all, recognize your triggers.

Like I, so I voted that I get triggered by it because I see it and I’m just like, You know, and I think it’s from like coding, I get that it’s being a perfectionist coder and it’s just like, okay, well that function’s not gonna work. Right. You know, that kind of stuff. Um, I just have a little bit of a perfectionist thing in me.

Sure. And I’ve been on a number of speaker selection committees for various things, and that if you put in a, a pitch for a talk at a Word camp and you have a lowercase p, that’s immediately, do you know your audience? Um, sure. It’s definitely a trigger. So there’s different contexts and different intents, so understanding my trigger and where it comes from.

If I like and, and I’m involved in a number of groups and a number of communities beyond WordPress, and that’s like one of my things for this year is to really get involved with communities that are people who are doing things online, but not necessarily WordPress, because I feel like all of us should be doing that.

Because we need to go and represent WordPress beyond just the WordPress community. Mm-hmm. Um, and so I see people who talk about WordPress with a lowercase P all the time, and they’re comparing Wix and Squarespace. Am I gonna talk about the uppercase P to them? Heck no. Yeah. But if somebody’s trying to sell me something in the WordPress community and they do that, or they want some kind of speaker slot or something, then it’s like, all right, how well do you know this community?

Right? Mm-hmm. But somebody who doesn’t know. They get a free pass for me because Sure. I want them to feel like, They can lowercase P and they’re gonna be okay about it. Right. WordPress can do for them. Yeah. And so that’s not the time to have that conversation. So yeah, it’s long answer. I think it does go back to that, whether it’s a gatekeeping thing or not, right?

So, yeah, yeah, yeah. For sure. Yeah. I would never say you can’t come to the community cuz you don’t know how. Right? I Do you know how many brands are like two words stuck together? CloudFlare, is that a capital F? I don’t know. I gotta go look it up all the time, right? Like same. I think it’s lowercase, but.

There’s so many brands that are two words put together. Are they Camel case, are they not? And it’s, mm-hmm. It’s important, like, go look it up. It’s not hard to go look it up. Exactly. Too funny. I don’t know. Especially if you’re writing an article about it or a blog post or something, then, then you should do your research and spell it right?

Absolutely. Yeah. So what’s funny to me is I would rather see WordPress with all lowercase than a capital W and a lowercase p. Sure. Like, for some reason, to me, that’s more acceptable than like, yeah. One or the other. But I, but when it comes right down to it, like I, I kind of agree with Jonathan, right? Like, I will always correct myself to have a, a uppercase pee, but I, if other people don’t, I’m not gonna be like, oh, oh my gosh.

You know, or any of, any of that kind of ridiculous, um, over, right. What’s the word over response to it? So, Yeah, it’s just gonna, yeah. It’s not worth it. We have bigger things to, bigger problems to solve, and bigger, bigger aspirations to hit, rather than worrying about that, but Exactly. It’s, you know, like, I don’t know if you’re, if you’re trying to communicate about something, especially journalism, I mean, I, mm-hmm.

I don’t know if you took journalism classes in, in college or whatever, but getting names right and getting the who, what, why, where, how all of get ’em know the story. Right. Right. So important. So if you’re a journalist, I. Pay attention to the details and as somebody whose last name has never been spelled correctly in the history of spelling my last name, when journalists like, they’ll ask me, cuz I’ve, I’ve been in the news before, I’ve had, you know, I’ve had, had gotten awards, whatever, and they will ask me how to spell my name.

I will text it to them, I will email it to them. I will spell it outright to them, and they still find a way to spell it wrong. Mostly people at an n they, they make it French yet, and there’s no N in fresh yet, so whatever. I always try to sneak in s in there, and then I’m like, no. Yeah, I, we find down this road, Kathy, come on.

But in my head there’s an us my funny story about my last name. So I was, uh, freshman year of college. I’m sitting in my, oh my gosh. It was a religion. I was, I went to school for a religion philosophy, so it was one of my religion classes. This professor, God bless him, he died halfway through our class, and I, we ended up with a different teacher, so, oh, wow.

I don’t remember like what the class was. It was like little testament philosophy or something. Anyway. So you know, the first day of class you’re kind of all talking and the teacher’s trying to go in through the roll call to figure out who’s who. And they say your name and you’re like, oh, here, whatever.

So he’s going through the roster and I’m talking to my friend Brian that I knew from before, before college. So like the one guy in the class I know which Jen and the teacher’s yelling for Kenny. For Kenny. And Brian goes, I think he means you. And I was like, oh. He goes, oh, is Italian. That’s like my, my fresh, that story.

But the other thing is my own family mispronounces, our name, like my dad died, still saying his name wrong. They, my brothers, my dad, a couple. My uncles say Fhe like it’s f e r Really? It him on folks. It’s fresh that f r e, so yeah. Is it just an E East coast accent type of thing? No, they’re from the mid. My dad was from the Midwest, so I, I don’t know.

Oh, blame the Midwest then. Maybe it’s, I just blame, I just blame dad. I mean, like, literally how to say here. But he also misspelled Michelle my whole life, so I mean, there you go. It was right in the Willow. It was right in the will. That’s where, that’s where it comes. Thanks Dad. He pronounced it right, so you know, it’s all good.

Yeah, there you go. But that’s just too funny. Is there anybody, I mean, so. I don’t know if we’ve talked about this on the show before, like Kathy’s aunt, it’s not too hard to misspell Zant, but I’m sure people still do, and I’m sure you get Kathy with a C sometimes. But what my favorite thing is, is when I do the transcripts for the show, I do auto transcripts.

Yeah. That I have to fix it, but it comes across as Kathy’s aunt,

even like her and dad that in my head before and now that’s all I can hear. Yeah, the first time that ever happened to me was like right outta college, and I was working, um, working in this big company and I was kind of like just helping out, like kind of a floater type of thing. I was like, I just wanna move to Chicago, and I don’t care what kind of job I have, I’m just like, oh, my friends are there.

And I wasn’t doing like a real big job search or anything, so I just took a job that would pay the bills so that I could have fun, right? Mm-hmm. And, uh, Then the marketing department’s like, we love you, we want you to come work with us. And they already had a Kathy in the marketing department, so everybody’s like, oh, well Kathy’s aunt’s going to be joining us.

And so people were asking the other, Kathy, your aunt’s coming. And it was so funny. And she and I were like the bestest of friends. Like we had so much fun together, like going to Cubs games and it was a good, good time. But yeah. Was she also tracking? She was Kathy with a K. Okay. And I was her aunt. And we just stuck with it for the whole time.

Like I think I was there for like six months. It wasn’t like a, I don’t wanna work this job. It was my life type of place. It was. Yeah. So anyway, it was fun though. One of my best friends in college, her name was also Michelle, but she spelled it with one L. Yeah. And so we, we used to joke with each other all the time about whose parents didn’t know how to spell.

Uh, just, just for fun. But then we also had, um, nicknames for each other. So my nickname was twelves as in like two Ls twelves. Yeah. And hers was one L, like it was one L right? One L. So yeah, that’s even when, even now it’s what, almost 35 years or whatever later. And uh, when we message each other, which isn’t often cuz it’s been a long time, but when we do we, yeah, that’s how we talk to each other.

Twelves and one l. That’s so funny. Yeah. But if people spell like they write to me and they spell my name with one L, whatever, I don’t care. Yeah. If people write to you with a C instead of a K, I’m sure it’s like a little thing. Yeah. It happens like it’s not my name, but I’m not gonna like correct somebody unless they’re putting it in print somewhere.

It’s like, if, if I’m speaking at your event, please spell my name right. My favorite is Starbucks and like going Oh, yeah. And, and giving him your name and seeing what comes back. I’ve been Katie, Gabby, um, I’ve had candy. I was candy once, and then I just go with that name for the day, like that’s my name. My kids have to call me that for about, it’s like, it’s so fun.

I mean, it’s like, you know, I’m not gonna get all up in arms that somebody gets my name wrong. It’s like, okay, whatever. Somebody, yeah. So many times, or like, or like when you meet somebody and you know them and you’ve had like a long conversation with them, and then you run into ’em again at like a word camp like three years later.

Like we’ve had, yeah. Yeah. And they’re like, oh, who are you? Oh, I kind of remember you. And I’m just like, we’ve had a really long conversation. I know.

Like, pretend you don’t know me. Like I know you we’re like. Talked on Twitter, a couple of like, that’s happened to me. Where? Of just like same. Alright, well I don’t know what’s going on with this, but I obviously didn’t make an impression. I’ll work harder next time. Oh my God. Well I also ha I have to apologize to you when it comes to talking about names, because you and I recorded a podcast for the new Stellar WP podcast, which is coming out soon and in the middle I in chat you said like an official, uh, written.

You know, speaking of Benner, honorary Ritner. That’s right. Speaking of Ben and Hannah and I wrote in the chat, Vicky Ritner because as you’ve mentioned before, when your husband is yelling for you, he yells the name Vicky instead of Kathy. And I made you laugh so hard. I actually had to edit the video.

Yeah, the audio. So I think I did a pretty good job. I think it’s pretty seamless, but Awesome. If people listen real hard, they will, um, they’ll probably hear that little, uh, edit in the middle there. Yeah, so I didn’t mean to throw though. It was so funny. I should waited until after I was like totally rolling with it and I’m like, Ooh, something in chat.

Maybe something’s wrong. Like I open it up and it’s just like, but I just started laughing because Yeah.

Was like, I don’t get it.

Like it’s an inside joke. Yeah. Yeah. That’s so funny. That was so funny. Did you ever wanna be a different name? Like, I grew up watching reruns of, um, the, uh, the show with all the kids. The Brady Bunch. Yeah. And there was one episode where Cindy Brady walked around saying everybody needed to call her Cynthia.

Oh, and I decided I wanted, I wish that my name was Cynthia when I was a kid, cuz it sounded so like, elegant. Yes. I mean, I’m happy I’m Michelle, don’t get me wrong, but did you ever wish that you had a different name? You know, I experiment. So when I was younger, like in high school, um, in grade school, my mom spoke.

So my name is Katherine, k t h r y n. There’s a y in it, but she spelled my name Kathy, with an I. And when I got. So like out of college, I was like, I feel like a cheerleader. I don’t feel professional. I’m trying to, like, I don’t, I didn’t know what I, the internet wasn’t really a thing and so I was like, it was just starting.

It was b b s and it was like fun, but I never thought it was gonna be like my career. I didn’t know what I was gonna do with this, like speech communication degree and who wants to listen to a 22 year old kid. Right. So I, I changed it from Kathy with an I to Kathy with a Y then, and then it just, That just felt better to me.

And then for a while I went with Catherine for a year and I hated it. Yeah, I absolutely hated it. Mostly because I had this like really, really kinda mean boss. And the way she said it, I felt like I was in trouble all the time. Catherine not doing this. I am Kathy, I’m Kathy’s, and now I’m Kathy’s aunt.

Like, just move it all together. I’m Kathy’s aunt. It’s one word. It’s all one word. Yeah. And I, I really. Because where I grew, where and how I grew up, I grew up in a smaller town and my father owned a business, zant office equipment. And so like 10 o’clock news came on and my dad was on TV showing off a copier or something.

So when I was a little kid, it was like, oh, we’re rich and famous. I thought we were, and like the name meant something. And then I get like into high school and my, my grandma died. All this stress happened in the family and. My dad started drinking a lot more and started just being mean, and then I just like hated my last name because everybody knew there was, we were the only Z in town.

There weren’t any other ones. And so it was like this, this thing, I was just like trying to get away from, I didn’t want to claim my name and it was just a few years ago when I was talking to someone and I said that they were fantastic and they called me zt and then I love that. I was just like, I’m Kathy’s aunt and I am fantastic.

Yes, you are. Like, I feel like I reclaimed my name from like this. Yeah. Sort of weird experience growing up with this name being bigger than me and now it’s me like Kathy’s aunt. That’s who I am. Love it. It’s not like Catherine. It’s not Kathy. I’m Kathy’s aunt. Yep. And it works. There are some names.


I, my, the, my last name is not common. People haven’t heard it much. Yeah. But if you’re from Canada, you have, which is where my family hails from that side of the family. So fresh that is, is more common in the Chicago area where my family had immigrated to or migrate, I don’t know, whatever settled in, um, yeah.

When my grandparents moved from Canada and so, um, my grandfather was a musician. Um, a struggling poor musician with 11 children, but that’s a story for another day. But he, um, he was a musician. So this is a funny story. Nothing to do with the name, but this is a funny story that you just made me think of.

So I was at WordCamp Buffalo several years ago, way before the pandemic, maybe two, three years before that. And I was on the organizing team and we had the speaker dinner. And then everybody left and it was just me and two of the other organizers and we’re sitting at the bar and one of ’em said, have you ever had a Moscow Mule?

And I said, no. So now I’m sipping this Moscow Mule talking to these two guys who I know but didn’t know like incredibly well. And they’re talking about this, um, player from the Buffalo Sabers who’d been traded. It was all over the Buffalo News. Everybody’s up in arms at the sky, was traded off the team.

So they’re talking about hockey and I’m like, I mean, look at me. Am I a sports enthusiast? I think we all know. I’m not a sports enthusiast, but I, but I, here I am a little, I mean, I was maybe a tiny bit tipsy. I wasn’t drunk, but I go, oh, I’m like trying to fit in the conversation. My grandfather used to play for the Chicago Blackhawks, and they go, really?

What position? I said The organ.

Oh my gosh. That is hilarious. They’ll be like, and they’re like, Michelle, when you say somebody played for the Chicago Blackhawks, they think you be hockey. I’m like, oh, sorry. Yes. That’s the closest. But he still played for the Blackhawks. That’s great. He played for that. The Blackhawks. That’s right. So, but yeah, I, I learned how to rephrase that in later times.

He was a musician. The Chicago Black Hawks.

Yeah. He used to play on the radio and then sometimes his kids would come and they’d sing along. But I have, um, I think I put it out on Twitter maybe last year or the year before. Uh uh, I have a recording of him playing, uh, winter Wonderland on the organ. Oh. From one of my aunts. Yeah. We had old, um, glass records that some of them have digitized, which is pretty cool.

That’s so neat. Oh, how cool. Yeah. I love that. That is so amazing cuz it’s like, I, I, I love with all the way music and how we consume music changes like the, a lot of that can get lost. So the fact that you Yeah. Preserved it and allowed it to, you know, yeah. Keeping your record of it, I is a legacy is so awesome.

Pretty cool stuff for sure. That’s our claim debate. Awesome. Came to fame. So anyway, pretty cool stuff. And um, there are still people who are older people who will say that they remember hearing my grandfather on the radio. Really? Those people are dying off because was a really long time ago, but it is still cool when somebody will say, oh, I remember Lou Fresh, he used to play the organ.

Yeah. Oh, that is so cool. That is so, so cool. I mean, I grew up outside of Chicago, so I’m certain like, oh cool, that I’ve got. People, probably like older relatives and stuff who probably might know, but yeah, could be. We were football people, I think. I don’t know. There might be a hockey person around, but that is so cool.

Claim name, I love it. They may, the radio anyway, so definitely. So capital P, lowercase p, WordPress, however you spell it. We love you anyway. It matters what you do and who you are and how you are of service to the greater of humanity rather than what’s in any name. Absolutely. Absolutely. So whatever’s in any name, we’ll see y’all next week.

We appreciate you being here. And, uh, Let us know is there any funny stories about your name? We’d love to hear ’em. See you next week. Bye bye. This has been WP Motivate with Kathy Zant and Michelle Frechette. To learn more or to sponsor us, go to wp motivate.com.