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05 January 2009 @ 12:13 am
Usage question  
When and how did the exclamation point become a sort of hyphen to connect a noun and its adjective? I see it mostly, but not exclusively, in fanfic comments, in constructions like "vamp!Wesley" and "happy!Caz".
Beckybeckyzoole on January 5th, 2009 05:29 am (UTC)
It's been around for a while. I first encountered it in programming in Visual Basic, where the exclamation point is called a "bang" and connects an object with a component of the object. (For example, a field called "city" in a table called "Customer_Address"; or an attribute like text-color of a block of text.)
pabsungenis on January 5th, 2009 05:34 am (UTC)
I think it's from an old internet convention, the "bang path." In UUCP, the protocol that used to be common for delivering E-Mail, a path was mapped as mail moved from box to box, and server to server, until it reached its destination.

For example, the bang path for me to send a message to myself at home from my old computer at the movie theater with UUCP might have been "office!sungenis!cooledit!pab" -- from the "office" machine to the home "sungenis" server, to the "cooledit" machine, to the user, pab.

User pab on machine cooledit would be shown as "cooledit!pab" so that might be one way of describing me.

That's what it looks like to me, and how I understood it. I could be wrong!Pab.
Shadow/Brookekengr on January 5th, 2009 06:56 am (UTC)
Ah yes, another oldtimer who remembers bang paths.
pabsungenis on January 5th, 2009 12:50 pm (UTC)
Real oldtimers appreciate the significance of mail routing to places like ->EXECNET and 1:266/73.1
Shadow/Brookekengr on January 5th, 2009 09:19 pm (UTC)
Since I was 1:105/56 until a year or so back... :-)

And my first email address was ..!tektronix!reed!percival![username withheld to protect the guilty]
Miche: academic catmicheinnz on January 8th, 2009 07:16 pm (UTC)
I dunno. I think most of the kids who use the Vamp!Wesley construction wouldn't know that an exclamation mark is called a bang, let alone what a bang path is.
starcat_jewelstarcat_jewel on January 5th, 2009 05:57 am (UTC)
Hey, that's cool! I was familiar with the usage (and have used it myself, frex to differentiate between book!Brennan and TV!Brennan when talking about Bones), but I had no idea where it came from; it was already well-established in the fanfic community when I first encountered it.

*is happy about learning something new*
une idee fixeideealisme on January 5th, 2009 09:48 am (UTC)
VB normally uses a dot, though in Access forms it's a !

It definitely has a geek origin, anyway.
Beckybeckyzoole on January 5th, 2009 06:08 pm (UTC)
You got me -- I've used VB almost exclusively in Access. (A little tweaking of Excel macros, too, but never noticed the absence of the bang there.)
Stormy Weatherororo on January 6th, 2009 12:52 am (UTC)
I've managed to miss this trend.
(Deleted comment)
Janet Miles, CAP-OMjanetmiles on January 6th, 2009 04:24 pm (UTC)
I very much like != as a synonym for "<>" or "≠". Much easier to type in HTML (or pseudo-HTML).
Miche: battle sporksmicheinnz on January 8th, 2009 07:15 pm (UTC)
I don't know, but it bugs the ever-living hell out of me.