Phil Shapiro sent me this unusual and fascinating request:
On the local neighborhood email list I’m on here in Greenbelt, Maryland, there’s a growing sense about a problem with postal mail being delivered on time. It’s beginning to look as if a fatigued postal worker may be doing the proverbial “storing mail at his/her home” rather than delivering it.
Local mail is taking a full week to be delivered and some mail is not arriving at all. It’s been fascinating to watch the growing consensus that something may be amiss.
The discovery of irregular patterns via group noticings needs a name. We need a name for this process to better pinpoint the source and extent of viral outbreaks (such as the pandemic flu) and we need a name for this process for countless other ways that individuals look out for the well being of others.
Thanks for asking your readers if they can think of the right neologism for this process.
I just love the phrase “the discovery of irregular patterns via group noticings.” At first blush, it certainly seems worthy of a neologism! Then again, there is nothing new about group noticings. This was always the way of tribal, village, and agricultural life, before the industrial age made our daily activities less visible to one another. So maybe there’s a perfectly good old word just waiting to be dusted off and brought back?