The U.K. Natural Environmental Research Council deserves a round of applause.
The government agency decided to allow the public to go online and make suggestions for the name of a brand-new polar research ship and vote on them. That’s commendable. Who doesn’t love having a little input into a $288 million outlay for a research vessel?
But, the internet being the internet, things went in a slightly different direction than were perhaps intended. The leading vote-getter so far, by a huge margin, is “Boaty McBoatface.”
This is why we love you, internet.
The name was suggested by a former BBC host, Mike Hand, who put the name in on a lark and was a bit surprised to see it take off. He even apologized on Twitter, but also acknowledged that Boaty McBoatface is also quite awesome.
My apology for #BoatyMcBoatface was in the most British sense. I stand by it being a brilliant name.
— James Hand (@JamesHand) March 21, 2016
Now, the NERC isn’t stupid. The votes are merely suggestions that will be taken into consideration. But the resulting glee over #BoatyMcBoatface hasn’t just given us something to snicker about in our news feeds. Believe it or not, we’re now enthralled in the affairs of a polar research vessel. The NERC is taking all that in stride (despite periodic website outages) and welcoming the attention with open arms. Good on them.
— NERC (@NERCscience) March 21, 2016
h/t: Washington Post