I give up on depreciated

Giving up is a liberating feeling, in some ways (though in most ways it’s just depressing, yet another failure grinding your soul to dust). So, I’m slightly pleased to note that from now on, when I see someone say that something is depreciated when they mean that it’s deprecated, rather than grinding my teeth while suggesting that they learn the difference (before I beat them senseless), I’ll just go get another fifth of cheap whiskey and a bag of pork rinds, er, let it pass.

This aborted rant started when I was editing a Movable Type Comment Listing Template, and noticed on the way in that it was described as Shown when comment popups (depreciated) are enabled. I was reasonably sure that comment popups do not lose a percentage of their value for each unit of time which elapses, and although there are those who belittle comment popups, I suspected that Six Apart actually wanted to tell us that their use has been deprecated, that is, disapproved of, and the technical meaning, that they are no longer recommended for use with a threat that at some future time support will be completely removed.

I thought it might be nice to leaven my bile with a little etymology, so I asked the folks at Answers.com about it. I found their answer only somewhat satisfying (the derivation from “to ward off by prayer” is rather nice, but some of their definitions were a touch fuzzy for my taste), but then I made the horrid mistake of asking them about depreciated, where I’m offered only one answer: an incorrect (and long since changed at the source) Wikipedia article claiming that depreciated is a W3C term, and linking to the letter D in the W3C glossary (one assumes due to incompetence, rather than having considered the alternative, linking to the anchor #deprecated, and … oh, bloody hell, I can’t stand it! How can so many people who are involved with computer software, where individual characters and even bits matter, be so utterly blind to the fact that they are throwing an extra vowel into a word, turning it into another word? That’s it, I’m loading the back of the pickup with cluebats and heading to San Francisco. I’d recommend having

[mt-cvs]$ grep -r "depreciated" ./

up on your monitors, when I get there to meat you.

Ah, that felt much better than giving up ;)


Comment by Steve Jenson #
2005-11-06 00:07:09

You know, somebody gave me the smackdown on deprecated vs depreciated back in 1999 and I am still grateful.

Comment by Dave Child #
2005-11-06 02:29:32

How can so many people who are involved with computer software, where individual characters and even bits matter, be so utterly blind to the fact that they are throwing an extra vowel into a word, turning it into another word?

Almost as bad as when they swap one vowel for another, turning it into another word?

when I get there to meat you

I agree with your sentiments, though – it’s the same for so many parts of language though. People just don’t seem to want to take the time to learn for themselves – they hear someone use a word and just assume that person was using it properly. Oh well, a good rant about it usually helps :).

Comment by Anne van Kesteren #
2005-11-06 03:21:04

Don’t shoot the wannabees

Comment by Phil Ringnalda #
2005-11-06 08:14:02

Heh. I’d forgotten about Henri’s wannabe list, but just to keep my wrath directed at as many different weblog software providers as possible, I was rather bemused by a bit of markup in my WordPress template (or, rather, in the code somewhere, since it’s around the ”Edit this” links):


Semantically speaking, I suppose that says ”no, really, dude, I mean it: vertical bar!”

Comment by Pete Prodoehl #
2005-11-06 05:57:36

At least they didn’t use the word ”defecated” Hmmm, maybe that would have been more fitting.

Comment by Tom Moertel #
2005-11-06 07:45:31

You might be interested in the following from Garner’s Usage Tip of the Day:

deprecate; depreciate.

The first of these has increasingly encroached on the figurative senses of the second, while the second has retreated into financial contexts. ”Deprecate” means ”to disapprove earnestly” — e.g.: ”There must be a proper balance between urban and rural, industrial and agricultural development. And a spirit of excessive tolerance is to be deprecated.” Jonathan Romney, ”Apollo 13,” New Statesman & Society, 22 Sept. 1995, at 29.

”Depreciate,” transitively, means ”to belittle, disparage”; and intransitively, ”to fall in value” (used in reference to assets or investments). The phrase ”self-deprecating” is, literally speaking, a virtual impossibility, except perhaps for those suffering from extreme neuroses. Thus ”self-depreciating,” with ”depreciate” in its transitive sense, has historically been viewed as the correct phrase — e.g.: ”Sadly, Grizzard did not have the self-depreciating humor of a Jeff Foxworthy, the self-proclaimed redneck comedian.” Bill McClellan, ”If Southern Writer Were Judging the Games, What Would His Verdict Be?” St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 25 July 1996, at B1.

Unfortunately, though, the form ”self-deprecating” — despite its mistaken origins — is now 50 times as common in print as ”self-depreciating.” Speakers of American English routinely use ”self-deprecating.” However grudgingly, we must accord to it the status of standard English — e.g.:”Milken doesn’t drive himself much anymore, but he has a self-deprecating explanation for why that’s the case: He says he used to do so many things while driving that he kept having collisions.” Jeanie Russell Kasindorf, ”What to Make of Mike,” Fortune, 30 Sept. 1996, at 86.

BTW, Garner’s Modern American Usage is a handy book to have within arm’s reach.

Comment by Chris #
2005-11-06 08:02:43

when I get there to meat you.

Knowing your genius I assume that was a clever pun that had something to do with beatings involving a baseball bat.

When I saw the title of this post in my feed reader I clicked instantly, without bothering to scan the article in the feed, because I was so certain there must be something wrong that would cause you to spell deprecated incorrectly in a headline. I was prepared, fingers at the ready, to fire off a friendly, ”sorry, you misspelled ’deprecated’” comment.

I am so relieved.

2005-11-06 08:33:22

[…] Phil Ringnalda grinds his teeth when people say depreciated instead of deprecated. I know how he feels. The one that bothers me is hearing people say orientated instead of oriented, as in ”object orientated.” […]

Comment by kellan #
2005-11-06 09:30:54

Well at some point in history popup comments were thought, hard though it maybe be to conceive of, to be a good idea. Thankfully they’ve been depreciated to the point where they’re all but extinct.

Hmmm… I tried, but it still doesn’t scan.

Comment by Phil Ringnalda #
2005-11-06 09:42:08

s/they’ve been/general approval of them has/ and it sort-of works.

Though if you don’t care about accessibility (or much of anything else), popup comments fired from javascript:openComments() are remarkably spam-free.

Comment by Aristotle Pagaltzis #
2005-11-06 10:14:52

I was going to ding you for “incompetant”, but then I saw “meat you”, and now I’m wondering whether you simply wrote this at 4am in the morning or are actually being facetious.

Comment by Phil Ringnalda #
2005-11-06 10:29:54

That was my incompetence in spelling causing me to use incompetance: sadly, it was only 10pm, though after two hours trying to track down a Heisenberg bug it felt more like 4am. But ”meat” was intentional: my ambiguous use of it is rather more clear to people who keep pets that I consider food, but in this case I was looking for an association with tenderizing, if not cannibalism.

Comment by Shelley #
2005-11-06 10:31:47

I apprecate your rant, irregardless of tool mentioned.

Comment by Kafkaesquí #
2005-11-06 11:51:56

Argh!… (one of mine to give up)

Comment by jacob #
2005-11-06 13:03:40

The fact that we’re able to successfully survive encounters with most slips and variations of spelling, usage, style, and grammar just makes me grateful for the ultra-liberal language parsers in our heads, to echo something I said in one of Mark Pilgrim’s roiling comment threads about his copy editor a long time ago.

But you’ll be happy to know that I (and, judging by this post, maybe others) reported the misspelling to Six Apart at the end of August, and it’ll be fixed in the next release.

Comment by Faruk Ates #
2005-11-07 01:29:16

Yes, it is rather frustrating, but please keep in mind that a lot of people suffer from very light to normal dyslexia, and are possibly making such mistakes unintentionally while still knowing that it is deprecated.

Comment by Frankie Roberto #
2005-11-07 02:41:51

I blame the fact that ’deprecated’ isn’t a word that’s spoken much, and so most people first encounter it in the written form. As our eyes never read every letter when reading, it’s easy to mis-read deprecated as the more-commonly-used ’depreciated’, which, as it has a similar enough meaning, usually fits in the context, it becomes an easy mistake to make.

So, more people using the word ’deprecated’ in everyday speech would go a long way to improving the problem…

Comment by Phil Ringnalda #
2005-11-07 08:32:34

I’ll buy that: to me, they are dep·re·cated and de·prec·i·ated, two utterly different words, but if you treat them like Linus bleeping over the Russian names in Dostoyevsky, they don’t seem so different.

However, a plan to use ’deprecated’ in everyday speech is likely to run across Pete’s problem from up the page: to your tongue, there’s very little difference between deprecated and defecated, but to the clients in the big pitch meeting?

Comment by Anil #
2005-11-07 11:06:25

OMFG! I’m motified we shipped something with ”deprecated” spelled incorrectly… as 3-time spelling bee champion of my junior high school, I take it as a personal affront. (On the other hand, we’re proud to have a number of people with various reading/writing problems on our staff, as we’ve got dyslexics succeeding in being in senior management, on our board of directors, and in departments like user experience/design. So I’m trying to be less of a spelling nazi these days.)

Anyway, to the issue at hand. First, I will blame Jay Allen. It’s Jay’s fault, ha ha! Second, I will try to get this fixed. Thanks for pointing it out, and please be sensitive to our horrible shame.

Comment by Phil Ringnalda #
2005-11-07 11:46:20

Too late, Jacob says he did the right thing and reported it as a bug months ago, so I actually would see the grep I expect.

But at least dyslexia came up often enough to force me to do enough reading to realize that the casual understanding of it as ”swapping letters or reversing whole words” doesn’t really cover it, and if you don’t map visual representations to verbal sounds very well, then the utterly different sounds of the two words don’t jar you when you look at the wrong one.

And since no rant’s complete until the ranter feels like a heel, I guess this one’s done now :)

Comment by Pete Prodoehl #
2005-11-07 12:27:22

I like how Anil did not mention the employment of dyslexics in the programming department. ;)

Maybe I should be ”motified” but I’m not…

Comment by Anil #
2005-11-07 18:17:23

I meant mortified! That’s a typo! No fair!

Comment by Christopher #
2005-11-07 22:43:46

You must be joking about deprecated vs depreciated. They mean essentially the same thing. If anything depreciated is closer in meaning to the current usage. Honestly, has anyone every been confused by using one or then other almost identical word? Only anal jargon freaks care much about things like this.

Comment by Phil Ringnalda #
2005-11-07 23:10:35

Thanks for clearing that up: I was fooled by the definitions in dictionaries and usage manuals, including the one that Tom quoted above, into thinking that deprecated meant ”disapproved of strongly” while depreciated meant ”belittled, made fun of, mocked.” Now you’ve made it clear that they both mean exactly the same thing, which is, um, whichever you say they mean, I guess.

So, again, go fuck yourself with a chainsaw, which means exactly the same thing as thanks for stopping by.

Comment by Jay Allen #
2005-11-07 23:49:02

Anil is right to blame me, but the thing I can’t figure out is that I too am annoyed when people mix up deprecated and depreciated, so believe me, I know the difference.

All I can say, in my defense, is that we were pulling some pretty damn late nights putting the finishing touches on 3.2. Perhaps I was bleary-eyed.

But in either case, I hear you. Thank you for making me annoy myself.

Oh, by the way, now that you’re on WordPress, how about using your mad programming skillz to finally give that piece of software a frigging PREVIEW button?

Comment by Phil Ringnalda #
2005-11-08 00:38:43

Yeah, it’s killing me: I keep having to edit my comments depreciating other people’s spelling, because I miss my own typos from not having the chance to preview.

I’ve got a copy of the needs-a-project-page ComPreVal that will give me back preview with an approximation of validation sitting here waiting for me to crunch it together with the threaded comment plugin, but since one’s written in ”stew of HTML and code” and the other’s in ”spew of echo and "” (I love PHP, really I do, but it sure could do with One True Way of not mixing code and HTML so much), I haven’t quite gotten to it yet. One of these days, when I don’t see something embarrassing right after I post it, I’ll take pity on everyone else too.

(Not giving it one in the core I presume is somehow a matter of philosophy, since it’s not like it’s a huge technical challenge, but I haven’t read my way through enough archived arguments yet to know.)

Comment by Shelley #
2005-11-08 07:36:58

If only ya had gone with Wordform, you would have had preview, edit, and spell for comments AND in-style preview for your posts.

Not to mention an especially sexy look for your admin pages.

And no typos. No, ssurh. Naht mi.

Comment by Phil Ringnalda #
2005-11-08 08:00:06

If only you had one-click install set up with DreamHost: you just can’t beat filling in three or four input fields and clicking a button, and having a new weblog system installed in a few minutes, when you are pissed off and ready to move.

Comment by Shelley #
2005-11-12 10:59:32

For you Phil, I would have done a personal installation. But you never would have been able to say anything critical because, you know, you’d hurt my feelings.

After all, I am my code; my code is me.

Comment by Flomo #
2005-11-08 03:14:12

There are worse things. I heard some people talking about polygone Klingeltöne, which is German for polygonal ringtones, as opposed to the more familiar and still annoying polyphone=polyphonic ringtones. I really like to hear (or see?) one of those. There are a lot out there.

Comment by K.Ecee #
2006-03-22 19:44:38

I was right there with you , until you wrote ”…when I get there to MEAT you.” Whoops. Kinda blows your righteous attitude.

Comment by Phil Ringnalda #
2006-03-22 20:49:20

Welcome to my weblog; thanks for stopping by!

There’s just a couple-three of things you need to know about how things are around here:

  1. Dates matter: if you are commenting on a months-old post like this, the only people who will see it are the ones who subscribe to my comments feed, looking for people to savage.
  2. Comments matter. A lot. Quite often, our collective opinion turns around 180 degrees from the post to the tail end of the comments. Other times, what you are planning on saying has already been said twice, explained twice, and finished with twice, leaving no point in saying it a third time unless you are hoping for the aforementioned savaging.
  3. If there is any way, any way at all, that anything I say which looks odd, or wrong, or at odds with other things that I also say, or stupid, or impossible to have written accidentally, but it could be explained by it being something that amused me, that’s the way to bet. I think I’m a wit…
Comment by Robert Sayre #
2006-03-22 21:57:10

hey, nice webs you have a here. keep up a the good work!

Comment by Phil Ringnalda #
2006-03-22 22:16:30

I’m glad to see that Akismet will still let something that close through: since Google reincuded me a few weeks back, I’m suddenly back up to 700-1000 of those a day, and I have to admit I don’t closely look at that many before dumping them. Or even worry about the way it tells me it caught 1000 and only shows me 150 of them.

Comment by Aristotle Pagaltzis #
2006-03-23 07:15:35

Freedom’s just another word for “nothing to lose,” eh…

(Also, “reincuded”?)

Comment by Phil Ringnalda #
2006-03-23 08:05:22

If only I could come up with some way of claiming that was intentional.

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