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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 2826 times)

kalvado

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Re: Does anyone else prefer the AP style over USPS state abbreviations?
« Reply #75 on: August 24, 2018, 06:22:50 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.

Well, if post office allowed addresses of ActualTown, NY, ZIP things would be easier.
What actually makes things difficult is USPS's desire to correct address to PostalTown, NY, ZIP even if there is no ambiguity. Maybe mail piece would still be delivered, but address checking tools do correct it; and certain types of mass mail require checked adress.
 That makes sense if manual sorting is used - but I believe mail is sorted down to ZIP mostly automatically. I doubt there will be many overlaps; strict use of PostalTown may be reserved for those instances if needed.
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KEVIN_224

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Re: Does anyone else prefer the AP style over USPS state abbreviations?
« Reply #76 on: August 24, 2018, 06:49:57 PM »

USPS for me. I've always used "CT" over "CONN". Bad enough "CONN" appears on an I-95 entry sign in New Rochelle, NY. I believe it's at Exit 16, closer to the northbound toll plaza.
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Re: Does anyone else prefer the AP style over USPS state abbreviations?
« Reply #77 on: August 24, 2018, 07:01:41 PM »

USPS for me. I've always used "CT" over "CONN". Bad enough "CONN" appears on an I-95 entry sign in New Rochelle, NY. I believe it's at Exit 16, closer to the northbound toll plaza.

GSV confirms it's at Exit 16, entering northbound (I was making sure it actually meant "Connecticut" and not "connector").
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jp the roadgeek

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Re: Does anyone else prefer the AP style over USPS state abbreviations?
« Reply #78 on: August 24, 2018, 08:19:33 PM »

Connecticut still uses Mass on a couple BGS's.  Exit 49 on I-91 NB reads "US 5 Longmeadow Mass"

https://goo.gl/maps/rELGKoGiPDm

And on I-84 EB Exit 74, it reads "CT 171 Union Holland Mass" (although 171 ends at I-84 short of the border)

https://goo.gl/maps/HGqgd2vfSgT2


Also used on LGS's (interesting here is the 2 CDP's have the state after them, but the town does not)

https://goo.gl/maps/SMmtq9nMXRo
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Re: Does anyone else prefer the AP style over USPS state abbreviations?
« Reply #79 on: August 24, 2018, 08:40:11 PM »

I consider myself a rookie of sorts here still. I should've turned this into a poll. My other online haunts don't have that function; so I forget about it.
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jon daly

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Re: Does anyone else prefer the AP style over USPS state abbreviations?
« Reply #80 on: August 24, 2018, 09:54:27 PM »

I didn't realize I could add it this late in the game. Done.
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Duke87

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Re: Does anyone else prefer the AP style over USPS state abbreviations?
« Reply #81 on: August 26, 2018, 01:04:46 AM »

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?

Can't speak to the Los Angeles example, but for New York City this is necessitated by street names being reused in different boroughs. There are four distinct and unrelated streets named "Broadway" within New York City, for example - the famous one in Manhattan which also extends into The Bronx and beyond, and then Queens, Brooklyn, and Staten Island each have their own.

So, "100 Broadway, New York, NY" would be ambiguous if addresses throughout the entire city were written as such.

Of course, this doesn't explain why Queens continues to use the names of the independent towns it consisted of before it joined New York City in 1898 rather than simply "Queens". That can't really be attributed to anything other than old habit which the post office has helped perpetuate.


Well, if post office allowed addresses of ActualTown, NY, ZIP things would be easier.
What actually makes things difficult is USPS's desire to correct address to PostalTown, NY, ZIP even if there is no ambiguity. Maybe mail piece would still be delivered, but address checking tools do correct it; and certain types of mass mail require checked adress.

That would correct half of the problem. The other half, however, where ZIP codes do not follow political boundaries, remains. From a data analytics perspective, this is agonizing.

A few years ago I used to maintain a spreadsheet for work that had a list of locations we needed to have someone go pay a visit to. These locations needed to be sorted by county in order to assign who went where. I had initially started doing so manually, but it quickly occurred to me "hey, I have the address, I can probably write a lookup formula for this"... I then started collecting data to try and build this and realized it was impossible since, nope, you can't singularly tell what county an address is in based on its ZIP code - some ZIP codes contain parts of more than one county. So I had to keep looking up and typing the county names in manually for each site.

I suppose I could have fudged it and assigned ZIP codes which straddled the line to whichever county it looked like the majority of it was in and called it good, but that's just not tidy.

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?

That would be wasteful, but deviations of ZIP code boundaries from municipal/county boundaries do not typically appear to exist for this reason. Rather they exist simply because the postal system was set up ignoring the political boundaries when it could have been done in a just as effective way that respects them. Take a look right next door to my West Harrison example in Greenwich and Stamford, Connecticut and you will note that the ZIP codes there follow the town lines. It's not rocket science to do this, the person setting it up just has to give a sufficient quantity of shits.

Meanwhile if you really have a case where the most efficient way of getting the mail where it needs to go involves pieces of two towns getting their mail from the same post office, this could be handled simply by allowing that post office to serve two zip codes (one for the piece of its service territory in each town).

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.

I will grant you this - my own perspective on this matter is colored by having grown up in a part of the country where municipal boundaries are for all intents and purposes static. I am aware that in much of the country they are more subject to change. I do think the parts of the country where annexations, incorporations, etc. are common occurrences really ought to reign these practices in. But if that is not going to happen then yes, this does present a logistical challenge to maintaining ZIP code alignment with municipal boundaries. Especially when municipalities start drawing non-compact, gerrymandered borders for themselves and taking on ridiculous shapes by doing so.
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english si

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Re: Does anyone else prefer the AP style over USPS state abbreviations?
« Reply #82 on: August 26, 2018, 04:49:53 AM »

Area codes are interesting, too. By design, they have nearly equal population (about 1.5 million), and they're not gerrymandered.
Oddly, the near-equal population (surely equal phone lines - a more prosperous area would have more used for business, internet devices that use the phone network on top of wifi, etc) isn't the case in the UK - partially as 11 digits don't all need filling so some codes can have loads spare, and partially as codes can be different lengths. Tom Scott wanted to have a rant about that last bit, but ended up being unable to criticise much as it all makes sense when you follow the history.
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CNGL-Leudimin

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Re: Does anyone else prefer the AP style over USPS state abbreviations?
« Reply #83 on: August 26, 2018, 06:40:14 AM »

Can't speak to the Los Angeles example, but for New York City this is necessitated by street names being reused in different boroughs. There are four distinct and unrelated streets named "Broadway" within New York City, for example - the famous one in Manhattan which also extends into The Bronx and beyond, and then Queens, Brooklyn, and Staten Island each have their own.

So, "100 Broadway, New York, NY" would be ambiguous if addresses throughout the entire city were written as such.

Of course, this doesn't explain why Queens continues to use the names of the independent towns it consisted of before it joined New York City in 1898 rather than simply "Queens". That can't really be attributed to anything other than old habit which the post office has helped perpetuate.

That's what postcodes (ZIP codes) are for. They should pinpoint which one of the Broadways the address refers to. I know one example near me in Zaragoza, Spain, where the city growth has swallowed up a village, resulting in two streets named Calle Mayor (Main St), one in the city center, the other in the former village in the outskirts of the city. Fortunately they are on different postcodes, so they can be disambiguated by that: an address of "Calle Mayor, 1, 50001 Zaragoza" (note that in Spain the number comes after the street) refers to the Calle Mayor in the city center, while an address of "Calle Mayor, 1, 50011 Zaragoza" refers to the one in the former village. There are other four streets named Calle Mayor in the municipality, but in these cases they are in separate villages, and since addreses in Spain are always Postcode ActualTown (Province) without that post town crap, they are already disambiguated from each other.
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1995hoo

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Re: Does anyone else prefer the AP style over USPS state abbreviations?
« Reply #84 on: August 26, 2018, 01:52:07 PM »

Going back to state abbreviations, for those who think the old-fashioned abbreviations are less confusing or easier to remember, today's Washington Post Travel section might suggests otherwise. Note the photo caption. The article is about the capital of Alaska, yet the abbreviation they used refers to Alabama.

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J N Winkler

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Re: Does anyone else prefer the AP style over USPS state abbreviations?
« Reply #85 on: August 26, 2018, 03:22:36 PM »

I didn't vote on the question posed in the OP because I am still sitting on the fence on this issue.  Some factors to consider:

*  Abbreviations without fixed character count (a superset of AP style) are often not uniform across multiple times and contexts (e.g. "Pa." versus "Penna."), but the two-letter abbreviations (superset of USPS abbreviations) have also changed over time--e.g. NB became NE at the request of Canada Post, PQ is now QC, and NF is now NL.

*  Early in the noughties, when admission of Mexican-registered trucks to US highways was deemed imminent, FMCSA tried to promote the use of two-letter abbreviations for Mexican states.  Some of the abbreviations were quite weird and nonintuitive--e.g., I think NU was used for Nuevo León to avoid conflict with NL (Newfoundland & Labrador).  This had to be abandoned in favor of using USPS/Canada Post two-letter abbreviations for US states and Canadian provinces, and the traditional Mexican abbreviations (Chih., Ags., etc.--all part of an AP style superset) for Mexican states.  This is why I do not minimize complaints that two-letter abbreviations are Procrustes' friend, even as I use such acronyms myself.

*  "Caltrans" is idiomatic and "CADOT" grates.  Meanwhile, "INDOT" is idiomatic, but grates (I usually finesse the issue by writing "Indiana DOT").

*  I know of no wholly satisfactory strategy for giving state/province names next to city names on guide signs.  I've seen the following:

Trail B.C.  --> Are the periods really necessary?
Washington Pa --> Not a lot of visual distinction between city and state/province
Hebron NEB,  Alva OK -->  Looks kind of pretentious
Toledo OH -->  Why are you screaming?
Columbus OH. --> Kill this with fire

Other jurisdictions that also use all-caps two-letter abbreviations for first-level subdivisions on signs (e.g., Switzerland) enclose them in parentheses.  I don't think I have ever seen this approach tried in North America.
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Re: Does anyone else prefer the AP style over USPS state abbreviations?
« Reply #86 on: August 26, 2018, 08:35:50 PM »

Regarding signing out of state cities, I'd just as soon sign it the same as an in-state city unless doing so would cause confusion (as Vancouver would in Washington, for example).
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Road Hog

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Re: Does anyone else prefer the AP style over USPS state abbreviations?
« Reply #87 on: August 26, 2018, 09:19:45 PM »

AP style has largely gotten rid of state abbreviations in print nowadays and specifies spelling out the state (i.e. Lancaster, Pennsylvania). The exception is in datelines.
« Last Edit: August 26, 2018, 09:26:00 PM by Road Hog »
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kalvado

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Re: Does anyone else prefer the AP style over USPS state abbreviations?
« Reply #88 on: August 26, 2018, 10:10:29 PM »

Well, if post office allowed addresses of ActualTown, NY, ZIP things would be easier.
What actually makes things difficult is USPS's desire to correct address to PostalTown, NY, ZIP even if there is no ambiguity. Maybe mail piece would still be delivered, but address checking tools do correct it; and certain types of mass mail require checked adress.

That would correct half of the problem. The other half, however, where ZIP codes do not follow political boundaries, remains. From a data analytics perspective, this is agonizing.

A few years ago I used to maintain a spreadsheet for work that had a list of locations we needed to have someone go pay a visit to. These locations needed to be sorted by county in order to assign who went where. I had initially started doing so manually, but it quickly occurred to me "hey, I have the address, I can probably write a lookup formula for this"... I then started collecting data to try and build this and realized it was impossible since, nope, you can't singularly tell what county an address is in based on its ZIP code - some ZIP codes contain parts of more than one county. So I had to keep looking up and typing the county names in manually for each site.

I suppose I could have fudged it and assigned ZIP codes which straddled the line to whichever county it looked like the majority of it was in and called it good, but that's just not tidy.
If ActualTown is used as part of an address, then you would be able to use that for political sorting... Also not fully immune to issues with preferred/acceptable addressing, but political towns tend to be entirely within a county. Although there are examples of deeper mess as well.
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