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October 01, 2006


Matt Hamilton

I think "example.com" is a good domain to use for email addresses, although users could easily make the same mistake - assuming that you're asking for an "example.com" email address.


There is an RFC about example domain names, email addresses and so on. I can't recall the number but example.com is a reserved domain name by IANA for this purpose.


Thank you for bringing this very important issue up. There is a large segment of the population for whom the first name/last name distinction doesn't really work. A great many of us prefer to go by our middle names (the H. Albert Smith's). A subtle hint like this lets us know that we can use our middle names without some authority figure (police officer, bank teller, customs official, &c.) totally freaking out because document A says Harold A., while document B says H. Albert.

It has been my experience that when I need to collect someone's full name, including fields for first name, middle name (not simply middle initial), last name, and preferred name (pre-filled with first last), works well, at least when it comes to traditional American names.


It's always a good thing to give an example. For this purpose, one better has to provide a link or a button labeled "see an example"and then one get something more clear, explaining that the user can write his real name or a nickname and his e-mail address is required.
Of course the user can miss the example, but an user can do a lot of unexpected things.

Arbitrary feedback poster

Useless info: This example-name use is how UK soldiers came to be known as "Tommies", the enlistment paperwork in WWI told them to enter their names, "for example Thomas Atkins" (although various sources claim this usage goes back to at least the Napoleonic era).

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