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Check out the new top bar (it's this new top bar). I mean, check out the new top bar. I mean, check out 35 + 8 pages of vaguely tagged questions regarding the "top bar", or the "new top bar", or some feature specific to some iteration of some new top bar at some point or another that may or may not pollute your search results and confuse you when posting about new top bar features.

And don't forget the new nav (at least MSO is clear that it's from 2015) (which refers to the new nav), or the "new top nav" (I quote), unless you meant the new nav, the new nav, the new new nav, or you just mistagged (or did you) a question about the new top bar/nav as .

As time goes on and new "new" features continue to be released, it becomes increasingly difficult:

  • To find information.
  • To know which tags to use.
  • To know which language to use in discussions.
  • To find appropriate duplicates.
  • For the "related questions" to truly be related (it is not unusual to see similar questions about the older new thing or the old new thing in the sidebar for questions about the new new thing or the newer new thing).
  • For auto search to be effective.

This is because "new" is relative, and as new becomes old the word "new" in posts doesn't magically change with it.

Can we please start referring to major new features with non-relative terms? It doesn't matter what it is, as long as it keeps tags, discussions, and searches clear and relevant in the long run. One of the major philosophies here is creating content that stays relevant in the face of time, and I don't think announcements about site features should be an exception.

Here are some ideas to get a conversation started:

  • Always refer to the primary year of release in e.g. (the 2015 Nav Update), or
  • Give them version numbers (e.g. the V3 Top Bar and the V4 Navigation Update), or
  • Give them inexplicable names involving animals (e.g. Top Bar Update, "Queasy Quetzal")

Anything, really, but you can't keep just calling things "new" with no qualifiers, or it's going to get messier. The next "new nav" or "new top bar" or "new whatever" is only going to make it more confusing, now's a good time to start adding some clarity.

I'll close with the similar questions to the right of this post as I type it, for reflection (see also):

enter image description here

Nothing is new forever.

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    I can't believe no one has mentioned this before... bugged me, just not enough to write a good meta post about it – psubsee2003 Mar 3 '17 at 0:45
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    For reference: this is naming rant rev 2017.3.2.25281, not to be confused with past or future naming rants. – Shog9 Mar 3 '17 at 0:51
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    @Shog9 Actually, we're calling this rant "Greasy Gopher". Not to be confused with the previous rant, "Frisky Ferret". – Jason C Mar 3 '17 at 0:54
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    This is similar in nature to people prefacing their posts with "I'm a newbie..." or "Just learning...". The value of such information is fleeting and has really no impact on the future of the post nor the solution. – Werner Mar 3 '17 at 1:56
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    The root problem is people being lazy and not using the correct version name: new new new nav. – user315433 Mar 3 '17 at 2:14
  • @NormalHuman Uh oh, I didn't realize they were already tweeting about it. I hope I d̶o̶n̶'̶t̶ start an office fist fight. – Jason C Mar 3 '17 at 2:20
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    MOD FIGHT! MOD FIGHT!!! Oh wait, I think I'm not supposed to say that anymore... – Pops Mar 3 '17 at 2:37
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In our defense, who actually thought this juggernaut was gonna make it through 5 top-bar designs? I figured it'd be like 3, 4 at the most, before the whole thing got sold to some holding company and all navigation removed to make room for ads.

But, here we are. With not just 6+ years of discussion and documentation for 5 different top-bars, but 6+ years of complaints about 5 different top-bars, each predicting with surety that the world was ending and this was probably the final gasp before everything got sold off to some holding company and all navigation removed to make room for ads, followed by disease, pestilence and probably hoards of zombies walking the earth too.

All in all... I gotta say, I'm pleasantly surprised. In fact, I'm gonna go pour myself a cup of Jim Beam Bonded Bourbon to celebrate. You should too - let's face it, this falls into the category of "A Good Problem to Have", and Lord knows we have enough of the other sort of problems in These Dark Times. Heck, there are probably hoards of zombies right outside your door as I type this; drink fast and enjoy this problem while you still can.

That said... It is still a problem. And you've even gone to the trouble of thinking up some solutions, so... Let's discuss 'em, in reverse order:

  1. Use fun names, like "Cheeky Chital". Ubuntu has kinda already done this to death; and then Android shot the idea execution-style, buried the idea, and set the idea on fire. It's fun for... Maybe four versions, and then you realize that maintaining a mental chronology of arbitrary animals is taxing and go back to using version numbers anyway.

 

  1. Version numbers. Just like Grampa Bill used to make! They work great, until you hit an unlucky number or a really lucky year and decide to switch to year-based numbering for that year, and now no one can remember what version you're on anymore. Might as well just bite the bullet and go straight to...

 

  1. Year-based versioning! This is clearly the only sane option, as 30-some years of experience has repeatedly demonstrated. And you knew this, which is why you put it first. Best of all, we're already using the year in our build numbers, so we don't have to go futzing with those! All we gotta do is remember to mark each post about navigation with a year...

    ...and we're already doing that, too. In fact, everything is time-stamped: questions, answers, announcements that pretend to be questions or answers, comments, revisions... You can go back through the entire history of meta discussion regarding top bars and navigation, and know which year's vintage is being discussed just by looking at the date handily displayed below each one! There's only one little hitch: occasionally (such as, right now) we'll have two types of navigation in existence at once, just for a little while while we roll the new one out to all sites. But that's strictly a temporary condition, so we just need a way to distinguish between them during the few weeks or months that it exists. Some word that will clearly indicate to everyone reading during that time period that we're not talking about the navigation they'd all gotten used to, but rather the one that was in the process of replacing it.

    Could be any word, really; "novel", "nowy", "nuevo"... But since we use English in most of the rest of these posts, I'd recommend sticking with... "new".

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    Well, the timestamps on posts are not entirely useful unless you, for example, make the auto search and related q algorithms automatically detect that you are talking about a feature, look in some database of time ranges for that version of that feature, and then use that to filter results. Also you'd need to clearly document time ranges somewhere, that info isn't readily available without serious post hunting. Plus other reasons, but, I'm not caffeinated enough to type them out. In any case, mad respect for going through the trouble of creating a reverse-numbered list. – Jason C Mar 3 '17 at 2:38
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    You forgot: 4. Everything stays at version 1 and never changes. – user255171 Mar 3 '17 at 2:39
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    That's right, Shog! You show Markdown that you aren't going to conform to its always-ascending numbering system! – Pops Mar 3 '17 at 2:43
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    Maybe we can have arbitrary list numbering in the "Skanky Sandgrouse" post editor update. – Jason C Mar 3 '17 at 2:44
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    Btw the other hitch with "new", that timestamps don't help, is ambiguity when two new features are around at the same time. E.g. if you went in to any chat room and asked what people thought of the new nav, I'd bet the majority would talk about the color scheme or whether it's sticky or not, despite new-nav "officially" referring to the tab interface, not the top bar. Even the top bar post itself that I linked to introduces ambiguous language by referring to the "new top nav". It's the "new" that throws it off, since the newest hot topic navigation feature is the top bar, not the tabs. – Jason C Mar 3 '17 at 3:42
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    I want the Top Bar 2000™ back! – ShaWiz Mar 3 '17 at 6:48

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