back to article Drum roll, please .... Results are in for the collective noun for security vulns

We've closed the poll, and the results for our attempts to weed out candidates for a collective noun for security vulnerabilities are in. To recap: the recent rash of Android vulnerabilities has made it clear that a new collective noun for such flaws, and possibly a separate one for security bugs in general, was required. We …

  1. elDog Silver badge

    Awshit? (etc.)

    The first exclamation when you realize that your baby has been owned by someone else.

    1. SuccessCase

      Re: Awshit? (etc.)

      Isn't this just evidence that crowdsourcing doesn't always produce good results?

      Still what do we expect. When Greenpeace tried to crowdsource the name for a whale, the Internet piled in and made "Mr Smartypants" the favourite :) Strangely, if I remember rightly, the "name a whale" competition was quietly removed about 2 days before the results were due to be announced.

      1. Mephistro Silver badge
        Devil

        Re: Awshit? (etc.)(@ SuccessCase)

        Like those young parents who asked 'the Net' for a name for their newborn daughter. Google "Ctulhu All-Sparks" for more details. XD

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    we're offering all seven of those that did well in the poll ...

    What's the collective noun for collective nouns?

    1. Irony Deficient

      Re: we’re offering all seven of those that did well in the poll …

      ElRegUser007, perhaps a veneration of collective nouns ?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Headmaster

        Re: we’re offering all seven of those that did well in the poll …

        A cohort of collective nouns is catchier.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: we’re offering all seven of those that did well in the poll …

          An agglomeration of collective nouns.

    2. Mark 85 Silver badge

      Re: we're offering all seven of those that did well in the poll ...

      Like geese, they're noisy (the cry of the pwned) and crap on things... thus: gaggle.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: we're offering all seven of those that did well in the poll ...

      "What's the collective noun for collective nouns?"

      A "recursion" or an "overload"

    4. T. F. M. Reader Silver badge

      Re: we're offering all seven of those that did well in the poll ...

      @ElRegUser007: "What's the collective noun for collective nouns?"

      A homology or autology? I have a mild stylistic preference to the first one.

      See Grelling-Nelson paradox for the inspiration.

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: we're offering all seven of those that did well in the poll ...

      "What's the collective noun for collective nouns?"

      A "nesting".

    6. Disko
      Coat

      it's called...

      A "collective" of nouns.

    7. hatti

      Re: we're offering all seven of those that did well in the poll ...

      A noungaggle

    8. Fibbles
      Trollface

      Re: we're offering all seven of those that did well in the poll ...

      A verbosity.

      Just to be confusing.

    9. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

      Re: we're offering all seven of those that did well in the poll ...

      What's the collective noun for collective nouns?

      A "foolishness" of collective nouns.

      The whole thing is an idle Victorian parlor game, with no justification in etymology or common usage.

  3. Eddy Ito Silver badge
    Facepalm

    And here I was thinking that from the subhead the collective noun was going to be 'fix'. Intentional I suppose and I should have known as I didn't remember it from the poll.

  4. SW10

    Irrelevant

    viz. Roger of that ilk is the only person who can get away with using the term 'hatstand.'

  5. TechnicalBen Silver badge
    Coat

    Most fitting...

    Why? Because we can put a hat on it to put the bugs to rest (or is that nits?).

    Thus a "hatstand" of bugs.

    1. Khaptain Silver badge

      Re: Most fitting...

      I must be having a slow morning, I did not see the original article and must admit to having no clue as to why "hatstand" was chosen, am I missing something completely obvious ?

      If there was a "Clueless" icon I would be using it for myself.

  6. Cirdan
    Coat

    My favorite collective noun is...

    Garbage truck.

    I'll get my own coat, thanks...

  7. Electron Shepherd

    I know some poeple who won't be too happy...

    Those who run this global financial IT consultancy

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I know some people who won't be too happy...

      I know some poeple who won't be too happy...

      Those who run this global financial IT consultancy

      Nah, they use the word "cyber", which immediately classifies them as irrelevant plonkers that deserve to be ignored with the rest of them. Cyber was IMHO old 10 years ago.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: I know some people who won't be too happy...

        Too much ShadowRun, when I see cyber I think personal augmentation.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I know some poeple who won't be too happy...

      It looks to me as if they may have put their "cybersecurity" stuff on the front page as a result of the El Reg article. Google ranking engine etc.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Wait, more than one collective noun?

    So what is the collective noun for collective nouns?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Wait, more than one collective noun?

      "So what is the collective noun for collective nouns?"

      A "recursion".

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Wait, more than one collective noun?

        Thankyou. I will use that.

    2. gerdesj

      Re: Wait, more than one collective noun?

      "So what is the collective noun for collective nouns?"

      A set

      1. DavCrav Silver badge

        Re: Wait, more than one collective noun?

        ""So what is the collective noun for collective nouns?"

        A set"

        Absolutely not. It is a proper class. A set cannot be a member of itself.

        1. John H Woods

          Re: Wait, more than one collective noun?

          "A set cannot be a member of itself" -- DavCrav

          (Apologies to Bertrand Russell and the very large set [or class] of people whose maths is better than mine if I've got this wrong but I think that ...)

          ... this is equivalent to saying that "the set of all sets that don't contain themselves" is the same as "the set of all sets" But clearly, because the set of all sets does contain itself, your statement is self contradictory.

          In practice I seem to recall it is undecidable - you either say you are working within a system where sets can contain themselves (ZFC) where the ZF refers to Zermelo and Fraenkel and the C stands for 'Choice' (as in the Axiom of), or you say that you aren't.

          Bonus AofC joke:

          Q) What's yellow and equivalent to the Axiom of Choice?

          A) Zorn's lemon.

          1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

            Re: Wait, more than one collective noun?

            Yes, as far as I know (which admittedly isn't very far), DavCrav's claim is incorrect under any version of ZF. ZF doesn't formalize the notion of classes. Wikipedia says "In some extensions of ZFC, objects like R [Russel's set-of-all-sets-that-contain-themselves] are called proper classes". But that usage isn't universal.

            I don't think the AoC is required under ZF for sets to contain themselves in general (that is, sets can contain themselves under ZF and ZFC), but I may well be wrong about that.

            1. DavCrav Silver badge

              Re: Wait, more than one collective noun?

              "Yes, as far as I know (which admittedly isn't very far), DavCrav's claim is incorrect under any version of ZF. ZF doesn't formalize the notion of classes. Wikipedia says "In some extensions of ZFC, objects like R [Russel's set-of-all-sets-that-contain-themselves] are called proper classes". But that usage isn't universal.

              I don't think the AoC is required under ZF for sets to contain themselves in general (that is, sets can contain themselves under ZF and ZFC), but I may well be wrong about that."

              Yes, you are wrong. There is no model of ZF in which there is a set consisting of all sets, because it wouldn't satisfy the axiom of separation. Therefore it cannot exist in any (consistent) extension of ZF, such as ZFC, ZF+CH, and anything else. Under intensional dependent type theory one can do better, but that's still under development.

              So the object containing all sets, or the object containing all ordinal numbers, etc. can never be a set. It is called a proper class in general mathematical parlance, but it is not constructible in first-order logic. But then, lots of things aren't constructible there, that's why we don't always use it. It's nice to have Cat, for example.

              (Source: me, a professional pure mathematician.)

          2. DavCrav Silver badge

            Re: Wait, more than one collective noun?

            "In practice I seem to recall it is undecidable - you either say you are working within a system where sets can contain themselves (ZFC) where the ZF refers to Zermelo and Fraenkel and the C stands for 'Choice' (as in the Axiom of), or you say that you aren't."

            I just want to say this again, in case people read this and think it is true.

            A set can never contain itself under any extension of ZF.

            This is Russel's paradox, and led to the development of ZF, which set out what can and can not be a set, specifically to forbid something like this from becoming a set. If you want to work with non-well founded sets, which in computer science you often do, you have to work inside a different axiomatic system, and be very careful, as traps abound. But then traps abound in normal ZFC, such as Banach--Tarski, the space-filling curve, and not being able to swap integral and summation signs.

  9. gerdesj
    Megaphone

    Pwnie

    I think a good collective noun has already fallen out:

    A pwnie of vulns.

    It riffs rather nicely with "pony" (£25) and pwn. It fits beautifully, mixing grubby lucre with l33t sp33k.

    So what if it was NIH?

    1. VinceH Silver badge

      Re: Pwnie

      As I was reading the article, I thought a word just 'fell out' and was eminently suitable - but not pwnie. I was thinking "shame" as a result of this quote from the piece:

      "there's no collective noun for vulnerabilities, for shame"

      Given that most vulnerabilities are a result of what should be facepalm moments for the people who let it slip in, a shame of vulnerabilities works for me.

      Hmmm... saying that, a facepalm of vulnerabilities... :)

  10. Sgt_Oddball Silver badge
    Coat

    From the hall(ways) of power

    I can sort of see why a hat stand considering the constant talk of black/white/grey (seriously, there are other games with hats besides spy v. spy) hats. And well they'd need a hat stand wouldn't they since thats where they all come together.

    (hat)Stands to reason...

    Mines the one with the top hat and cane...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: From the hall(ways) of power

      Your explanation is the closest thing I've seen that makes any kind of sense for "hatstand" relating to this. I previously just thought "hatstand" was a stupid suggestion. :/

  11. Da Weezil

    I cant believe that there wasnt a "Flash" option.

    That really seems to fit

    1. chivo243 Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Like Flashhole?

  12. Velv Silver badge
    Trollface

    Ironic that so many votes were for "Windows" when the vast majority of recent vulnerabilities relate to open source software and operating systems (it even mentions in the article that the Android crop was the inspiration)

  13. Robert Helpmann?? Silver badge
    Childcatcher

    Goosed geese

    Not gaggle, then, because that's for geese on the ground. "Flock" is the term for a group of geese in flight, providing fertilizer to those below.

    1. Sarah Balfour
      FAIL

      Re: Goosed geese

      Nope, it's SKEIN. Flock is just a general collective noun for birds of any species (which does make one wonder why sheep come in flocks…).

      1. Robert Helpmann?? Silver badge
        Pint

        Re: Goosed geese

        See what happens when I rely on memory alone? I read An Exaltation of Larks a while back, and it stuck that there is more than one term for geese depending on whether or not they are in flight. I had another look after your post, Sarah Balfour, and it turns out that it is more complicated than just one or the other:

        "...when in flight, they are called a skein, a team, or a wedge; when flying close together, they are called a plump" - Wikipedia

        Have one on me for the correction. As to your point about sheep, I dunno. Why is a shepherd called a shepherd and not a flocker?

        1. Swarthy Silver badge

          Re: Goosed geese

          "Why is a shepherd called a shepherd and not a flocker?"
          Because sheep herder morphed into shepherd.. Any guesses on what a sheep flocker would morph into? Rare insight on those raising sheep to chose herder, rather than flocker.

  14. jake Silver badge

    The actual collective noun is "Malware".

    Short for "Malevolent [hard|soft|firm]ware"

    Covers pretty much everything, and has done for decades.

    1. JonP

      Re: The actual collective noun is "Malware".

      Yeah, but this is a collective noun for security vulnerabilities; malware is something that might use or cause a vulnerability, but wouldn't be the vulnerability. It's entirely possible for the malware itself to contain vulnerabilities... then it would all gets a bit recursive.

      1. jake Silver badge

        @ JonP (was: Re: The actual collective noun is "Malware".)

        "malware is something that might use or cause a vulnerability"

        The very vulnerabilities are malware in the world of ones and zeros.

        Multi-national corporations[0] releasing untested code on the GreatUnwashed are the cause of this blight. In my opinion, of course.

        [0] Cupertino, Redmond, wherever google et alia claims to live, etc.

  15. RasmusVuori

    IMHO the ideal anthromorphic noun for a security bug is a TICK. They are real life bugs; parasites and vectors for disease that can infect their host animal.

    Ticks are also easy to pronounce, simple enough to remember and 'a tick attack' rhymes quite nice, doesn't it?

  16. Bryn Evans
    FAIL

    BottleCap

    I offer you a comment on your failure to man up and reach a simple single noun.

    This was a BottleCap - Bottled making a decision and as soon as the cap is lifted

    all those alternative options will come fizzing out again to restart the arguments.

  17. Hull

    I like a flash of vulns

    A shingles of them would also be nice.

  18. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

    Shocker: Nonsense criteria allow nonsensical results

    English, of course, allows for more than one collective noun for a group of things.

    English has no say in the matter. Human beings use natural languages in any manner they like. And English lacks even the weak authority of a generally-recognized arbiter of use (contrast French and the Académie française - which itself has only the power that Francophone users grant it).

    For example, the collective noun for dragons is "flight" but "weyr" or "wing" are also permissible.

    The "collective noun for dragons" is whatever the writer or speaker feels like using. To claim that one particular noun "is" the collective for something, or that others are "permissible", is rank foolishness.

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