A Venery of Terms—Part II—Collective Nouns for Linguists—X. Altaysh & Uvlarr Ksss SpecGram Vol CLXXVI, No 3 Contents Cryptolinguistic Puzzle Γ—Mary Shapiro

The sg-index
Separating the Wheat from the Chaff

Prepared by the SpecGram Data Science Interns

As requested by Herr Verbrechen Bestrafung, Speculative Grammarian Lord Commandant of Human Resources, Executive Baron of Psychological Manipulation, Exalted Overlord of Salary Suppression, and Sole Wielder of the Wand of Title Bestowment, we, the lowly and ever-humble SpecGram Data Science Interns have created, and hereby proffer to His Excellency, an unbiased and impartial metric by which to rate and rank the content-creation performance of in-house, on-cover staff for the purpose of their decennial performance reviews.

To this end, we have created the sg-index:

sg-index(x) =
 | iq(x) | 
maxi,j min(∇ · v(ai,rj)φ,  i  )
% compππ(x,


iq(x): the IQ of author x in standard deviations about the mean
h(x): the height of author x in standard deviations about the mean
ai: the ith article from the set of all articles {a}
rj: the jth reader from the set of all readers {r}
v(a, r): the view-count vector field over articles {a} and readers {r}
compn(x, w): how well author x comprehends word w on a scale from 0 to n
∲∪∂g(x): a special “ranking aesthetics” factor* for author x

The rankings are provided below.**

(51) Trey Jones
Holy mackerel! ‘Blah, blah, math this. Blah, blah, math that. Computer computer computer.’ Is this guy even a linguist? We need a bouncer to keep out the riffraff.
And somebody buy this guy another ⅓ of an ellipsis!

(36) Keith Slater
Slater’s output seems to be daily, with about as much quality as you’d expect from most people’s regular excretions.

(33) Tim Pulju
Has anyone heard of this guy?
Does he even work here?
I heard he retired about sixty years ago.

(33) Bill Spruiell
Imagine that the word πολύλογος had a baby with an etymological dictionary of Indo-European languages, and that baby grew up to be the most verbose superhero who ever lived. This guy would be his role model.
What does that even mean?
Bingo! “What does that even mean?” is exactly what I ask myself every time I read his work.

(33) David J. Peterson
How is this guy so high up the list? Didn’t he go off to do some sort of conlanging reality show or something?

(29) Sheri Wells-Jensen
We should add a large, negatively signed, ukulele-based weighting factor.
But, but... she plays the didgeridoo, too!
Right, we need a large, negatively signed, didgeridoo-based weighting factor as well.

(27) Madalena Cruz-Ferreira
She has an ‘author’ metric index to her name?
Hah! She mostly lives off copy-and-paste from her students’ test papers.

(26) Ken Miner
All Hail Metalleus!
All Hail Metalleus!
All Hail Metalleus!
All Hail Metalleus!

(25) Daniela Müller
Daniela Müller aka Müller, Daniela, the “Chiastic Editor & Editorial Chiasturge”.
Not bad for someone who tried to build a career off a little-known rhetorical device.

(24) Jouni Maho
Heh, heh. His cartoons are funny.
If you like that sort of thing, it’s the sort of thing you’d like.

(23) Mikael Thompson
That guy must never have ridden in a car since his jokes are so damn pedestrian.
He’s actually a real bon vivant in his life outside SpecGram. He flirts with every woman he meets! Unfortunately, he never makes it out of moderation.

(22) Jonathan Downie
He writes like no one is reading.
His work will outlive him, so long as our servers don’t crash.
It is unsurprising to see him on this list, given the competition.
Its meaning is ambiguous.

(19) Pete Bleackley
I’m surprised at how high this guy ranked.
Yeah, but we should thank him for his help in the design of the algorithm.

(18) Tel Monks
I think he invented psilofotis­mology.         
That would be the highlight of his linguistics career, yeah.

(18) Bethany Carlson
Man. I wish I could have gone to Linguistic Nerd Camp.
I went to Intern Reëducation Camp and all I got was a lousy t-shirt and a shock collar.
Quit whining, Warren!

(17) Aya Katz
She’s no linguist. Her chimpanzee probably wrote all her articles, and she’s taking credit.
Talk about animal exploitation!
No wonder Jane Goodall doesn’t like her.

(16) Florian Breit
I think he likes tea too much. and he’s one of those people with a lack of original research ideas.
Oh, me, too! I joined as soon as I heard about them.
What the heck are you talking about?
Don’t make me cry, you big fat meanie! LOR-Syndrome is a real condition, you jerk!

(16) Virginia Bouchard
Try as we might, we could find no fault with her salient, timely, cutting-edge humor and snacks.
One deserves recognition for nutritive contributions too, right? Sadly, her supply of rosemary-shortbread and Bass may have led to her low position. Jigging with beer around computers...
Well, perhaps we shouldn’t say why we put in for new equipment.

(14) Joey Whitford
Thou shalt not take the name of the Comptroller General in vain.
Thou shalt not take the name of the Comptroller General in vain.
Thou shalt not take the name of the Comptroller General in vain.
Anyone who speaks against the Editor-in-Chief will be flogged, but anyone who speaks against the Comptroller General will not have their expenses reimbursed, either in this fiscal year or in the fiscal year to come.

(13) Mark Mandel
He tends to be pedantic, harping on fine points of meaning that nobody cares about.
Out of nowhere he’ll bring up the etymology of a word that somebody just used, or correct someone’s spelling or punctuation.
He even carries a marker to correct signs, but hasn’t been caught yet.


* The special “ranking aesthetics” factor was “suggested” by the Editor-in-Chief, who claims it will have “no significant impact” on rankings. Its formulation is abstruse, but it seems to simplify to: sgn((FirstName[0] == ‘T’) - 0.5) * π! + sgn((LastName[0] == ‘J’) - 0.5) * choose(len(LastName), 2)

** Note that sg-index ties were broken in the traditional manner, by consulting tea leaves. Tea leaf ties were broken in the traditional manner, by consulting intern entrails.***

*** Cynthanie and Albertrinette were among those who were sacrificed. Oh, how we will miss them!

A Venery of TermsPart IICollective Nouns for LinguistsX. Altaysh & Uvlarr Ksss
Cryptolinguistic Puzzle ΓMary Shapiro
SpecGram Vol CLXXVI, No 3 Contents