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更新时间:2016-3-24 11:08:37 来源:纽约时报中文网 作者:佚名

Boaty McBoatface: What You Get When You Let the Internet Decide

A proposal by a British government agency to let the Internet suggest a name for a $287 million polar research ship probably seemed like a good idea at the time.


Now, the agency is the latest group to see what happens when web users are asked to unleash their creative energy: R.R.S. Boaty McBoatface is a clear front-runner.

而现在,这家机构成为最新一个认识到让网民释放创造力会带来什么后果的团体:在这次投票中,皇家考察舰“小舟·麦克船脸”号(R.R.S. Boaty McBoatface)这个名字,目前遥遥领先。

People quickly disregarded the more dignified names suggested by the Natural Environment Research Council — Shackleton, Endeavour, Falcon. Instead the contest became the latest in the Internet’s long, storied history to end up with social media users gleefully offering ridiculous names to government-funded projects.

人们完全不理会自然环境研究委员会(Natural Environment Research Council)建议的一些更体面名字,比如沙克尔顿(Ernest Shackleton,英国探险家,曾多次远征南极——译注)、奋进(Endeavour)、隼(Falcon)等。相反,这次投票最终成为社交媒体用户兴高采烈地给政府资助的项目起荒唐名字的最新例子。这种做法在互联网史上并不少见,往往广为流传。

The initiatives are often hilarious but don’t often succeed. Remember when Slovak lawmakers overrode the public’s vote in 2012 to rename a pedestrian bridge after the actor Chuck Norris? Or the debacle in Austin, Tex., a year earlier, when people unsuccessfully tried to name the city’s waste management service after Limp Bizkit’s frontman, Fred Durst?

这类倡议活动常常收到令人捧腹的效果,却不太会获得成功。还记得斯洛伐克的国民议会在2012年否决公众的投票结果,反对以男演员查克·诺里斯(Chuck Norris)的名字命名一座人行天桥吗?还有一年前德克萨斯州奥斯丁市政机构的悲惨遭遇?当时网民试图将该市的废弃物管理服务部门,命名为软饼干乐队(Limp Bizkit)主唱弗雷德·德斯特(Fred Durst)的名字而未果。

Corporations have also tried the tactic, and the penalty for trying to play with the Internet tends to be meaner: Mountain Dew learned the hard way when 4 Chan took control of a vote to name a new flavor, and the joke was on Taylor Swift and VH1 when the Internet chose a school for the deaf as a concert location.

一些企业也有过此类尝试,而试图与网民同乐的代价似乎更为惨烈:当饮料品牌激浪(Mountain Dew)为其新品进行网上票选时,知名论坛4 Chan挟持了投票,让激浪得了惨痛的教训;网民还将一所聋哑学校选为举办音乐会的场地,也是拿歌手泰勒·斯威夫特(Taylor Swift)和VH1有线电视台开了一个大大的玩笑。

We have James Hand, a public relations professional and former BBC employee, to thank (blame?) for this latest episode. Mr. Hand became a bit of an overnight sensation when he submitted the name Boaty McBoatface after seeing reports of the competition last week. Then he watched his creation spin completely out of control.

最近这出戏码的上演,要归功于(归咎于?)公关专业人士、BBC前员工詹姆斯·汉德(James Hand)。上周,在看到有关船只命名的报道后,汉德在网站上提交了“小舟·麦克船脸”这样一个名字,之后他就有点一夜成名了。他看着自己创造的这个名字在网上疯狂传播起来,情形完全失控。

“The storm that has been created has got legs of its own,” Mr. Hand told the BBC on Monday, and added that he had submitted Boaty McBoatface in another competition. (For what it’s worth, Mr. Hand voted for the name R.R.S. David Attenborough.)

“这场被制造出来的风波就像自己长了脚一样,”汉德在周一告诉BBC。他还表示,在另一项投票中,他也提交了“小舟·麦克船脸”这个名字。(不管怎么说,汉德自己投的可是皇家考察艇“戴维·阿滕伯勒”号[R.R.S. David Attenborough]。)

The research council would not comment on whether it would override the Internet’s suggestion, but Alison Robinson, a spokeswoman, said in an email that the group was “delighted by the enthusiasm and creativity” of people vying for names like Boaty McBoatface. The ship is scheduled to set sail in 2019.

自然环境研究委员不愿透露他们是否会推翻网络投票的结果,但该机构发言人艾莉森·鲁滨逊(Alison Robinson)在邮件中表示,委员会为人们在争相选择“小舟·麦克船脸”这类名字上所表现出的“热情与创造力而感到欣喜”。这艘考察船预计将在2019年出航。

“We’ve had thousands of suggestions made on the website since we officially launched; many of them reflect the importance of the ship’s scientific role by celebrating great British explorers and scientists,” Ms. Robinson said. “We are pleased that people are embracing the idea in a spirit of fun.”


Sure they are.


The poll closes April 16 — that is, if the Natural Environment Research Council can ever get the crashed polling website back online again.