Baby Name News: 1/27/13

by appellationmountain on January 27, 2013

Sunday SummaryHappy Sunday!  Thanks for all of your kind thoughts on yesterday’s post.  This is such a great community!

Now, a dilemma: in 2011, March Madness launched at this site.  It’s a contest amongst all of the most-read posts for the past year, where we vote until we have our favorites.  The 2012 champions were Arthur and GenevieveIn 2011, Nathaniel and Louisa took home the prize.

Names get into the contest by page views and searches.  I tally up all the page views a post earns, then add in all of the searches for a particular name.  The searches typically don’t sway things much – though last year, they did send Boheme into the Top 16.  Obviously, the longer a post has been around, the better a shot it has at making the playoffs.

In 2012, I automatically disqualified any name that made the Top 16 in 2011.  After all, it seemed possible that we’d have the same contest year after year, possibly with the same outcome.  Acceptable in basketball, but maybe a little dull for our purposes.  So in 2013, do I:

  • Just go with the Top 16, regardless of past performance, and let Nathaniel and Genvieve try to defend their titles?
  • Exclude all of the Top 16 from 2011 and 2012, and start fresh with those who have never competed?
  • Retire only the winners: Arthur and Nathaniel from the boys’ side, Louisa and Genevieve from the girls’ side?
  • Attempt to weight the rankings to favor those that have not previously appeared, or posts that are younger?

To determine the Top 16 names, I’m only looking at the statistics from 2012.  Still, a post written in Fall 2012 has a much harder time racking enough page views to compete with a post written in January or February … or even a few years back.

I’m undecided.  Opinions welcome.

Now, on to the name news:

That’s all for this week.  As always, thank you for reading & have a great week!

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Charlotte Vera January 28, 2013 at 10:38 PM

Ooooh, March Madness, such fun! I’m game for any of the options listed — they all have plus or minuses.

If I had a maiden name I was really attached to I could see myself finding it difficult to give my children their father’s last name. Thankfully my maiden name was incredibly clunky and I was only too glad to shed it; however, I do sometimes mourn when friends with what I consider are brilliant surnames choose not to use them for their children.

As for alliteration — I love it! My husband has an alliterative first and last name, and we used alliteration when naming Roseanna (Roseanna Ruth). I would have loved to continue the trend, but the desire to honour family members overuled other desires when it came to naming Alaric or babe-on-the-way.

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Sarah A January 28, 2013 at 2:56 PM

I vote for eliminating either the winners from previous years or all 16 names from both years. If you eliminated all 16 names from both years then we could definitely see more “underdog” names. But then, it’s kind of fun to see if a name that was in the Top 5 in 2011 would still be as popular 2 years later.
Regardless of what you do, I would definitely weight the rankings in favor of the younger posts. I would also add that a wrench in the whole situation is the fact that since the site move there are a lot of names that either aren’t on the Master List (like Basil which I know you’ve written about!) or their links don’t work (like Balthazar). I can’t imagine that wouldn’t impact the number of views a post receives.
In any case I’m super excited for March Madness, so glad you’re doing it again this year!

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Blue Juniper January 28, 2013 at 2:30 AM

Part of me loves the idea of leaving them all in to see if the top names can retain their top spots, but as they’d already have a head start it could get a little boring to repeatedly have them at the top.

Maybe just the top one then. The number two’s of previous years deserve a chance to take out the win, because they’re probably just as loved as previous number ones :)

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Havoye January 27, 2013 at 10:03 PM

I think I would exclude just the winners or maybe the top four of each year and allow repeats for other names. I don’t remember which names were in the tournaments but I remember being disappointed when some of them were eliminated. ;) And tastes (and readership) change over time so a name that did poorly two years ago might do much better now.

I heard about the huge popularity of the name Vajèn in the Netherlands via Maarten’s blog, and now Phileine! So interesting. If you like reading about names in other languages and love Philomene, you might want to check out this analysis by statistician and name enthusiast Louis Duchesne tracking the extraordinary rise of Philomène in Quebec in the first half of the 19th century. http://www.lesprenoms.net/lustrehf18901998.htm
It came out of nowhere and quickly became so popular that 15% of girls born in Quebec in 1837 bore the name. As he notes, it is extremely rare for a name to become that widespread, and he has yet to find an explanation for its sudden popularity. It has never made any sort of comeback since, though I did meet a small Philibert not long ago…

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Waltzing More Than Matilda January 27, 2013 at 9:51 PM

Hmm, that is a dilemma. I would definitely retire the winners for preceding years, and I *might* consider weighting younger posts – although, if you continue to do it year after year, this should sort itself out naturally, as a young post this year will be an older post next year.

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Maarten van der Meer January 27, 2013 at 4:52 PM

Thank you for mentioning my story about Phileine! However, the link doesn’t work (the link to Nameberry doesn’t work either). I think you forgot the “http://”.

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appellationmountain January 27, 2013 at 7:18 PM

Thanks, Maarten – I believe I have it fixed!

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sweetstrawberry January 27, 2013 at 3:31 PM

To determine the top 16 names in terms of popularity: you could do most hits in the first week after posting or something like that, so they’re competing on fair ground. If you want to repeat names from previous years, you could do the same e.g. most hits in the first year of posting.

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