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Talk:aluminum shower

RFV discussion: October 2011–March 2012Edit

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Only cite given is a mention and not a use. -- Liliana 23:43, 19 October 2011 (UTC)

It looks like a live metaphor to me, but cites might correct that impression. DCDuring TALK 00:28, 20 October 2011 (UTC)
I can find cites for rain aluminum#Verb. Also, consider the following:
  • 2006, Charles Stross, Accelerando:
    There are no airliners roaring in and out of Kai Tak anymore, no burnished aluminum storm clouds to rain round-eyed passengers on the shopping malls and fish markets of Kowloon and the New Territories.
I found usages of aluminium shower, although only one was actually visible, from somewhat earlier. — Pingkudimmi 06:17, 20 October 2011 (UTC)
Is it satisfactorily cited now? The entry now contains 6 quotations (2 mentions and 4 uses) spanning the period from 1978 to 2009. · 16:11, 20 October 2011 (UTC)
Is there any amount of citation of a live metaphor that can make it includable? DCDuring TALK 17:16, 20 October 2011 (UTC)
Sorry, DCDuring, I admire your work and love you like a brother, but I'm pretty sure that WT:CFI trumps your musings about the includability of live and dead metaphors (and, in any case, I would find it unreasonable to exclude "live" metaphors from lexicons--The whole contemporary English language is "live".) · 05:27, 21 October 2011 (UTC)
... but in that case we would end up with every possible sentence eventually, just because someone used it somewhere in a metaphorical way. Dbfirs 23:57, 30 October 2011 (UTC)
RFV-passed, in that it is cited. Moving to RFD. - -sche (discuss) 02:49, 4 March 2012 (UTC)


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It's cited; the question is whether or not we want it. See the RFV discussion. - -sche (discuss) 02:50, 4 March 2012 (UTC)

All but one (1999) of the citations have serious defects for attestation IMO:
  1. 2001 It is just a title "teaser";
  2. 2009 not durably archived;
  3. 1981, 1999, 2007 Headword appears in quotes with an definition.
-- DCDuring TALK 21:02, 4 March 2012 (UTC)
Keep as both attested and idiomatic. Mglovesfun (talk) 10:30, 5 March 2012 (UTC)
Attested? Not really. 2009 isn't durably archived, 2007 and 1981 are mentions and 2001 doesn't actually use the term, or so it seems. -- Liliana 13:39, 5 March 2012 (UTC)
Using speech marks isn't only for foreign terms, it's often used for perfectly real terms. And the reason some of the citation explain the term after using it is because it's a little-known term. And it's going to be even more little known if we delete it from Wiktionary. Deleting things that are rare and difficult to understand is the exact opposite of what we should be doing. Mglovesfun (talk) 14:36, 5 March 2012 (UTC)
Keep. Ungoliant MMDCCLXIV 15:32, 5 March 2012 (UTC)
@MG: Should we keep every live metaphor that occurs three times in print or Usenet? This certainly seems to refer to a shower of aluminum. DCDuring TALK 16:15, 5 March 2012 (UTC)
Specifically, how about rain aluminum? How about rain of trouble/rain of troubles, rain of plastic, meteorite shower, comet shower, beer shower, champagne shower, all of which are more attestable than the phrase in question? DCDuring TALK 16:33, 5 March 2012 (UTC)
I hope I never get caught in a baby shower. Equinox 17:51, 5 March 2012 (UTC)
I'd answer, but I have no idea what a live metaphor is. Mglovesfun (talk) 21:44, 8 March 2012 (UTC)
  • 2002, Kirsten Malmkjær, The linguistics encyclopedia, page 351:
    A live metaphor is one which is new, or relatively new, or which has not become part of everyday linguistic usage, so that we know when hearing it that a metaphor has been used.
HTH. DCDuring TALK 23:07, 8 March 2012 (UTC)
Keep. Only the first cite uses aluminum shower as a metaphor to describe the appearance of a mid-air collision. All the others use aluminum shower as a synonym for mid-air collision. When people go from saying "like XYZ" to just "XYZ," that, to me, is a pretty good indicator that it has gone from an individual metaphor to a general idiomatic expression. Astral (talk) 18:22, 28 July 2012 (UTC)
It is a simile that uses "as", "like", or similar explicit indications of comparison. A metaphor dispenses with these. Metaphors can be either "dead" or "live". "Dead metaphors" would include, for example, almost all the senses of head. For multi-word terms, house of cards is now almost exclusively a dead metaphor. A house of glass (and glass house, too, I think) is still live. DCDuring TALK 18:53, 28 July 2012 (UTC)
With the "like XYZ" vs. "XYZ" argument, I wished to succinctly illustrate the difference between aluminum shower used as a description of a mid-air collision (e.g., "the twisted fuselage rained down in an aluminum shower," "the wreckage scattered all around like an aluminum shower," etc.) and aluminum shower used as a synonym for the term mid-air collision itself (e.g., "air-traffic controllers do everything in their power to prevent aluminum showers").
The live metaphor-dead metaphor distinction is interesting from a linguistic standpoint, but isn't part of CFI. Attestability and idiomaticity are, and this meets both. Astral (talk) 21:07, 28 July 2012 (UTC)
I'd like to see a citation where the choice between those possibilities was not clear. DCDuring TALK 19:24, 28 July 2012 (UTC)
It is unclear when you just hear "aluminum shower" with zero context. Also, "oh please" is an inappropriate edit summary Purplebackpack89 (Notes Taken) (Locker) 19:29, 28 July 2012 (UTC)
What is the meaning of head with zero context? It has only its default meaning, rather than the dozens of other possibilities. What is the meaning of executive chair with zero context? DCDuring TALK 19:54, 28 July 2012 (UTC)
Without context, a purple backpack could be something used by royalty or someone of ambiguous political identification for wearing a paraitchute. Chuck Entz (talk) 20:06, 28 July 2012 (UTC)
For general amusement I have added two senses of aluminum shower at least as entry-worthy as the pre-existing one under discussion:
  1. (literally) A party or similar event at which aluminum is given, as for a wedding.
  2. (figuratively) An event at which people give household items made of aluminum to the war effort.
I hope you get as much out of inspecting them as I did from creating them. DCDuring TALK 20:23, 28 July 2012 (UTC)
No, I don't find it funny. I find it POINTy Purplebackpack89 (Notes Taken) (Locker) 21:19, 28 July 2012 (UTC)
It's arguable that the two aluminum-giving event senses, however POINT-y the reason for their addition, are worthy of inclusion on historical grounds, but the shower stall sense that was also added is pure SOP. If one thinks a term isn't worthy of inclusion, such POINT-y demonstrations aren't the ideal way to go about illustrating it. Astral (talk) 21:37, 28 July 2012 (UTC)
I'd love to see some reasoned argument supported by evidence. So far, I've been producing the only evidence. If it is the case that producing evidence is "POINTY", then Wiktionary is doomed as a serious project. DCDuring TALK 21:47, 28 July 2012 (UTC)
As the most literal sense of shower is probably the "rain shower" sense, I suppose there is no truly literal sense of aluminum shower possible, so {{&lit}} may be uncitable. If we decide that the second sense is the literal sense, its citations should remain to illustrate usage.
To me it seems that someone was captivated by a bright shiny object, a metaphor they had not heard before, because it comes from a specialized usage context, as we show it. In that specialized context, aluminum in various combinations is not uncommonly used to refer to aircraft. For example:
  • 2002, Bob Woodward, The Commanders, page 180:
    United States C-141 Starlifters flew into Panama this afternoon, one landing every ten minutes. ... There was already a lot of aluminum flying through the air to Panama.
Thus the term is a quite SoP in the context that the citations show it is limited to. The quotations marks and definitions given are clear indications of this limitation. DCDuring TALK 22:25, 28 July 2012 (UTC)
I consider it POINT-y for someone to add an indisputably SOP sense to entry when disputing the idiomaticity of another sense. "This proves a point I'm trying to make" is not a valid basis for inclusion. The appropriate way to try to make a case for or against something is through discussion. Making POINT-y edits to an entry isn't constructive; it doesn't serve to improve the entry itself, and it's liable to precipitate counterproductive back-and-forth editing. Astral (talk) 23:00, 28 July 2012 (UTC)
I would have loved to have seen some back-and-forth of a productive variety, such as fact- and reason-supported argument and content. Resorting to lawyering hardly helps. The underlying problem is that there is little consensus on what constitutes an idiom and on what should be included. The possibility of a combinatorial explosion of entries of very low value and legitimacy will undermine Wiktionary's linguistic and lexicographic credibility. It needs that credibility at least as much as it needs a large count of entries.
I would suggest that it is helpful to evaluate the adequacy of one's own intuition as a guide and motivator to working on and assessing marginal entries. It is all too common for bright shiny objects to get all sorts of support and attention and the more prosaic ones, often more entry-worthy on objective grounds, to be neglected, as the added senses exemplify. I think all of the senses are SoP, the "gift shower" senses for anyone familiar with the contexts in which they were offered (advertisments, and prewar aluminum shortages), the aviation sense in its context. Could you suggest some fact-based way of supporting or opposing my assertions? Or some error or gap in my logic? Or a different argument in support of the term, based on new evidence or reinterpretation of the old evidence. DCDuring TALK 23:57, 28 July 2012 (UTC)
I think it's safe to say that if any non-admin had added a definition they knew full well not to be inclusion-worthy strictly to prove a point, they would've been given a block. Given Wiktionary's very low tolerance for newbies and the bumpiness involved in their learning the ropes, the last person one should expect to do something out of the newbie playbook is a veteran editor who should know better. There aren't two standards of conduct on this site. Everyone should be held to the same standard. Astral (talk) 00:28, 29 July 2012 (UTC)
I think you are wrong about this. A newbie who produced citation-supported entries or senses would not likely be blocked and certainly not for long, no matter how POINTy the entry or senses. If I noticed such a block I would likely unblock and I doubt that I am the only admin who would do so.
In addition, I believe that the question of what is and is not SoP is not as straightforward as you seem to think it is. I'd bet that we would find most of the showers called aluminum showers (for cleaning humans) are not predominantly made of aluminum, but rather that the fixtures and the frame of the stall (glass or other material) were the only aluminum parts.
I continue to await fact- and reason-based arguments in defense of any of the senses of this entry. DCDuring TALK 01:44, 29 July 2012 (UTC)
The breath sounds incident comes to mind. It was cited, as I remember it, but because it had previously been deleted on SOP grounds, its recreation was deemed a block-worthy act of disruption.
I'm uncertain what would constitute "fact- and reason-based arguments" in your judgment. The mid-air collision sense has already been attested. I've already laid out my rationale for why I think that particular sense is inclusion-worthy, as have others. I count four keep votes and no deletes. Astral (talk) 02:37, 29 July 2012 (UTC)
Delete Chuck Entz (talk) 05:12, 29 July 2012 (UTC)

[Making room] I had taken a look at the various terms used synonymously: breath sounds, lung sounds, breathing sounds, respiratory sounds and couldn't disagree with the conclusion. The real point is that an entry that has been rejected on RfD grounds should not be reentered. We occasionally revisit these things after some time (more than a year) and come to a different conclusion, but we don't want to reopen closed matters. It is sad but the contributor seemed to believe that anything wording like a definition from a textbook is therefore per se dictionary material.

Attestation shows first that a combination of terms is in use. Secondly, the citations can be used to infer the meaning and the usage context of the term. I do not dispute the existence of the term and believe that four separate meanings have been attested, though not necessarily in every detail of the definition. Further I believe that the attestation of the midair collision sense shows that the term is not used outside the context of aviation, ie those who work in and/or study aviation, without the need for a definition of the term or quotation marks to cause the reader to look for meaning clues if it is not defined. In the context of aviation the practice of referring to aircraft with demystifying metaphors is not uncommon. See this search for the "parts flying in formation" metaphor and this for a discussion of it. What is wrong with this argument? Where is the logic weak? Where is the evidence dubiously interpreted? With all the steps and unstated premises, it shouldn't be too hard. DCDuring TALK 03:29, 29 July 2012 (UTC)

As to the attestation:

  1. 1978 cite has the term used in a quotation of an air-traffic controller (ie, an industry insider) reacting to the mid-air collision just referred to in the preceding sentence.
  2. 1981 cite has the term in quotes and defined.
  3. 1999 is arguably OK as the review reader is presumed to understand what the industry insider is quoted as saying.
  4. 2001 is not longer available (ie, not durably archived AFAICT) and in any event was used merely as a "teaser" in the title.
  5. 2007 cite has the term in quotes and defined.
  6. 2009 cite is from a blog for industry insiders.

Thus only one cite could be considered as showing that the term would be understood outside the aviation industry. The other five show the opposite. Thus, the intuitions (and votes) of those not in the industry are not reliable indicators of what is or is not SoP in the industry context in which the terms are used. The evidence of the existence of other demystifying metaphors for aircraft suggest that this is a live metaphor, a grim joke among the insiders. DCDuring TALK 03:59, 29 July 2012 (UTC)

  • Keep. Several meanings, none of them immediately obvious to someone who knows only the words "aluminum" and "shower". Probably "shower stall and associated hardware made partially of aluminum" is the most literal meaning in there, so I don't see why it's labeled {{figurative}}. —Angr 07:45, 29 July 2012 (UTC)
Kept. — Ungoliant (Falai) 23:53, 13 August 2012 (UTC)


The following information has failed Wiktionary's deletion process.

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Rfd-sense: (figuratively) A shower stall and associated hardware made partially of aluminum. Obvious SoP -- Liliana 01:13, 8 June 2013 (UTC)

Replace with {{&lit}}. Oops! Delete. Chuck Entz (talk) 01:20, 8 June 2013 (UTC)
  • Delete per nom; this is a literal use based on sense 2 of shower, and is therefore already covered by sense 1 of aluminum shower. bd2412 T 01:25, 8 June 2013 (UTC)
Delete. Covered by the &lit definition. — Ungoliant (Falai) 01:36, 8 June 2013 (UTC)
If you are in the right frame of mind, or actually usage context, each sense of the four supposedly non-SoP senses of this would be SoP. We are just more accustomed to thinking of aluminum as a construction material than as a gift, a contribution to the war effort, or the result of a mid-air collision. If I ask the question "What is an 'aluminum shower'?" of the proverbial man in the street, without providing any context, I suppose the defined sense is the most likely. If I asked a someone in the US in the 1915-40, I would probably get the gift-giving party sense. If I asked a couple of years later it might be the war material sense. If I asked someone in air traffic control, I'd get the aviation sense. But I will leave this to the professionals. DCDuring TALK 03:10, 8 June 2013 (UTC)
In its defense, it's quite funny. Mglovesfun (talk) 08:32, 8 June 2013 (UTC)
But delete. Mglovesfun (talk) 10:17, 10 June 2013 (UTC)

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