Social distancing

I am reporting back here to show that I’m still around. We are living in times of social distancing – at least that’s the term most media and people use. I read in the German press that the term borrowed from English was wrong, that it should be physical distancing as that makes more sense. My feeling was/is that the term social distancing has entered general use. I’ve now tweeted something about social distancing – here is the tweet I linked to:

social distancing

I had a response criticizing the term. So although I did not care about the dispute beforehand, I did a web search and found the Wikipedia article on Social Distancing and the discussion there after there was a request to change the heading.

I hadn’t realized that the WHO changed the term, not that this alters the fact that the disputed term has become common usage (see WP:COMMONNAME).

Feelings run high. Here is vsync:

Strong oppose and speedy close. This request isn’t even well-formed as it’s merely based on trifling wordplay from some obscure “WHO”, so-called, which has no standing whatsoever to comment on anything related to this crisis, let alone messaging on its seriousness or what is or isn’t effective. Now, for some “reasons” that will doubtless be demanded: The term existed prior to the current pandemic and will exist after. The meaning is perfectly coherent as relating to putting distance in social contact, rather than of other random objects. “Wikipedia isn’t a how-to manual” or whatever, but the article perfectly describes the meaning. The point of an encyclopedia is to expound even obscure terms, not rename them. Why don’t you go spend your time telling people masks don’t work or something? vsync (talk) 01:43, 1 April 2020 (UTC)

1 thought on “Social distancing

  1. I, with an un-natural suspicion of unchallenged medical ‘expert’ evidence, wonder whether social distancing is the whole story, namely there is a hunch that the exponential spread of the virus (virtually) worldwide is down to air-, wind- and/or water-borne factors: cut to a German scientist https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-8182767/Scientist-casts-doubt-coronavirus-spread.html

    Otherwise, the Austro-specific term of Schlamperei comes to mind when the Tyrolean ‘Ibiza of the Alps’ of Ischgl is being blamed for a ski resort hush-up of an outbreak since the 5th February when it had not in fact been detected by tests until about one month later https://www.zdf.de/nachrichten/politik/coronavirus-ischgl-hotspot-100.html

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