tinc – a Temporary Inconvenience

As can be seen from the comments to the previous post, the demands that we find another name for this framework-that-has-no-name have become increasingly strident.

Various urgent online and in-person conversations have ensued. The only directly-meaningful name we came up with was ‘solution-space mapping‘, but several people have disagreed with that, and in any case there is already a well-established usage of the acronym ‘SSM’ in this context, namely Checkland et al’s Soft Systems Methodology.

There’s a long-standing software tradition of assigning arbitrary names as working-titles for projects. Someone suggested ‘Eric’, which was a name they’d used when developing an IT system for an airline, and which reminded me of a nonsense-phrase I’ve often used, that “anything unknown is called Fred”.

But even an arbitrary proper-name seems too concrete for something that is necessarily abstract and, as a name, necessarily temporary. We couldn’t think of any meaningful acronym, so we played with sounds for a while, until someone came up with this:


It’s the sound of the penny dropping, as someone ‘gets it’; the small bright sound that the imaginary light-bulb makes at the ‘Aha!’ moment in solution-space. A quick, recursive echo of a sound. And it’s also a contraction of what this name really is: a temporary inconvenience.

Since it’s clear we’re not even allowed to use the name of the framework that this isn’t in order to describe what it isn’t, we would have to apply the same process to give us a temporary name for that. So we might note that in Welsh the plosive sound ‘toof!’ would be spelt as twf, which should give us a relatively-safe acronym for That Welsh Framework. (‘Twf‘ is also the name of the Welsh Language Board website, by the way – “Cymraeg o’r Crud, Two Languages from Day One”.)

So there we have it: tinc, for the framework, and twf, for the-framework-that-it-isn’t. A temporary inconvenience, but it’ll have to do for now.

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