Talk:bums in seats

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bums in seats[edit]

Two of the three cites do not match the claim that this is a noun meaning "Spectators, passengers, or customers in attendance", as they use put bums in seats without indicating where those bums in seats will be put.​—msh210 (talk) 19:27, 31 August 2010 (UTC)

It may be a little awkward, but they put/place/situate customers in a state of attendance. Works well enough for me. -- Ghost of WikiPedant 19:34, 31 August 2010 (UTC)
OK, I extended the defn a little bit. Does that help? -- Ghost of WikiPedant 19:41, 31 August 2010 (UTC)
"Bums on seats" is vastly more common. Singular exists, less commonly. Also, less commonly, "into", "onto", and "bums and seats". DCDuring TALK 20:13, 31 August 2010 (UTC)
Very interesting, DC. I don't think I've ever heard "bums on seats" here in Canada, but a Google news archive search certainly confirms that it is much used by Brits and Aussies. I'll do an alt form entry. -- Ghost of WikiPedant 21:06, 31 August 2010 (UTC)
I wasn't too familiar with it either, but was wondering just how variable the construction was. DCDuring TALK 13:58, 1 September 2010 (UTC)
I see what msh210 is saying. "Put bums in seats" is not "put { bums { in seats } }", but rather "put { bums } { in seats }". "In seats" is not an adjectival attaching to "bums", but rather a complement to "put". "Get bums in seats" is technically ambiguous, but I think it's the same. See google:"bums onto seats", "bums into seats"; contrast google:"seated bums", "sitting bums", "bums with seats". —RuakhTALK 14:32, 1 September 2010 (UTC)
True, true, Ruakh. I understood and understand the distinction. If someone says "we need bums in seats" then "in seats" is an adjectival phrase modifying the noun "bums", and if someone says "we've got to come up with a strategy to put bums in seats" then "in seats" is an adverbial phrase modifying the verb "put". Maybe all of this could go into a usage note, but I tried to write the defn so that it was ambiguous enough to cover either kind of usage and, even if there is a bit of a double take involved for anyone who looks closely, the entry works well enough for me as is. (I suppose the only good alternative strategy would be to create 2 separate entries, one for bums in seats and one for put bums in seats, but that opens the door to a lot of alt forms.) -- Ghost of WikiPedant 15:33, 1 September 2010 (UTC)
Maybe have bums in seats called a =Phrase=, a member of category:English non-constituents, and defined as "Spectators, passengers, or customers, in attendance" (with the comma before "in", to my mind at least, showing the non-noun-ness of the phrase). Or something. In any event, if we keep it at its current title we should probably redirect to it from the common VPs.​—msh210 (talk) 16:00, 1 September 2010 (UTC)
But it can also be a simple noun phrase, ie, a constituent.
Semantically, conceptually the core elements of the construction are "bums" and "seats". They can be put together is quite a few ways. Any of the static forms work as a noun phrase, ie, linked by "and", "in", or "on", as in "It's all about "bums (and, in, on) seats.", "Bums in seats is the name of the game.". These can be after many copulas. Some verbs ("have", "keep") work with the static prepositions. Other verbs work with all four prepositions ("get", "put"). Others only with the dynamic ones ("lure", "draw", "pull"). There are singular versions. I don't think I've exhausted the possibilities.
IOW, there is a construction lurking that we cannot remotely call a set phrase and which doesn't fit well (AFAICT) on the procrustean bed of our entry structure. "Bums and seats", "bums in seats", and "bums on seats" should suffice to ensnare most searches for one of the constructions. I wonder whether this wouldn't be a good construction to put in an Appendix and have some of the collocations have {{only in}} or a redirect take the user to it. This would allow much more flexibility in titling the page and establishing a correspondence to other languages expression of the concept (NOT the words). DCDuring TALK 17:12, 1 September 2010 (UTC)
Who would have thought, DC, that a harmless, dumb-ass little expression like "bums in seats" would so strain our lexicographic brains? -- Ghost of WikiPedant 17:21, 1 September 2010 (UTC)
This is an extension of the problem we have always had with constructions with multiple slots. Usually it is grammaticized elements that are fixed. This time both open-class elements (for "bums": "fannies", "butts") and some grammatical elements ("in, "on", "and"), as well as verbal complements (copulas, "get", "put", etc) are variable to some extent. There is something idiomatic, but it seems to require the machinery of w:Construction grammar to address it completely. We don't have to address it completely. We could come up with some way of helping users that violated some less-essential practices and kept within our entry structure. But we already have rejected many proposed entries that could possibly be addressed better by an appendix with redirects than our traditional entry layout. I should be able to find them by searching for "X", "Y", "NP", "VP" and similar abbreviations. DCDuring TALK 20:25, 1 September 2010 (UTC)
The word I was looking for is snowclone, but I think it is pejorative. I prefer "construction" until someone shows me the error of my ways. DCDuring TALK 20:56, 1 September 2010 (UTC)
Note that this problem is specific to us. Other dictionaries don't have this problem, because they use run-in entries under key words. For example, an entry for right might contain a run-in entry for right angle, or an entry for vintage might contain a run-in entry for vintage car. Even if the user was looking the word up because the text they were reading used “right or obtuse angle” or “vintage Cadillac”, they will notice the run-in entry and be able to make use of it. Here, however, we more or less expect users to predict the exact form that our entry-name will take. I've even seen editors remove a sense from the entry for a singular noun because the sense is found exclusively (or almost exclusively) in the plural, as though someone looking up the word were supposed to just magically know that! —RuakhTALK 21:39, 1 September 2010 (UTC)
I think I remember doing that kind of thing myself (I hope not lately.).
I agree that the problem is somewhat different if one has run-in entries, but only if one's overall layout is also compact. Our "derived terms" are supposed to provide that kind of help, too. Unfortunately, users have to click once to unhide them (if they even get that) and again (with latency) to get just one of the DTs. Print dictionaries were subject to the discipline of economizing on the length and number of definitions and the number of headwords. The also where either a monolingual dictionary or a bilingual dictionary, very rarely multi-lingual and focused on some particular class of users. This gives them an edge now in the online world. The have the skills to address user cognitive limitations: what needs to be economized is user attention. The fantasy that we have no limits is extremely destructive when combined with our lack of information about users and possibly the motivation to serve them.
I am not so sure that our current competition, print or online, does a good job on snowclones. A one-line run-in entry does not do justice to something like the present case. That users need for us to "do justice" to them is probably unlikely. We might benefit from experimenting with alternative presentation formats to gain insight into how to provide users some help with constructions. Perhaps we can figure out some tweaks of our layout or use JS to make a more effective presentation to various types of anons. DCDuring TALK 22:47, 1 September 2010 (UTC)

g something precisely and thoroughly at a "deep" level. Sometimes it helps us learn and thereby do a better job for users. Often users are not helped directly.

Is this OK? Am I correct in assuming the offending cites just need to be removed? -- Prince Kassad 14:25, 5 March 2011 (UTC)