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Poll

AP or style other than USPS --- Yea or Nay?

Yea
- 3 (21.4%)
Nay
- 11 (78.6%)

Total Members Voted: 14


Author Topic: Does anyone else prefer the AP style over USPS state abbreviations?  (Read 2827 times)

mrsman

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Re: Does anyone else prefer the AP style over USPS state abbreviations?
« Reply #50 on: August 22, 2018, 08:09:22 PM »

The old zip code books made the system very clear.  Basically, first digit represents a group of states, then the numbers are generally for a region (in order of geography), then the next 2 digits for po within each region.  Within each region, the last 2 digits assigned alphabetically.

Ex 902 represents cities near L.A. (but not the city itself).

90201 for bell
90210 for Beverly hills
90220 for Compton
Etc.


Nexus 5X

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Duke87

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Re: Does anyone else prefer the AP style over USPS state abbreviations?
« Reply #51 on: August 23, 2018, 01:34:53 AM »

I grew up with standard postal abbreviations and only encountered the other older abbreviations later in life. Personally I prefer the postal method for its consistency (two letter code for every state or Canadian province).

My praise of the post office for consistency ends there, though. Their methods are shit for how they assign ZIP codes and accompanying (often fake, contrived) city names.

Ooh! I love numbering schemes like area codes, Zip Codes, et cetera. (Part of the appeal of the highways for me was the numbering system,) In the Hartford area, they're assigned semi-alphabetically. There's aberrations like Enfield being stuck between Taftville and Tolland at 06082 and 06083. But that may be because the biggest part of town BITD was Thompsonville.

Not the point. Conceptually, I like the idea of ZIP codes. What I do not like is how the post office rejects actual geographic reality and substitutes their own when assigning them. You would think, logically, that ZIP codes should be drawn to follow existing municipal boundaries and such as much as possible. And that when you address an envelope, the proper way of doing so would be to use the name of the municipality in which the intended destination is located... but no, that would make too much sense. What we actually have instead is a fucking mess.

For an example of what I mean, take a look here at the boundaries of ZIP code 10604. This ZIP code contains parts of the city of White Plains, the town of North Castle, the town of Harrison, and the town of Rye Brook but does not contain the entirety of any single municipality or even close to it. Furthermore, if you are sending a letter to someone in this ZIP code, the post office would prefer you address it to "West Harrison, NY 10604" regardless of which of the four municipalities named above the destination is located in. There is no town, village, or city of West Harrison. "West Harrison" is merely a neighborhood within the town of Harrison.

This is not an exceptional case, this is... disturbingly normal. And this is just an example of a ZIP code that crosses municipal lines. There are plenty of ZIP codes out cross county lines. Hell, there are ZIP codes out there that cross state lines. As a result, you cannot definitively determine what political subdivision an address is located based solely on its ZIP code; often it will be ambiguous and there will be no way to tell without looking at a map.

In a way it's a perfect example of US government bureaucracy at work - a very thorough system that works for its single intended purpose within the silo of the bureaucracy that created it, but that is useless for anything else because zero thought was put into coordinating it with anything outside of the silo.
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jon daly

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Re: Does anyone else prefer the AP style over USPS state abbreviations?
« Reply #52 on: August 23, 2018, 06:15:23 AM »

^ I see what you're saying. For the longest time, my family lived in a part of Ellington, Conn that had a Rockville ZIP Code. Eventually, we got serviced by the Ellington post office and things were more logical; except for the fact that the USPS didn't notify anyone of the changes, so some important mail was never received.

While we're on this topic, I should mention an online friend who worked and maybe still works in logistics. I was reading a thread where someone wrote that someone "wasn't even in the same ZIP code" and he penned a long diatribe about how ZIP Codes are a collection of points and not areas.
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1995hoo

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Re: Does anyone else prefer the AP style over USPS state abbreviations?
« Reply #53 on: August 23, 2018, 08:04:19 AM »

We live in Fairfax County. The USPS says our address is “Alexandria.” Some two-thirds of the addresses they call “Alexandria” are in Fairfax County, rather than the City if Alexandria, even as far south as the Mount Vernon area. It confuses people into thinking we live in the city, and it even confuses some residents about paying personal property tax (car tax) and the like. My neighborhood is allowed an alternative designation (“Kingstowne, Virginia”) and I prefer to use that.
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jon daly

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Re: Does anyone else prefer the AP style over USPS state abbreviations?
« Reply #54 on: August 23, 2018, 09:51:15 AM »

Perhaps "forced" isn't the right word. The metric system is founded on a less human scale than the old system. E.g., a foot is, literally the length of a human foot. Ditto when it comes to hands; if you're measuring horses.

Absolutely. But whose foot? Whose hand? The Romans calculated a mile based on 1,000 paces of their soldiers. Could they guarantee each of those 1,000 paces were exactly the same length? Or that the next thousand paces would be exactly the same length as the previous 1,000?

Metric - Yes.  The metric system is sterile and artificial.  Yes, I know some guy tried (and failed) to figure out how far it is around the world and a meter was supposed to be some even fraction of that, and that, and all the others things are based off that, but so what? 

The units have no practical relation to anything.  No one can say a meter or a kilometer or a gram or whatever is the size it is in any other way than the above story. 

However, in a pre-industrial society, the traditional units represent amounts and distances that typical people dealt with every day.   The units developed from what was needed.

These colloquial measurement sufficed in, as you say, a pre-industrial society. But we left that behind a couple of hundred years ago. We build airplanes and bridges and computers and other Big and Complicated Things, and those things need precise and consistent measurements to function correctly and safely. So we had to come up with a bunch of international agreements that pegged down precisely what an "inch" or a "foot" or a "mile" is - now they're just as "artificial" and "sterile" as a metric unit is, but with the bonus of having no consistent relationship between each primary unit. In fact, I would argue that Imperial units are now more "forced" than metric units for precisely that reason.

I dunno. Sometimes I philosophically inclined to say, "Forget robots, I'm not sure I like other Big and Complicated Things." Yeah, I drive 110 miles a day to work in an office and gab with you guys is my down time, but how much better is my lot than the lot of a medieval peasant? You get some mossbacks who complain how the French Revolution ruined civilization, but what if it was Francis Bacon and the Scientific Revolution?

Other times I think that that's tilting at windmills and even more antediluvian than horse and buggy thinking.
« Last Edit: August 23, 2018, 09:53:55 AM by jon daly »
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abefroman329

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Re: Does anyone else prefer the AP style over USPS state abbreviations?
« Reply #55 on: August 23, 2018, 11:44:36 AM »

Yeah, I drive 110 miles a day to work in an office and gab with you guys is my down time, but how much better is my lot than the lot of a medieval peasant?
In general, point taken, but if you’ve lived past the age of 30 and haven’t lost six children to medical conditions that are easily treated in 2018, it’s much better.
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Brandon

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Re: Does anyone else prefer the AP style over USPS state abbreviations?
« Reply #56 on: August 23, 2018, 11:48:01 AM »

I grew up with standard postal abbreviations and only encountered the other older abbreviations later in life. Personally I prefer the postal method for its consistency (two letter code for every state or Canadian province).

My praise of the post office for consistency ends there, though. Their methods are shit for how they assign ZIP codes and accompanying (often fake, contrived) city names.

Ooh! I love numbering schemes like area codes, Zip Codes, et cetera. (Part of the appeal of the highways for me was the numbering system,) In the Hartford area, they're assigned semi-alphabetically. There's aberrations like Enfield being stuck between Taftville and Tolland at 06082 and 06083. But that may be because the biggest part of town BITD was Thompsonville.

Not the point. Conceptually, I like the idea of ZIP codes. What I do not like is how the post office rejects actual geographic reality and substitutes their own when assigning them. You would think, logically, that ZIP codes should be drawn to follow existing municipal boundaries and such as much as possible. And that when you address an envelope, the proper way of doing so would be to use the name of the municipality in which the intended destination is located... but no, that would make too much sense. What we actually have instead is a fucking mess.

Here's another example, 60586.  This ZIP Code primarily serves the City of Joliet along the Caton Farm Road corridor, and a bit of southern Village of Plainfield.  Yet, it leads to major confusion as people here believe they live in Plainfield, in spite of the fact they pay their water bill to City of Joliet, as well as their property taxes.  The USPS should allow "Joliet" as an alternate for these, yet they do not.  The USPS only allows "Plainfield".
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jon daly

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Re: Does anyone else prefer the AP style over USPS state abbreviations?
« Reply #57 on: August 23, 2018, 12:45:39 PM »

Yeah, I drive 110 miles a day to work in an office and gab with you guys is my down time, but how much better is my lot than the lot of a medieval peasant?
In general, point taken, but if you’ve lived past the age of 30 and haven’t lost six children to medical conditions that are easily treated in 2018, it’s much better.

I suppose so, but you wouldn't know better if you lived back then. Or would you? Maybe Friar Tuck or Maid Marian had to deal with anxieties just like today's folks.
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jon daly

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Re: Does anyone else prefer the AP style over USPS state abbreviations?
« Reply #58 on: August 23, 2018, 12:47:42 PM »

I don't want to stray off-topic, but how exactly is the metric system "forced"? If someone was building a measurement system from the ground up, would they be more likely to use divisors of 1760, 3, and 12 (getting miles to yards to feet to inches), or divisors of 1000, 100, and 10 (getting kilometers to meters to centimeters to millimeters)? The first set of numbers is arbitrary, not intuitive, and adds an unnecessary layer of computation - that, to me, is much more "forced," as is/was the general obstinance of the United States in adopting the metric system.

I would've used a system that can easily be divided in quarters and eighths instead of tenths.  Who says dividing things by ten is natural?  Quarters and eighths work just as well, and is a bit more natural, IMHO.

I was getting into the securities industry just as decimalization was starting. This gave folks who were handy with fractions (like me) less of an advantage.
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abefroman329

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Re: Does anyone else prefer the AP style over USPS state abbreviations?
« Reply #59 on: August 23, 2018, 03:39:25 PM »

Yeah, I drive 110 miles a day to work in an office and gab with you guys is my down time, but how much better is my lot than the lot of a medieval peasant?
In general, point taken, but if you’ve lived past the age of 30 and haven’t lost six children to medical conditions that are easily treated in 2018, it’s much better.
I suppose so, but you wouldn't know better if you lived back then. Or would you? Maybe Friar Tuck or Maid Marian had to deal with anxieties just like today's folks.
I’m thinking more of the fact that we don’t treat major medical conditions with leeches and bloodletting any more.
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abefroman329

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Re: Does anyone else prefer the AP style over USPS state abbreviations?
« Reply #60 on: August 23, 2018, 03:45:13 PM »

I find metric more precise, and prefer to use grams and milliliters when portioning food I’m going to eat. 300 milliliters of coffee and milk in the morning, for example. And it’s much easier to divide 454 grams of strawberries into 3 portions than a pound. 151 grams is a portion, rather than 5.33333333333333333333333333333333333333333333333333 ounces.

And there’s the fact that the imperial system isn’t the same from country to country. A pint is 16 fluid ounces in the US and 20 fluid ounces in the UK, which means a quart is bigger there, which means a half-gallon is bigger there, which means a gallon is bigger there...Meanwhile a liter is the same size here and there (though, of course, it’s actually a litre there).
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Big John

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Re: Does anyone else prefer the AP style over USPS state abbreviations?
« Reply #61 on: August 23, 2018, 04:19:17 PM »

Yes, the imperial gallon.  Also a liquid gallon is different than a dry gallon, what gives with that.
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jon daly

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Re: Does anyone else prefer the AP style over USPS state abbreviations?
« Reply #62 on: August 23, 2018, 04:34:12 PM »

Yeah, I drive 110 miles a day to work in an office and gab with you guys is my down time, but how much better is my lot than the lot of a medieval peasant?
In general, point taken, but if you’ve lived past the age of 30 and haven’t lost six children to medical conditions that are easily treated in 2018, it’s much better.
I suppose so, but you wouldn't know better if you lived back then. Or would you? Maybe Friar Tuck or Maid Marian had to deal with anxieties just like today's folks.
I’m thinking more of the fact that we don’t treat major medical conditions with leeches and bloodletting any more.

Leeches? You lucky Frenchmen! Edward the Confessorcare doesn't cover that.
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US 89

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Re: Does anyone else prefer the AP style over USPS state abbreviations?
« Reply #63 on: August 23, 2018, 04:56:39 PM »

I find metric more precise, and prefer to use grams and milliliters when portioning food I’m going to eat. 300 milliliters of coffee and milk in the morning, for example. And it’s much easier to divide 454 grams of strawberries into 3 portions than a pound. 151 grams is a portion, rather than 5.33333333333333333333333333333333333333333333333333 ounces.

First of all, a portion would actually be 151.33333333... grams, so your argument is flawed there. But in any case, that's quite a cherry-picked example. What if you wanted to divide it into 4 portions? Or 8? Or 16? and so on?

Ideally, you want round numbers when you're dividing amounts. As it turns out, ten is not a very good number for division anyway, because it only has two factors: 2 and 5. As a system, customary units tend to work well for division. Take the yard, for example. You can divide a yard 2, 3, 4, 6, 9, 12, 18, or 36 ways and come out with a whole number of inches. In addition, a yard can be divided into any multiple of 2, 3, 4, or 9 to get a decimal in inches that doesn't repeat. For metric units, that only works for multiples of 2 or 5.

For standardized units, like in scientific applications, I'll agree that metric is better. But for general, day-to-day use, customary units are just more useful overall.
« Last Edit: August 25, 2018, 04:41:08 PM by US 89 »
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Beltway

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Re: Does anyone else prefer the AP style over USPS state abbreviations?
« Reply #64 on: August 23, 2018, 05:02:45 PM »

I find metric more precise, and prefer to use grams and milliliters when portioning food I’m going to eat. 300 milliliters of coffee and milk in the morning, for example. And it’s much easier to divide 454 grams of strawberries into 3 portions than a pound. 151 grams is a portion, rather than 5.33333333333333333333333333333333333333333333333333 ounces.
And there’s the fact that the imperial system isn’t the same from country to country. A pint is 16 fluid ounces in the US and 20 fluid ounces in the UK, which means a quart is bigger there, which means a half-gallon is bigger there, which means a gallon is bigger there...Meanwhile a liter is the same size here and there (though, of course, it’s actually a litre there).

Nautical miles, statute miles.  Knots, miles per hour.

However Celsius degrees are less precise than Fahrenheit degrees.  For atmospheric temps you really to go to the nn.5 for relevance and precision with Celsius degrees.
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kalvado

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Re: Does anyone else prefer the AP style over USPS state abbreviations?
« Reply #65 on: August 23, 2018, 05:10:24 PM »

I find metric more precise, and prefer to use grams and milliliters when portioning food I’m going to eat. 300 milliliters of coffee and milk in the morning, for example. And it’s much easier to divide 454 grams of strawberries into 3 portions than a pound. 151 grams is a portion, rather than 5.33333333333333333333333333333333333333333333333333 ounces.

First of all, a portion would actually be 151.33333333... grams, so your argument is flawed there. But in any case, that's quite a cherry-picked example. What if you wanted to divide it into 4 portions? Or 8? Or 16? and so on?

Ideally, you want round numbers when you're dividing amounts. As it turns out, ten is not a very good number for division anyway, because it only has two factors: 2 and 5. As a system, customary units tend to work well for division. Take the yard, for example. You can divide a yard 2, 3, 4, 6, 9, 12, 18, or 36 ways and come out with a whole number of inches. In addition, a yard can be divided into any multiple of 2, 3, 4, or 9 to get a decimal in inches that doesn't repeat.

For standardized units, like in scientific applications, I'll agree that metric is better. But for general, day-to-day use, customary units are just more useful overall.

So how many times within past year you had to divide 1 yard into 18 equal parts?
A more realistic scenario is how deep you need to cut into 2x4 to go 1/3 deep? Considering 2x4 is actually 3.445" x 1.43"...
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abefroman329

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Re: Does anyone else prefer the AP style over USPS state abbreviations?
« Reply #66 on: August 23, 2018, 05:13:27 PM »

What if you wanted to divide it into 4 portions? Or 8? Or 16? and so on?
Then I’d have 4 portions of 1135 decigrams. Or 8 portions of 5675 centigrams. Or 16 portions of 28,374 micrograms. And so on.
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DTComposer

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Re: Does anyone else prefer the AP style over USPS state abbreviations?
« Reply #67 on: August 23, 2018, 09:01:07 PM »

I grew up with standard postal abbreviations and only encountered the other older abbreviations later in life. Personally I prefer the postal method for its consistency (two letter code for every state or Canadian province).

My praise of the post office for consistency ends there, though. Their methods are shit for how they assign ZIP codes and accompanying (often fake, contrived) city names.

Ooh! I love numbering schemes like area codes, Zip Codes, et cetera. (Part of the appeal of the highways for me was the numbering system,) In the Hartford area, they're assigned semi-alphabetically. There's aberrations like Enfield being stuck between Taftville and Tolland at 06082 and 06083. But that may be because the biggest part of town BITD was Thompsonville.

Not the point. Conceptually, I like the idea of ZIP codes. What I do not like is how the post office rejects actual geographic reality and substitutes their own when assigning them. You would think, logically, that ZIP codes should be drawn to follow existing municipal boundaries and such as much as possible. And that when you address an envelope, the proper way of doing so would be to use the name of the municipality in which the intended destination is located... but no, that would make too much sense. What we actually have instead is a fucking mess.

For an example of what I mean, take a look here at the boundaries of ZIP code 10604. This ZIP code contains parts of the city of White Plains, the town of North Castle, the town of Harrison, and the town of Rye Brook but does not contain the entirety of any single municipality or even close to it. Furthermore, if you are sending a letter to someone in this ZIP code, the post office would prefer you address it to "West Harrison, NY 10604" regardless of which of the four municipalities named above the destination is located in. There is no town, village, or city of West Harrison. "West Harrison" is merely a neighborhood within the town of Harrison.

This is not an exceptional case, this is... disturbingly normal. And this is just an example of a ZIP code that crosses municipal lines. There are plenty of ZIP codes out cross county lines. Hell, there are ZIP codes out there that cross state lines. As a result, you cannot definitively determine what political subdivision an address is located based solely on its ZIP code; often it will be ambiguous and there will be no way to tell without looking at a map.

In a way it's a perfect example of US government bureaucracy at work - a very thorough system that works for its single intended purpose within the silo of the bureaucracy that created it, but that is useless for anything else because zero thought was put into coordinating it with anything outside of the silo.

All of this is absolutely true, but when you consider the scope of the silo (particularly at the time the system was implemented) - to efficiently deliver hundreds of millions of pieces of mail every day to nearly any and every location over nearly four million square miles, at a cost of pennies per piece to the sender, and at no cost to the receiver - I can begin to appreciate why decisions were made that might not jibe with what the casual observer would consider to be common sense.

When you consider municipal boundaries, there are thousands of examples of little tentacles of cities that jut into the gut of a another city. Should those tentacles be served by their actual city's post office, who might be five or six miles away, or by the closest post office, who might only be one or two miles away, albeit in a different municipality? There are examples near me of streets that have houses in multiple cities - houses on the same block, on the same side of the street. Should we send two different mail trucks in, each serving the handful of houses in their own city? Wouldn't that become a shining example of government inefficiency and waste?

I wish we had a system where all the boundaries lined up neatly: municipalities, school districts, zip codes, area codes and exchanges, and so on. But I'd argue (particularly in areas that have grown in the last 50 to 60 years) the fault is with the municipal boundaries, which are often the result of piecemeal annexations, not with the agencies who are charged with providing the services.
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Re: Does anyone else prefer the AP style over USPS state abbreviations?
« Reply #68 on: August 23, 2018, 09:32:04 PM »

Bipp
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Re: Does anyone else prefer the AP style over USPS state abbreviations?
« Reply #69 on: August 24, 2018, 12:30:29 AM »

I grew up with standard postal abbreviations and only encountered the other older abbreviations later in life. Personally I prefer the postal method for its consistency (two letter code for every state or Canadian province).

My praise of the post office for consistency ends there, though. Their methods are shit for how they assign ZIP codes and accompanying (often fake, contrived) city names.

Ooh! I love numbering schemes like area codes, Zip Codes, et cetera. (Part of the appeal of the highways for me was the numbering system,) In the Hartford area, they're assigned semi-alphabetically. There's aberrations like Enfield being stuck between Taftville and Tolland at 06082 and 06083. But that may be because the biggest part of town BITD was Thompsonville.

Not the point. Conceptually, I like the idea of ZIP codes. What I do not like is how the post office rejects actual geographic reality and substitutes their own when assigning them. You would think, logically, that ZIP codes should be drawn to follow existing municipal boundaries and such as much as possible. And that when you address an envelope, the proper way of doing so would be to use the name of the municipality in which the intended destination is located... but no, that would make too much sense. What we actually have instead is a fucking mess.

Here's another example, 60586.  This ZIP Code primarily serves the City of Joliet along the Caton Farm Road corridor, and a bit of southern Village of Plainfield.  Yet, it leads to major confusion as people here believe they live in Plainfield, in spite of the fact they pay their water bill to City of Joliet, as well as their property taxes.  The USPS should allow "Joliet" as an alternate for these, yet they do not.  The USPS only allows "Plainfield".

Or the USPS 'city' names for places in NYC that are not in Manhattan or places in the San Fernando Valley and the other outer neighborhoods in the City of Los Angeles?  Why not 'New York, NY' instead of 'Flushing, NY' or 'Bronx, NY' or 'Los Angeles, CA' instead of 'Chatsworth, CA' or 'San Pedro, CA', for example?

Mike
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jon daly

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Re: Does anyone else prefer the AP style over USPS state abbreviations?
« Reply #70 on: August 24, 2018, 06:08:06 AM »

My sister's mailing address in Queens is Middle Village.
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Re: Does anyone else prefer the AP style over USPS state abbreviations?
« Reply #71 on: August 24, 2018, 01:27:00 PM »

I grew up with standard postal abbreviations and only encountered the other older abbreviations later in life. Personally I prefer the postal method for its consistency (two letter code for every state or Canadian province).

My praise of the post office for consistency ends there, though. Their methods are shit for how they assign ZIP codes and accompanying (often fake, contrived) city names.

Ooh! I love numbering schemes like area codes, Zip Codes, et cetera. (Part of the appeal of the highways for me was the numbering system,) In the Hartford area, they're assigned semi-alphabetically. There's aberrations like Enfield being stuck between Taftville and Tolland at 06082 and 06083. But that may be because the biggest part of town BITD was Thompsonville.

Not the point. Conceptually, I like the idea of ZIP codes. What I do not like is how the post office rejects actual geographic reality and substitutes their own when assigning them. You would think, logically, that ZIP codes should be drawn to follow existing municipal boundaries and such as much as possible. And that when you address an envelope, the proper way of doing so would be to use the name of the municipality in which the intended destination is located... but no, that would make too much sense. What we actually have instead is a fucking mess.

Here's another example, 60586.  This ZIP Code primarily serves the City of Joliet along the Caton Farm Road corridor, and a bit of southern Village of Plainfield.  Yet, it leads to major confusion as people here believe they live in Plainfield, in spite of the fact they pay their water bill to City of Joliet, as well as their property taxes.  The USPS should allow "Joliet" as an alternate for these, yet they do not.  The USPS only allows "Plainfield".

Or the USPS 'city' names for places in NYC that are not in Manhattan or places in the San Fernando Valley and the other outer neighborhoods in the City of Los Angeles?  Why not 'New York, NY' instead of 'Flushing, NY' or 'Bronx, NY' or 'Los Angeles, CA' instead of 'Chatsworth, CA' or 'San Pedro, CA', for example?

Mike

In Los Angeles at least, the postal "cities" correspond very well with local usage - residents, when asked where they live, would tell you they're from San Pedro, Woodland Hills, Chatsworth, etc. before they would say they're from Los Angeles. Many of these were towns/communities that were already established before Los Angeles annexed them (several of them were previously incorporated cities), and there's a strong sense of neighborhood identity among the residents that predates zip codes.
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abefroman329

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Re: Does anyone else prefer the AP style over USPS state abbreviations?
« Reply #72 on: August 24, 2018, 03:59:46 PM »

My sister's mailing address in Queens is Middle Village.
Right, mine was Woodside when I lived in Queens. But you could have written “Queens, NY 11377” or “Woodside, NY 11377” or “My Butt Smells, NY 11377” for the address and it would have made it to me as long as you included the right ZIP code.
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jon daly

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Re: Does anyone else prefer the AP style over USPS state abbreviations?
« Reply #73 on: August 24, 2018, 04:38:18 PM »

At this point in the week, it is time to break out the Newman:

"You see, certified mail is always registered, but registered mail is not necessarily certified. "
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GaryV

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Re: Does anyone else prefer the AP style over USPS state abbreviations?
« Reply #74 on: August 24, 2018, 05:00:32 PM »

Not the point. Conceptually, I like the idea of ZIP codes. What I do not like is how the post office rejects actual geographic reality and substitutes their own when assigning them.
Except the Post Office is in the business of delivering mail, not figuring out what the local political division is.  When ZIP codes were set up, each physical post office got one or more.  Because that's how the mail is delivered, by people who get the mail from the physical post office and bring it to the locations.  To get the mail to the correct post office, the ZIP code was used.

Some codes have been divided.  Some place names most likely have changed to keep up with changing political boundary changes or especially name changes.  But they can't keep up with every consolidation, division, annexation, incorporation, etc.
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