Varible Name Choice in Javascript Intro Lesson


I felt compelled to write a quick not about the use of the name “Lovelace” as a variable across multiple lessons in the Basic Javascript section. Perhaps there is some newer cultural reference to this name that I am missing? Even if that is true, the history behind this name refers directly to Linda Lovelace, and I find the reference in bad taste.

Linda Susan Boreman, who performed in the first mainstreamed pornographic film as Linda Lovelace back in 1972, is a much maligned character. She pretty clearly suffered from some form of PTSD from abusive relationships, and was likely not of sound mind when she was coerced into various on and off screen sexual situations by her husband.

I have much appreciation for what Free Code Camp is creating by offering this curriculum to all. And, seeing the reference to Linda Lovelace across multiple examples brings up all sorts of my own trauma and fears around abusive men. This reference does not seem in alignment with your greater mission, and I would request that it be changed.

Thank you for listening,
Seven Stevens

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We are definitely not referencing a pornographic actress. The name Lovelace is in reference to this person:

Ada Lovelace was born in 1815, so I think she has an earlier claim on the name than Linda (stage name used in 1969). Ada Lovelace is very well known in programming culture as one of the founders of programming.

The first name Ada is part of the challenge example, but I’ve created an issue to see if we want to put the first name in even more places in this example to make it even more clear that we are talking about a completely different person that whatever Lovelace comes to mind for others.

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I don’t know, I’m not a big fan of changing it. People should be responsible for their own knowledge - and therefore (also) their own (no offense to anyone) ignorance. If I’d never heard of Ada Lovelace, my first instinct would have been to google the name Lovelace and see what else it could mean. That took me about 3 seconds. My first instinct would not be to be offended.

I know it’s become popular recently, that we need to scrub the culture of anything that might trigger anyone, but at some point, it gets ridiculous. What if there was a murderer named “Ada”, do we have to cancel that name too? It’s not like we’re talking about a name like “Hitler” that is universally reviled and associated with only one thing, “Lovelace” is a common name - there is even a Baron Lovelace in English peerage.

I don’t know. I know my thoughts on things like this often end up triggering people, but that’s how I see it. I don’t think we make a better world by catering to the whims of people looking for excuses to be offended, based on ignorance. But again, I know that the trend is going in the other direction. There are legitimate things that need to change in this world, for sure. I don’t think cancelling the name “Lovelace” is one of them.

Perhaps a compromise would be to have a link to info about Lovelace in the challenge that uses these names.


I’m certainly not in favor of erasing the mention of Ada Lovelace. She is an important figure in the history of computing and since she is an important woman in the history of computing, removing her name would be contributing to erasing the important contributions women have made to the history of computing.

I would generally hope that our learners are able to use Google to determine who “Lovelace” is in relation to programming, though they don’t reliably use Google with HTML, CSS, or JavaScript syntax, so that might be unrealistic to expect.

I like the idea of adding a link to her Wikipedia page to 1) make it painfully obvious we are not talking about a pornographic actress that many of us have never heard of and 2) get people to go read up on an important woman in the history of programming.


I agree that as a child of the 1970’s and 80’s that I have cultural biases that affected my view here, as well as the biases of my own abusive childhood.

I also apologize if my comment came off as reactionary. At the same time, by typing “lovelace” into duckduckgo the top hits all reference Linda Lovelace, then Lovelace Health Systems, then Ada. A google search, which I admittedly avoid doe to privacy concerns, references Lovelace Health Systems first, then Linda, the Ada.

My intention then is to ask for a more creative way to honor Ada Lovelace and her contributions, while shying away from the controversial topic of Linda Lovelace.

If you do not think that names and words have power, check your own reaction to this post.


I still do not support removing the name “Lovelace” because “Linda Lovelace” was also a person. We should not erase the contributions of “Ada Lovelace” because “Linda Lovelace” was also a person. Computer Science already has a huge problem with erasing or minimizing the contributions of women in the field.


So how about we use variables like “AdaLovelace” or “adaLovelace”, prompting curiosity about the achievements of this wonderful thinker, instead of distracting the conversation with all of the info on Linda that pops up if you simply search “Lovelace”?

If you look at the linked issue, I propose adding a firstName variable near the lastName variable and adding a link to her Wikipedia article.

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If someone has such encyclopedic knowledge of old pornography actors that they recognize the name of the world’s first computer programmer as a porn star, that’s on them. I think that this is stupid.

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This is a discussion. Making it into a trail where intelligence is measured certainly derails an atmosphere of open idea inquiries.

The problem is not whether or not the viewer has a preconceived notion of the name Lovelace. The problem is what one who has never heard of the name Lovelace would be faced with when using a search engine for discovery.

This thread has served its purpose. I don’t see any value in discussing why some people think of pornographic actors instead of the world’s first computer programmer when they read the name “Lovelace”.

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