Problem in the LÖVE Community With Library Names

I hesitated to write this post. I want to discuss what I believe is a cultural problem in the LÖVE community. As an ardent fan and supporter of LÖVE, I want to see the project grow more popular and successful. But I have had had a festering, growing concern that one aspect of the community that is hurting LÖVE, and today I want to talk about that.

An Important Note

The last thing I want is for this post to come across as some kind of witch hunt. I am not pretending to be some ‘White Knight With The Answers‘ seeking to exert my opinions about what is ‘Right’ on the community out of a misplaced assumption that what I am going to say is inherently and objectively better. That is far from the truth; that said, I will be providing suggestions about which I feel strongly. My own participation in the community has contributed to the problem I will discuss, out of my own failure to speak up at the very least.

I will be mentioning some specific projects but I have no intentions of personally calling out the authors. Nothing positive would come of it and it would not fester a fruitful discussion.

That said, allow me to begin.

The Catalyst

Today I read this in a message about a new game

[It] Uses middleclass, ATL, hardoncollider, cock, hump, quickie, and love2d-assets-loader, so thanks to the authors of those. Yous [guys] made my job much simpler….

The author is naming popular libraries in the LÖVE world. But take a pause to look at the names, especially in the post above where the author lists them in quick succession:

  • HardonCollider
  • Cock
  • HUMP
  • Quickie

Here are some others I see used in LÖVE games:

  • AnAL
  • LUBE
  • Pölygamy
  • Simple Educative Class System (i.e. ‘SECS’)
  • Swingers

A lot of you can guess where I’m about to go with this.

Reputations and Perceptions

The LÖVE community nurtures this idea that it is acceptable to name useful libraries as if they were a series of pre-teen sex jokes. I stress the word ‘useful’ because I would like to use these libraries. But when people are writing sentences such as…

[It] uses middleclass, ATL, HardonCollider, cock, hump, quickie…

…then I simply cannot do it. It is creates an atmosphere of a juvenile boys-club that feels they are being funny without seriously considering the types of people they turn away because of this. One year ago—to the day—this discussion happened. Focus on the results from users with old ‘Join’ dates and high amounts of posts, because they are influential in the community.

And for the most part I don’t think they see this as a problem at all. I mean, the first response is:

No.

Period. That’s it.

Is this the best way to handle this?

How This Hurts the Community

Going back to the original forum post I quoted, the way the author rattles off a bunch of library names related to penises and sexual intercourse seriously dissuades me from recommending LÖVE to people in the future. The ready acceptance of such names—not to mention their adamant defense by stalwarts of the community—erode what confidence I have in suggesting LÖVE to other developers. There is a place for joking around and having fun, and then there is flat-out unprofessionalism. LÖVE’s freedoms of use and free price does not justify the childish naming of suggestion of so many genuinely useful libraries. Some of these libraries I want to use on my own game, but honestly am I not going to do that if it means I have to credit ‘Cock’ and ‘AnAL‘ in the credits (because I’m not using a library without crediting the authors). And so I end up reimplementing things because the immature nature of these libraries can reflect poorly on my own professionalism—how many people in the tech industry, regardless of gender, want to work with a developer who writes about how nice ‘AnAL’ is? Seriously.

A Way Forward

The LÖVE community is full of smart people and I know they could come up with less socially awkward/confrontational names if they tried. I hope they try; I would be willing to help. Because the more I see such names and see them emphatically defended, the more confidence I lose when it comes to recommended LÖVE to anyone in the future.

Note: Current discussion on the official forums.

Update (11 February 2014): People pointed out that most libraries mentioned in this article use licenses which allow renaming them.

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4 thoughts on “Problem in the LÖVE Community With Library Names

  1. I completely agree with you. All of the horrible innuendo library names make me wonder if it was a mistake for me to have chosen to use LOVE as a basis for my own project. On the bright side, I do think there is a straightforward and attainable solution to this problem. It hinges on convincing the core members of the LOVE community that endorsing libraries with inappropriate names makes them look unprofessional and drives away potential community members. For example, the last time I checked, core members have control over the wikipedia page which lists useful libraries and third-party software to be used with LOVE; the embarrassingly-named libraries you’ve mentioned are displayed prominently. Solving this problem would likely just be a matter of convincing bartbes to rename his own libraries and to remove poorly named libraries that have reasonably named alternatives. Are you going to post this to the LOVE forums?

    1. All of the horrible innuendo library names make me wonder if it was a mistake for me to have chosen to use LOVE as a basis for my own project.

      Personally I haven’t reached this level yet. But if this aspect of LÖVE does not change or show any signs of changing then it is going to be pretty difficult for me to suggest LÖVE for future projects of my own. The knee-jerk reaction I except to this is that I am getting all up-in-arms over “just some names,” but—I hate sounding like a jerk—I feel like most people who say that have not spent time in a professional capacity in the industry where this would by-and-large not be tolerated.

      On the bright side, I do think there is a straightforward and attainable solution to this problem. It hinges on convincing the core members of the LOVE community that endorsing libraries with inappropriate names makes them look unprofessional and drives away potential community members.

      I like that idea. Overcoming the intertia will be incredibly difficult, but I would certainly do what I can to support this approach.

      Are you going to post this to the LOVE forums?

      I have throught about it. I wrote it here first because I want people outside of the LÖVE forums to be aware of this situation. To turn around and post it in the forums—I don’t want to come across like I have an ulterior motive to drive traffic towards my blog. So I don’t know.

  2. I find this plan of pushing to censor people’s hard work on the wiki because “it’s unprofessional” extremely distasteful. You two should be ashamed of yourselves.

    1. I find this plan of pushing to censor people’s hard work on the wiki because “it’s unprofessional” extremely distasteful.

      Could you please elaborate on why? I do not feel like I have been “pushing to censor people’s hard work,” but I undertsand how it can sound that way. Instead I feel like all I’ve done is point out something I believe is an issue and asked the LÖVE community to consider and discuss it; which they have to great effect.

      You two should be ashamed of yourselves.

      Nah, we shouldn’t. I’m not ashamed of anything I’ve said here or on the LÖVE forums, and see no reason to be. Nor have I seen kclanc say anything shameful.

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