Another oddly specific but incomplete dropdown

Latest in the annals of nonprofits making odd UI choices in their donation forms:

The nonprofit I’m about to donate to has a name-suffix field. I got curious and looked at it. Here are the values provided in the dropdown menu:

  • Jr.
  • Sr.
  • II
  • III
  • IV
  • V
  • VI
  • VII
  • CPA
  • DDS
  • ED.D
  • Esq.
  • J.D.
  • J.D. Ph.D.
  • Jr. Esq.
  • LBSW
  • M.D.
  • MD
  • MS
  • MSW
  • P.C.
  • Ph.D.
  • Trust
  • (Ret)
  • MLS
  • Ratner

As usual with this sort of thing (see also L’Imperatrice, c’est moi), I feel like they tried their hardest to be weirdly specific (it lists both “M.D.” and “MD”!), while missing vast swathes of options (DDS but no OD; VII but no VIII; MS but no MA; MD but no NP; etc).

But even so, I wouldn’t have posted about this list if it hadn’t been for that mysterious final entry:


I had never encountered the name suffix “Ratner” before, and TSOR didn’t help. Eventually I noticed that earlier in the page, they had requested donations to their “Michael Ratner Campaign for the Next Generation.” So I’m guessing that either an internal database notation got inadvertently added to the publicly visible form, or they want people who are donating to the Michael Ratner fund to add “Ratner“ to their names as a suffix.

2 Responses to “Another oddly specific but incomplete dropdown”

  1. Jed

    Just saw, for the first time, a donation form that lets you specify pronouns. I’m not sure how much use that is, given that in English, the gendered pronouns are third-person, and it seems unlikely that the organization would be referring to a specific donor in third person. But still, seemed like a nice touch. But I was surprised at the extensiveness of their list:

    • (F)ae/(F)aer/(F)aers
    • E/Em/Eirs
    • Ey/Em/Eirs
    • He/Him/His
    • Per/Per/Pers
    • She/Her/Hers
    • Sie/Sie/Hirs
    • Tey/Ter/Ters
    • They/Them/Theirs
    • Ve/Ver/Vers
    • Ve/Ver/Vis
    • Xe/Xem/Xyrs
    • Ze/Hir/Hirs
    • Zie/Zim/Zis

    That list includes a few that I’ve never seen before, but it’s certainly not a complete list of all the pronouns that people use these days. So again, it seems oddly specific yet incomplete. And in this case, it also seems oddly disconnected from the organization; the organization supports women, but isn’t focused on gender identity. I kind of suspect that someone said “Hey, we should let donors specify pronouns” and then they went and copied a list they found somewhere.

  2. Jed

    Update on original post: A friend tells me that when a software company is hired to create a web front end to a nonprofit’s database, they often populate the dropdown menus with the data that’s already in the database. That would go a long way toward explaining menus like the name-suffix one that I described in this post; it’s redundant (including both MD vs M.D.) because nobody bothered to canonicalize the data, and it’s incomplete because it only lists options that other people had previously provided.

    Needless to say, using the data currently in the database is a bad method of populating a dropdown. Or at least, I would have thought it was needless to say, but apparently the people creating the web forms don’t notice it’s a bad idea, and apparently the nonprofits who hire those people can’t request changes.


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