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In the ’80s, she was a video game pioneer. Today, no one can find her (polygon.com)
152 points by rbanffy 12 days ago | hide | past | favorite | 111 comments





Maybe she doesn't want to be found and has a different life now and wants to live that life. Without people on the Internet obsessing.

And maybe she thinks she's been forgotten and erased but would be happy to know her contribution is being recognized?

We'll never know which it is if we don't ask. If she asks to be left alone, people should respect that but they shouldn't assume that.

As an example, I recommend the documentary Searching for Sugar Man.


He was extremely famous in Australia, and that documentary deliberately failed to mention that

He obviously didn't know that though, since he was living pretty rough, not playing, and not seeing any money from that.

Seriously, why is this kind of harassment and stalking acceptable in any way? Why on earth is Polygon encouraging this BS?

Go look at virtually any female video game (staff, developer, etc) on Twitter and you'll immediately see numerous reasons based on the type of audience they get.


> why is this kind of harassment and stalking acceptable in any way

I don't think someone making a documentary about pioneers in any given subject -- in this case, women and female characters in early videogames -- would be engaging in "harassment and stalking" because he's trying to contact said pioneers who might still be alive. Now, if once contacted the subject said she didn't want to appear in the documentary, her wish must be respected. But without contacting her, how can the documentary maker know?


That's odd, because one of my favorite game designers from the 80s was Roberta Williams, of the King's Quest series, who still has a fond group of fans despite being out of the industry more or less for the past couple of decades.

https://www.sierragamers.com/roberta-williams/


Documenting that someone did something pioneering in their field is not harassment and stalking, good lord.

But they put the bar really low. Of course you can try to find that person, and have an interview, but a public search? I mean if Wozniak would have disappeared in the 80s, ok, but a random computer game designer?

So is your argument that this particular person, Ban Tran, is not noteworthy enough and therefore not worth tracking down for a documentary about women in videogames?

What part of the article in particular do you think puts "the bar really low"? I don't see it. It seems respectful and not at all intrusive, well within the subject matter and not including extraneous or irrelevant personal information.


That's not what I meant. I meant tracking down is ok, but not public search. I think it is a privacy invasion, but famous/very noteworthy person have to bear with it (at least that's normally what society agreed about), but normal people at least shd be protected from that.

I meant her involvement in the video industry does not justify such privacy invasion.


By virtue of what she accomplished, she is noteworthy. If she is found and expresses no wish to communicate on the topic, then it would become harassment.

Journalists have a social norm that it's okay to investigate people and publish their details, and as the rest of us come around to seeing that as invasive and rude, they're lagging a bit behind. (See also: The slate star codex guy.)

No, journalists do NOT have that norm. Which is why the NY Times' behavior in the case you refer to was criticized in many journalism circles.

[1] https://www.newyorker.com/culture/annals-of-inquiry/slate-st...

[2] https://reason.com/2020/06/24/slate-star-codex-dox-scott-ale...

[3] https://arcdigital.media/slate-star-codex-and-the-gray-ladys...


The author of the article didn't really publish any details about Ban Tran's life except she worked at this videogame company about 40 years ago and took part in the development of this game Wabbit. Doesn't seem intrusive to me. There's no real personal information, and I'd like to think this documentary maker would ask Ban Tran for permission to publish more details if he ever manages to contact her.

Let's not go for the pitch forks so readily, shall we?


If I ever get unwanted press attention (not likely, they would be _really_ dredging the barrel if anything in my life was deemed interesting enough!) and that "peoples right to know" argument is used as a defence, I'm immediately hiring PIs to investigate the "journalist"'s life in detail and publishing the results. The people have a right to know about the lives of the people defending their right to know about people's lives…

How is the behaviour described in the article stalking or harassment?

If someone want's a public presence they can have one. If there is not an obvious way to contact someone it can be assumed to be on purpose.

But there is an obvious way to contact all the people who are being sent letters - they are in the white pages. What part of sending someone a letter to a publicly-listed address constitutes stalking or harassment?

The white pages should not even exist. You're using an unwanted, non opt-in, forced privacy violation as a reason.

You exist in Experian, does that mean that automatically gives me the right to bother you and tell people online to bother you on socia lmedia?


People without landlines were never listed in the white pages; you opted in by purchasing a phone, and could opt out at the time of purchase and any time thereafter. Perhaps it was a bad default, but avoiding being listed was an accessible option.

Unfortunately, this isn't the case in 2010+, where the WP site purchases tons of info from data brokers to sell. You don't need a landline or to opt in.

That sounds like it might be prohibited by EU and Canadian law.

I do a bunch of stuff in the gaming space, and WP has been one of the bigger causes of pain for streamers. Often separate 2FA-only - to prevent account hijacks - cellphones that are paid monthly and used nowhere else still show up, and the result is attempted murder (via swatting). This happens so frequently it's absurd.

None of this is opt in, all of it is extremely unwanted, and those companies really should not exist.


How are the swatters getting access to the phone number if it's used nowhere else?

Disclaimer: I also work in gaming, and deal with streamer security.


WP's site helpfully tries to show "this person's other phone numbers". My guess is it's acquired via credit institutions when you use that number for 2FA with a bank (since honestly, what the hell, virtually no bank supports U2F/TOTP 2FA and demand phone numbers, ugh)

I don't know how they match it in the backend, often it's wrong (and results in innocent parties being attacked).

I usually recommend completely prepaid lines for this to prevent hijackers from using the good old social engineering trick to hijack their accounts via customer service by providing last 4 of various identifiers. But these still eventually show up after you add the number to enough 'traditional' accounts. One of my friends (female, streamer) has gotten police at her house at 3 am with guns drawn so many times it's ridiculous. At least in many parts of, if not the entire US, trying to swat someone is legitimately trying to do your hardest to murder them.

This honestly should be made illegal, there is no reason for these services to exist, or for public records to be made available at all other than rate limited, in person without the ability to take a copy. Exceptions can be made for elected officials.


That's... Wow, kinda absurd.

I checked and it appears they lack Canadian data; and so perhaps I was correct in presuming that such egregious breaching of personal privacy would be troublesome up here. Or maybe WP just doesn't have the data.

FWIW, there are cheap providers of SMS over SIP, now. I have a DID through voip.ms that can send and receive SMS, and it's cheap.


Yes, these are blocked at most services already. Definitely blocked by banks. Need short code ability to be used too.

Opting out usually involved having to pay a fee.

This is an excellent argument if you are trying to deny that women were in involved in video games in any way.

Trying to get as many people as possible and asking on social media to help you "find" someone these days is practically a death sentence, regardless of gender. Especially in gaming. I legitimately don't understand how that kind of ask is not harassment. You know the type of people that will surface when you put that ask out there.

I understand the part where they would like to know a bit more about it, but sending pages and pages of physical letters, at least to me, I find this creepy and weird/obsessive

The people that are accusing me of trying to remove women or some 'damsel in distress' thing don't seem to understand that in the gaming space, people calling in threats or attempting to kill you in person because you made a disliked game balance change is real, applies to males, and is a baseline behaviour, or that females in gaming are subject to significantly worse harassment by orders of magnitude; look at the cesspool that is/was pokimanehot.


Your argument makes sense, except this is somebody who published a game that almost nobody knows about. You're assuming the worst case scenario (that finding this person leads to huge amounts of harassment), when the likelihood of that seems slim to none.

why are you assuming harassment and pushing a damsel in distress narrative?

Right? You’d think that not having any kind of internet presence and making no discernible effort to take credit for the work would be enough of a hint. It’s hard to be that low profile unintentionally.

What does it take to be left alone? What does a person have to say/do for it to be taken as anything but an invitation to search for them?


> It’s hard to be that low profile unintentionally.

On the contrary, it'd be hard not to have an extremely low profile with such a common name.

Add in the fact that it's been 40 years, and nobody has cared one single bit for the first 35 of those years.

Add in the fact that she probably didn't get any author credit for the game, so probably didn't even realize people knew her name.

Remember that the internet didn't exist in the eighties. I wrote a few video games in the 80s, and this is probably the first acknowledgement on the internet ever that the Bryan Larsen that wrote games for T&D software is this Bryan Larsen. And I'm much easier to find than most, since I'm the type of guy who uses my real name on forums like this.

I highly doubt anybody is going to care about my games, and I'm sure she never thought anybody would ever care either. She was wrong, but I'm sure I'm not.


Take credit for what? A 40 year old game that almost no one remembers, and even fewer bought? I don’t run around arguing for credit for scratching “COWS” with a compass on the inside of my high school locker 30 years ago.

I one time found the author of the book that got me interesting in programming as a kid back in the 80s, and after sending her a message on FB she was happy to find someone remembered it, let alone kept the book on their shelf as a memento.


Since there's a clear lead to this search, sending a message to the lead would probably accomplish that.

One of my favorite games, Below the Root, has not one but two named playable female characters: Genaa and Pomma. It's from 1984, so only 2 years after the game in this article. I played it on a Tandy 1000.

It was a trailblazer in all kinds of ways: a side-"scrolling" adventure type game where you have to explore, talk to people, gather inventory, raise your skills, and solve puzzles. You can play as either of two rival factions. As you play you can really feel the depth of world-building and backstory. There is no set order to do the various things required to win. You can play any of five characters, who have different levels of strength and "spirit skill". And it did it all with four colors and a single joystick button. It is at least as innovative as King's Quest (also 1984), maybe more.

It has an intro sequence that explains the goal, but it's quite terse, so you might want to read the Wikipedia page. The game was commissioned by a fantasy author and intended to be a sequel to one of her books.

You can run it on dosbox. I highly recommend trying it out!


I love this game! If you haven't read the trilogy that inspired the game, I recommend it. I only got to reading it a few years ago, but was impressed by how much of the book world and the game world naturally intersected. I assumed that the shuba (a garment that allows you to glide between trees) was an offhand item in the books that became a central game mechanic out of necessity, but it turns out that it's a major part of the books too!

Anyway, yes, it's a great game. The C64 version is better than the DOS version (better graphics, polyphonic sound), but a little harder to get hold of. Worth playing on any platform as a piece of adventure game history (and much better than the original King's Quest in my opinion).


This is a strong memory. Very sophisticated, compared to other games of the time.

I have a visceral memory of a jump that I Just Couldn't GET and the joy of finally hitting it. Looks like you can play online here: https://classicreload.com/below-the-root.html

If she wants to be found, she'll let us know. Lets not unleash a bunch of obsessive weirdos on her, she's probably got good reasons to not be about in "public"

I don't think there's much reason to think she's aware anyone is looking for her, or that she's particularly trying to "hide". It sounds like she just dropped out of the industry 30+ years ago and none of her former colleges kept in touch.

Thats not really your/our call to make though is it?

Even if shes not aware, the only way to find out is to find her and hold the magnifying glass of internet dickery over her.

And all for what? because someone remembered her and thought "I wonder what shes doing, lets get obsessed, I bet its a conspiracy"

its just not worth the heartache.


To get to the point in the article where it introduces the subject, scroll about half-way down or search for “Why look for Ban Tran in the first place?”

Yeah, this article is badly written. It doesn't even explicitly says that Ban Tran worked on Wabbit, unless I missed it.

And that's the gist of it: someone making a documentary on female video game protagonists went looking for a developer of Wabbit, which can be considered (one of) the first of that category.


I'm so sick of people making Blog posts/articles just for the sake of it or with some alternate motive like promoting something they're working on or trying to sell.

almost everything I read is of similar nature, it's getting quite exhaustive


> just for the sake of it or with some alternate motive

What other possibilities are there?


I feel like most of these articles want you to remain on the same page while you are scrolling so that they can display more ads to you.

This should be safe to post. There was a Ban Thi Tran who died in Dallas on Aug 4 1984. No other info given.

Apollo was in Richardson, just N of Dallas.


There's not a whole lot of marriages with the Tran last name between '82 and '90, in Texas; it could be that "Ban" was a pseudonym and her given name was something else.

IE, my grandmother received, and signed, checks as Doris and yet her given name was something else entirely.


Is everyone forgetting the part where “Ban Tran” is a very common name?

I keep thinking about when my wife searches for herself, she found a over a hundred people with her name in Santa Clara county alone.


A quick sidebar: Our personal info is out there, now.

The only debate left is who has access to this data - everyone or everyone but us. My preference is that access isn't limited to the same powerful (Gov/LEO/Corp) jackwads that leverage us and ruin lives for their own agendas.

For any evidenceless assumption that calamity happens when basic public records (what was called a directory for 100 years) become easily available to the public - FL records have public for a long while. https://flvoters.com/ It's been hugely helpful and the sky is right where we left it.


[flagged]


I don’t think that reposting a thirty year old public death notice really counts as a privacy invasion.

I’m not sure where the line is, but I don’t think that’s it.


My point is why the need to hunt someone down? And yes, that is how I view it, a hunt. That isn't a comfortable feeling. I get that the info is harmless but the OP just couldn't help themselves but join in what I consider is a gross invasion of someones life, regardless of the persons state of living. And many here share the same opinion.

If I were on the receiving end of such a manhunt, discovering that numerous random strangers on the internet crowd hunted me, I would be sick to my stomach.


Don't obituaries make that info public?

Post-mortem privacy is such nonsense. The privacy rights of the surviving members of the family are relevant, as well as anyone involved with the dead but dead people are not people. The idea that they have rights is ridiculous.

Can't see what you're replying to but how we treat dead people is important because it influences our behavior knowing how we will be treated once we die. What if all our online history known to Google/Facebook/ad networks/etc. is suddenly dumped on our Facebook page and turned public so the day we die, everyone who knew us can see what naughty things we searched for in our entire life? People will alter their behavior if such non-privacy was expected because people do care about how they will be perceived after they die.

Once you're so far back in history that nobody knew you except from your post-death public record, then maybe it's not the same?


Accounts are free at FamilySearch. Anyone can look up all the dead folks they want.

...and there's not much more in that story than there is in the headline.

except a brief history of female characters in video games, and screenshots of a game I'd never heard of and detailed descriptions of what made it interesting. Also commentary on the difficulty of doing video game history. And a full focus on women game designers.

I found it to be a pretty interesting article. I wasn't aware of either the documentary project itself or of the game.

Interesting article, and I always find the history of early computer games fascinating (also see: Halcyon Days, freely available online: https://dadgum.com/halcyon/)

However, what strikes me the most of this article is actually in the comments section...

... people don't know who Roberta Williams is, or what Sierra Online was!? In a videogame website?

Wow. How quick we videogame fans are to forget our own history. This reminds me of the multiple times I've seen people here on HN ask who Carmack was and why it mattered what he had to say about tech.


Time marches on. There's a similar phenomenon in the "top n games of all time" articles - its always what matters to the generation writing it.

Your John Carmack example betrays our age. His most important contributions to gaming (at least from a history perspective) was arguably early 90s Shareware/Apogee/Id era almost 30 years ago now, I don't expect my kids to know who he is. Heck, why would a young gamer even know what "shareware" was? The idea of sharing and distribution at large scale via end users cloning physical media (floppies) is pretty much absurd in 2020s and of little use to know, despite being hugely important to Carmack's early successes.

People just want to play fun games and that's fine. We shouldn't discourage it on basis you "don't appreciate the history properly" or be ashamed of this.


I get your points, however:

> Your John Carmack example betrays our age. His most important contributions to gaming (at least from a history perspective) was early 90s Shareware/Apogee/Id era almost 30 years ago now, I don't expect my kids to know who he is.

First, Carmack is still relevant today. He still writes about tech, and he still takes part in groundbreaking tech developments. Here is for example a headline from 2019: https://www.engadget.com/2019-11-13-john-carmack-agi.html

It's relevant because he is a proven achiever, not just a "visionary" like we're used to in this industry. I'm similarly starting to read about people in tech/software who don't know who Stallman is! And I suppose eventually this will happen to Torvalds as well.

Second, are readers of HN "kids"? I used Carmack as an example of someone who readers here on HN occasionally don't know.

> People just want to play fun games and that's fine. We shouldn't discourage it on basis you "don't appreciate the history properly" or be ashamed of this.

That's ok. However, this happened in the comments section of a website which also has commentary and articles beyond "just playing games", and specifically in an article about videogame history. And Roberta Williams was a huge influence. I suppose in 30 years people will similarly ask, "Nintendo what?". It's sad, though I suppose inevitable.

---

edit: giobox, I don't know why you got downvoted, yours was a polite response. I upvoted your comment because I value the conversation.


John Carmack's contribution to the field of video games was revolutionary. He was the pioneer who brought smooth side-scrolling to PC gaming (e.g. Commander Keen) as well as 3D graphics to video games (e.g. Wolfenstein 3D, Doom).

Seeing as how FPS games are one of the biggest (if not the biggest) genre of video gaming out there, Carmack has had an immeasurably massive impact on the industry.

It's fine if people want to just play games, but don't belittle the titan whose shoulder countless subsequent developers have stood atop.


> ... people don't know who Roberta Williams is, or what Sierra Online was!? In a videogame website?

A lot of these people are interested in playing games, not on history. Sadly, lots of people seem to be unbothered by being ignorant of the history of their own favorite pastimes.


Why is that sad? Can't I just mow down some pedestrians in GTA without a guilt trip?

Danielle Bunten Berry

MULE, Seven Cities of Gold, Heart of Africa > the entire sierra catalog


This isn't a contest. Yes, I know who Dani Bunten (RIP) was, and it was a huge deal. I suspect that, similarly, these people who don't know Roberta Williams don't know about Dani either.

> MULE, Seven Cities of Gold, Heart of Africa > the entire sierra catalog

Those are awesome, groundbreaking games, and the technical limitations they had to work around are very interesting. However, the entire Sierra catalog, and in particular the first two Space Quest games (text interfaces!) hold a special place in my heart. I learned English with them. So I must respectfully disagree :)


Was she part of the inspiration behind _Halt and Catch Fire_'s Cameron ?

Reminds me of that time in the 90's when Matthew Smith of the Manic Miner/Jet Set Willy fame went "missing". Unfortunately his life story post JSW wasn't a happy one as he spent most years in the throes of drug addiction.

Many Vietnamese people move back to Vietnam when they get old, because the savings that'll have you struggling to get by in the US might well afford you a luxurious retirement in a beach village in VN.

Also in the 80s, many Vietnamese people had strong feelings about the US involvement in the Vietnam war ;) and moved as the result.

So I guess the best way to search would be to ask in /r/Vietnam


The atariage.com forums might be the place to go if the author hasn't tried that already. There's a number of old-timers who occasionally pop in on the forums, as well as a bunch of people who just seem to know a lot in general about the history of Atari games and the companies who made them.

Edit: Nevermind, as I see one of the links in the article is actually to a forum post there!


So like a lot of 70s and 80s developers then. Especially in the UK, there were so many bedroom coders that churned out games, defining so many gaming tropes and technologies that we use today and went completely uncredited.

There's some great sites, podcasts and youtube channels aiming to preserve their stories, but some people just aren't interested. To some it was just a job they did 40 years ago

Take for example RMC interviewing Gale Wellington the other day on the development of the Commodore CDTV, a name that probably next to no-one in the scene knew https://youtu.be/BJMADu4eo3o


As per article comments, Wabbit is playable online here:

http://playoldgames.org/wabbit-a26


When the emphasis is on her gender, it's hard to tell if she's actually significant for her work - Wabbit which itself is significant mainly for having a female character? Or just for having an unusual body type. If the latter, then does it really matter? The world is full of engineers and entrepreneurs who nobody knows about and don't get their credits written on the things they build.

Reminds me of this story (not gaming but music related):

https://pitchfork.com/thepitch/how-a-long-lost-indian-disco-...



I gotta say, women losing their names when they get married is a pretty backwards practice. My wife is not my sister, nor my property, why should she take my name and lose her identity?

Well, given that it is entirely optional and plenty of women choose one and plenty of women choose the other, I don't think it's something we need to call "backwards", if a woman chooses to do it (as plenty of women still do).

clearly the women choosing to do this are simply not 'woke' enough, and OP knows better, obviously

no one has to do that. whether you want to share a last name is a discussion for you and your wife. if you decide to, it can be hers, yours, a combination, or even a made up name that you both like.

> why should she take my name and lose her identity?

You should probably ask her. No one is forced to change their name, but some do.


I told my wife she did not have to change her name, but she chose to because she wanted to feel part of a family, and enjoyed a new identity.

> I gotta say, women losing their names when they get married is a pretty backwards practice.

The traditional practice as I learned it doesn't involve this. Instead, where boys are given three names at birth, girls are given two in the expectation that they will one day marry. Then, when Susan Floyd marries John Robert Sinclair, she becomes Susan Floyd Sinclair.

Compare Mary Ann Maxwell marrying William Henry Gates to become Mary Maxwell Gates.


It's not great, but the alternatives aren't much better. Hyphenated last names don't scale and are awkward to begin with. Having the man take her last name has all of the same problems. Coming up with a completely new family name is more fair but also more work. Marrying only people with the same family name is too incestual.

What's wrong with the wife not changing her last name? Why does there have to be change?

Islam does it, and there are no issues at all.


There are several issues in real life if you live in a society where it is the norm.

The very least when you have kids and their teachers or any official you encounter assume that the parents have the same name as the kids. (This can't be your kid!)

We know a couple where she had hyphenated surnames. Almost always confused the officials, colleagues and friends when they lived in Switzerland.

We decided against my wife not changing her name, since it was not worth the troubles.


Oh, yes, I understand now.

The original post was talking about changing surnames in general so I thought that it was criticising the norm, and my reply was in similar fashion - "why does the norm exist?"

Should have clarified, sorry. It [not changing names] really wouldn't work out well if it wasn't the norm in place as you say, there are plenty of issues that could happen.


Likewise, women in China typically / often do not take their husband's name.

Do they ever? There is a female title that applies to the husband's name rather than the wife's name -- when 宋美齡 marries 蔣介石, she can be referred to as 蔣夫人, but not 宋夫人 -- but that's a fact about the usage of the title, not the woman's name.

I can't claim to be authoritative on cultural practices in China, so I hedged my language so I wasn't overreaching :) And there's usually some exception to every rule...

That's really interesting! Can you explain it a little more? I can't read Chinese, so it's a bit opaque what's going on...


I can't claim to be authoritative either, but it's what I read. I feel fairly safe in claiming that there is no tradition of women changing their names on marriage, though.

For the example, I used the names of two historical people who did historically marry; I picked them based on Soong Mei-ling being mentioned in https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chinese_titles#Women , under the title I wanted to talk about.

For Chinese address in general, the example posits a woman named 宋美龄 ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soong_Mei-ling ), whose family name is 宋 and whose personal name is 美龄, marrying a man named 蒋介石 ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chiang_Kai-shek ), whose family name is 蒋 and whose personal name is 介石.

Chinese titles appear after the noun being titled, not before. So the ordinary address for 宋美龄 (before or after she marries[1]) is 宋小姐 ("Ms. Song"), where 小姐 is the courtesy title for women, and the ordinary address for 蒋介石 is 蒋先生 ("Mr. Jiang"), with 先生 being the courtesy title for men.

The 夫人 ("Lady") title is unusual; it is applied to the name of the woman's husband, not to the name of the woman herself. (Compare an American letter addressed to e.g. "Mr. and Mrs. John Smith".) Thus, 蒋介石's wife can be referred to as 蒋夫人, regardless of what her name might be.

Wikipedia suggests that the title 太太 ("wife") is also applied to the husband's name.

[1] I'm following the convention of government forms here, in which 小姐 and 先生 are opposed options for how the form addresses you, and 女士 doesn't appear. The wikipedia section linked above states that 小姐 applies to unmarried women and 女士 applies to married women. My -- limited -- understanding is different; I see 女士 as being used to convey a higher degree of respect, such as in professional communications. For example, I was once advised by a Chinese person to address the mother of a child I was tutoring as 孟小姐; I can only assume that the use of 小姐 did not convey the fairly insulting impression that I believed she was unmarried.


Nothing "wrong" with it and there aren't any "issues" in that you won't drop to the ground scratching your head on what to do in a certain situation if you don't change your name. That doesn't mean there aren't advantages to normalizing last names in a household though.

I'm currently engaged and plan on taking her last name after the wedding. Life would go on very large the same way if I didn't the same way it will if I do. The whole problem is overblown.


Having children take one name or the other does not require changing one's own name.

Having different last names comes with its own problems. One of which will be people asking you when you're going to be married. The other is forms that assume married couples have the same last name.

There's that awkward moment where the announcer goes "Mr. and Mrs... Uh. <both their names>"


Frankly, why would I care if it confuses someone else? My spouse and I don't make important decisions vis-a-vis our relationship, on the basis of other people's convenience.

The "problems" you describe are just...nonexistent, and really not a big deal. I have literally never encountered confusion about our marital status, problems with forms, or difficulty being introduced.


Being married to a woman with her own last name, and a stepdaughter with her own last name, I can tell you that none of what you describe is really a problem.

In fact, it’s worked well enough for us that if we were to have another child we’d consider giving him or her a different last name again instead of picking one of the three we already have.


Indeed we haven't run into many problems. Maybe an annoyance now and then such as a relative (usually one of hers, ironically) that assumes she has my last name and sends cards or letters to Mrs XXX. In fact some of them know she kept her maiden name but are conservative enough to find this somehow offensive enough that they give her my last name. (Again, weird, what's wrong with the last name she shares with them.)

(The only reason we sometimes wish she'd change her name is that hers is extremely common, and so she's constantly getting mixups with other people with the same name and has to sign things every time we buy a house or get a loan, etc. to say she isn't that other XXX YYY that has the bad credit rating or outstanding loan or criminal record, etc.)


Wow! I'd argue it's offensive—or at least quite rude—to willfully ignore someone's name. What gives someone else the right to determine what's best for me? How patronizing!

Yep. And her own father was a bit put off by her choice. Weird, as its his own name she's keeping. Okay, well, probably the name of a slaveholding ancestor in the south, actually, but I doubt that factors into any of his thoughts.

What's weird is these are people with generally left-wing political views, and socially liberal on most things. But on women's issues, pretty backwards. It weirds me out.


I'll admit that I consider myself "generally left-wing...and social liberally", and it was a real cognitive disconnect when my wife didn't want to take my name...It's such an ingrained tradition, so it required serious self-reflection to get to the bottom of my own reaction.

Given the many stories we see about how impossible it is to disappear and/or protect your privacy, I take a certain comfort in seeing stories like this one.

Ban is a male name, is it not? Perhaps this might be a start. What's with that?

> It’s that cultural norms around marriage make it harder to keep track of them.

A strange segue explaining marriage to us. Yes, it's common for people to keep their original published name in academia and the arts and anything else. I guess video game designers might have taken a while to realise they were being published. That might be an interesting point if it lead there.


Many/most? Viet immigrants also take on English first names, which could also complicate this search.

This was downvoted heavily but based on experience with my Viet family members and friends

Back in the 80s, I was a very famous video game pioneer ... I'm Ban Tran, Ban Tran the geek don't act like you don't know

Wait, she is now Diane?

I'm confused about your and the parent message...

It's the opening theme to a famous series, Bojack Horseman.



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