Manufacturing guy-at-large.


Added on by Spencer Wright.

A generalized usage for an existing word that I'd like to encourage: Starboard. 

In sailboat racing, there are a few means of determining right of way, and they're taken seriously. The most fun, in my experience, is this one: 

When boats are on opposite tacks, a port-tack boat shall keep clear of a starboard-tack boat. 

This rule applies when two boats are crossing paths, but usually when both boats are on similar tacks - both either heading upwind or downwind. Depending on conditions, they might be approaching each other rapidly. Regardless, the boat who yields right of way will lose ground in the race, so when one boat asserts right of way, it is commonly done with gusto.

"Starboard," in these circumstances, is such an assertion. The speaker - commonly the skipper of the boat claiming right of way - is indicating that he's on a starboard tack, and is requesting that a nearby port-tacked boat yield.  But more importantly, "starboard" is an acknowledgement that we are playing by well-accepted rules, and we agree to act accordingly.

So I'm proposing that we expand the use cases for this term. The first place I can see using it is in cyclist-pedestrian interactions, where right of way is often ceded - or worse yet, wordlessly assumed.  I think a bit of clarity could be injected here, and it would be useful to just acknowledge - aggressively, defensively, or otherwise - that we want to live in a system that has some means of negotiating conflicts.

I also see it in day to day interactions. Starboard means "you wronged me," it means "I'm sorry." It's meant to be something that we agree will make our interactions better. It's "I should have done the dishes." It's "You buy the drinks this time." 

The point is: Acknowledge someone else's perspective. It's the best way to resolve conflict that we've got.