Name that ship! Anything, but not RRS Boaty McBoatface
A few years back Greenpeace held a an online poll to name a humpback whale; TreeHugger Bonnie was not impressed with the most popular name, Mr. Splashy Pants. She thought it inappropriate, concluding:
Voting is being extended, supposedly due to popular demand (and perhaps vain hope on Greenpeace's part that their whale will get a decent name). Do your bit and save a whale's self respect.
The post drew 210 comments, the most ever to that time, mostly critical of poor Bonnie and TreeHugger for being such wet blankets. "If you have a problem with the name Mr Splashy Pants you clearly take yourself way too seriously. All those other names are incredibly boring and pretentious." and "LIGHTEN UP TREEHUGGER!"
Now Britain's Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) is crowdsourcing the name of a new Antarctic research vessel (RRS, or Royal Research Ship), and are perhaps regretting their decision, because the leading candidate by a wide margin is RRS Boaty McBoatface.
Peter Walker of the Guardian thinks that it "sounds like it was christened by a five-year-old who has drunk three cartons of Capri-Sun. " He notes that other suggestions that are doing well include Its Bloody Cold Here, What Iceberg, Captain Haddock, Big Shipinnit, Science!!! and Big Metal Floaty Thingy-thing.
The NERC gave themselves a trapdoor by asking people to "suggest" names, and says that it is "thrilled at the 'enthusiasm and creativity' of the naming process, while declining to offer an opinion on the merits of Boaty McBoatface."
TreeHugger can only advise the NERC that you don't mess with the people's choice, or you get comments like this:
The names you think are "beautiful" are utterly forgettable to the rest of the world and will draw no attention whatsoever to the plight of whales. If you would lose your ego and New Age mantras for a second and think about this logically, wouldn't you rather let the whale be named Mr. Splashy Pants and get some attention from the internet community towards the plight of whales? No, you'd rather stroke your ego and hang onto your elitism than actually mobilize help for the causes you supposedly support. No wonder you're probably an ineffective leader and will never accomplish anything of substance.