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Sunday, October 10, 2010

Two Evils Name Registry (or, Auntie Social 4 EVA)

This has become increasingly relevant and just too pertinent to put off any longer. I continually am asked “Auntie! When do we get to register our names?” – And what they mean is register their roller derby names on the widely recognized national roller derby registry at twoevils.org. I’ve been putting the question off because I have a personal beef with the name registry and am kind of at a loss about what to do. But now I have to make a decision as a league president, on behalf of my team and in their best interest, as to how we are going to handle names. If it were a perfect world, every roller girl would be brilliantly clever and no duplicates would ever occur. And as we all know, all roller girls are not brilliantly clever. Err… I mean, it is not a perfect world. So the time has come for an alternative to the current method to be introduced.

            The way I see it, when you’re good enough, you don’t follow the rules, you make the rules. This may sound like a tall order coming from a brand new league but humor me. If East Bay Roller Derby were good enough, athletic enough, entertaining enough and innovative enough, it wouldn’t matter if the national roller girl name registry said my name was too much like someone else’s. WFTDA wouldn’t matter. None of it would…because we’d set the standard. I’m sick of doing it other people’s way, I’m done. No one is going to try and tell me I’m not good enough to make the rules, because their rules suck.

If you don’t know, the Two Evils Name Registry was created by Paige Burner of Arizona Roller Derby, Soylent Mean of Minnesota Roller girls and Jelly HoNut also of Arizona RD, and is maintained on a “volunteer basis.” Its purpose was designed to “ensure that all rollergirls feel rewarded for their creativity by maintaining exclusiveness for their names.” The two evils site has a list of “rules” they ‘enforce’, for example: “Similar names are strongly discouraged, and not allowed without permission from the original skater(s). WRITTEN permission is required, as it is common for skaters to claim they have permission when they do not.” In addition, “the following will be rejected:
  • Names that are too generic (ie, "Rollergirl", "Skater", etc.)
  • Names that begin with possessives (ie, "Your Worst Nightmare", "Her Bad Day", etc.)
  • Names that end in verbs (ie, "Speed Skater" is okay, but not "Speed Skating")
  • "First" names where First Name / Last Name combos already exist. (ie, no plain "Anne", "Betty", "Cherry", etc.)”

If all these rules are not enough, your name can still be rejected just for the hell of it. Yep, that’s right. They have a We Reserve the Right to Refuse Service to Anyone disclaimer. It comes in the form of “Even if you meet all name requirements, rejection is still at the discretion of the roster maintainers.” And I find it irony in its truest form when they have the foresight to mention, “It's OK to have a common team theme, as everyone understands that there are only so many appropriate themes to go around” but then seem incapable of going a step further and realizing there are only so many viable roller girl names to go around. Keep in mind there are 631 registered amateur roller derby teams (www.derbyroster.com) and the number is constantly growing. With at least 12 skaters per team, that’s 7,572 registered rollergirls. Tell me, with roller derby being the fastest growing women’s sport in America, how sustainable is this registry? 
Can someone come up with a 40,001 
best ROLLER DERBY names plz? Kthx. 

I have always felt this registry was sort of malarkey, but I tried to jump through their bureaucratic hoops, you know, to make things easier on everyone. I even had my name plea created all ready to send to Ann T. Social. But they didn’t respect my individuality they screwed me. I am not being rewarded for my creativity; I’m being punished for their disorganization and lack of professionalism. First, let’s back up a little bit; let me give you some history of Auntie Social. I was originally registered on the National Roller Girl Registry in the spring of 2006 with the NorCal RollerGirls. Believe it or not, I don’t care, at the time, there were no other “Auntie” themed names, I was the first. I was under the impression I had made up “Auntie Social” on a long car drive with my brother, (the memory of which is now very near and dear to my heart). By 2008 NCRG re-registered their roster and I, no longer on it, dropped off the National Roller Girl Name registry, but I have been skating under the name Auntie Social with several leagues for 5 years straight. The registry doesn’t dictate whether or not I’m Auntie Social, I do. (Not to mention my documented history as Auntie Social with say, this blog, my several pieces of artwork claiming this intellectual property, [including all my uniforms] and a facebook page, among other things). 

Nonetheless, I tried. Ann T. Social apparently skates with the Tampa Bay Derby Darlins and was registered in March of 2006, around the time I was first registered as Auntie Social. Despite the fact that I was not contacted by her at that time, the registry now tells me my name is far too similar to hers, warranting written permission in order for me to register mine. I have tried repeatedly to get in contact with the Tampa Bay Derby Darlins’, those maintaining the name registry, and Ann T. Social herself, all to no avail.  I was quite frustrated that after I e-mailed the registry on August 9th and the 15th with detailed information regarding my name and league, I did not receive any answer back. I did however receive automated responses explaining the registry was backed up and they were still working on submissions from February 15th-28th, (it was mid August). However, when one of my skaters e-mailed the registry on her own, asking to submit her name, she got a very speedy personalized response explaining to her that her league president needed to contact them, (ie. ME). Coincidentally, they actually recommend on their website that you “please archive the emails that you send in. This will help in the case of possible future name disputes.” Ha. I’ll say! 

And I’m not the only one who sees there is a problem. Because the registry recommends that you “make sure that your skater(s) are really committed to your league before putting their names on the roster” AND explains that because “updates are processed on a first-come-first-serve basis…a name that wasn't on the master roster when you submitted it…might be rejected because somebody sent the name in a day earlier”, time and time again skaters go months under one moniker before being informed they must change it. And like I mentioned, the registry could take 6 months or more to get around to processing your name request. Roller girls get very attached to their alter egos, and it’s a very emotional ordeal once one realizes they have to retire that side of them. As a ref and previous Ewen What Army exclaimed: “I have just received the news that my alter ego has met its demise!” And a disheartened would-be Belinda Scarlisle said, “Why try?  It seems too many months go by and they just get taken…wasted money on shirts, everything …sigh. –wonder WHEN exactly my name was ever entered”. 
my name is, ..my name is..

It’s a big blow and crushing reality to have to ask permission or worse, change your name all together. Complaints about the name registry typically come in the form of disappointed skaters upon discovering their name is taken, but most still respect the nature of the game. One skater said, “It does suck your shirts are made- I totally feel you! So just don’t have shirts made again until whatever name you choose is accepted.” Ya. Way to have her back there, friend. Some skaters do recognize the general air of inequality about the whole thing. A fan chimed in to the name conversation coming to our entire defense saying, “With so many leagues popping up something is going to have to be done with duplicates. We will run out of good names!” Skater Wrath Child however tells it straight: “that whole name process seems ass backwards”.
Tesla Turbine, another fellow skater and one of my co-founders, whose name was snatched up and registered after she skated with it for nearly a year, joked that we should just start our own website called “ThreeEvils.org” and simply start registering our own lot of skaters. Now, we would NEVER do anything that vindictive. It just illustrates the point that, well, …anyone, (and no one) has the authority to do so.
I get sad when I hear of my friends’ disappointment over and over again that their name was “taken”. And it just doesn’t seem right. After all, who do these people think they are? So upon much deliberation, I have chosen to justify in writing why I’m not going to hold my skaters to their arbitrary rules.

Dear Two Evils Name Registry,

I don’t TRY to stir things up. I will go with the flow if it seems reasonable. But you have gone too far and I have to put my foot down. In the beginning I gave you the benefit of the doubt and played your game. I was going to jump through your hoops and I did try repeatedly to contact you. I assumed your legitimacy, as does everyone else, respected and “appreciated the spirit of the roster,” as you so unjustifiably request despite the fact that you have no authority to do so. I am hereby letting you know that I AM USING THE NAME AUNTIE SOCIAL. If you take issue with that, you can contact ME.
            For the sake of my league’s reputation and to keep the peace amongst other roller girls I tried to play by your rules. But you are not professionals. You are not anything. Roller Derby’s popularity and success has blown up and the number of leagues is growing exponentially since you have started the registry and now you are all in over your heads. You need to relinquish your duties as heads of the roster because you are no longer able to perform the tasks required. It is unreasonable to ask me to wait up to 6 months to get a response from you. I understand that I am not currently affiliated with a registered league, but in my opinion, if you have your organization together you could check your database, see the history and realize I am a 5-year veteran of the sport who is a legitimate free agent.
            Just an FYI: No one can issue a copyright or trademark but the U.S. government. Oh sure, but your website never MANDATES skaters follow your rules, you only ask kindly to “make sure that none of your skaters appropriate the names of the hard-working skaters who are trying their best to make roller derby a success.” That’s all. But as roller girl Chrome Molly says “be respectful, but demand respect”. In all honesty, I was merely going along with it for so long to be PC, but your inaction has forced me to take matters into my own hands. I am not respecting your arbitrary names list. I’m telling you right now, you have no right to strip me of my name. It’s mine. I AM AUNTIE SOCIAL. (©Copyright 2010, bitchez.)  
I have included suggestions for you as to how you can remedy some of the recent problems that have arisen due to the sport’s growth as well as accommodate your registry’s original intent to reward skaters for their creativity. However, I do not know how to help you with your time management problem and inability to return e-mails. You’ll have to work on that.

A little on saying what you mean and meaning what you say - (in other words, how your system could work but doesn’t). Some helpful hints:

1)   Keep up to date with the registry at all times if you are going to demand the respect and legitimacy of a reputable organization.  In the beginning you asked people to cut you slack because the list was maintained on a volunteer basis, but now your registry simply does not meet the needs of our increasingly popular and ever evolving sport. Get with the times.

2)   Now that the sport has grown so big that keeping an accurate registry has become unmanageable, perhaps exclusivity should be based on skating ability or region. Don’t get me wrong, I would love to be the only skater who has the name or anything remotely similar to Auntie Social, but that’s just not reasonable. And a better point is, if you are going to insist that only ONE skater in the entire nation be registered under a name, shouldn't skating ability dictate and not ‘first come first serve’? Believe me, I would gladly skate Ann T. Social in a duel for the name. OR, how about splitting the U.S. into four regions, or even more- and allowing one of each name per region? In the unlikely event that a Punky Bruiser from one region shall say meet with another Punky Brewser of another in competition, one can simply bow down and change her name for that bout. Or god forbid, they do nothing, and the audience gets a kick out of the additional on-the-track rivalry. It wouldn’t be that bad. Honestly.

This of course, is just my two cents, and clearly my opinion is of no consequence. After all, I’m going to keep using my name regardless. I just thought you could use the help.

Good Luck,
Auntie Social

As much as I take issue with the name registry, obviously some skaters disagree. I mean, I could still keep trying to get my name registered, it’s not like there is another Auntie Social, (yet). But it’s futile, and I don’t believe in it. One of my long time friends Loose Cannon of NCRG however, completely endorses the registry. She recently received an e-mail from an aspiring Lucy Cannon asking her for permission to use the name and she declined. She said No Way Jose. I was pretty shocked and when I asked her about it she said something to the effect of, “Are you kidding me? Of course I said no. I don’t want someone mistaking her for me! I’ve been skating with this name for FIVE years and what if she goes to RollerCon or something and someone thinks she is me? Uh-uh, No way. Hey man, this sport is cut throat.” And she is right about one thing, the whole derby name persona/alter ego thing IS pretty cut throat. So I’m telling you right here, right now: what you think is protecting your intellectual property isn’t really protecting you at all. And being that this sport is cut throat, you best go and get legal rights to that shit before somebody else snaps it up. Hey, cut throat.

Have a Derby Day,
(The Original)
Auntie Social 


  1. I actually agree with you about the register, Auntie. It's a huge fucking deal in other sports to retire a number, and some girl who who skate for less than a year gets to claim a name and prevent anyone else in the entire nation to use it? that's some second grade shizz.

    1. I have TRYING with no AVAIL to register my entire league! And NO ONE has gotten back to me. Some of the skaters are worried they are going to lose their names. I told them look you skate in Australia, I HIGHLY doubt we will ever skate against someone in the USA, NO ONE from the webmaster @ Twoevils has never answered my emails (and I sent several) and I REALLY don't care if they do! TWOEVILS can SUCK EGGS! I am keeping my name along with everyone else in my league!

  2. Thanks for agreeing and being bold enough to post a comment. I appreciate it! (=

  3. I agree with you, its stupid that so much is put on this list without it actually meaning anything. I can't register my name as a man in the US has it. It popped up after I'd checked and I contacted the team but never got a response. Then I thought - I don't care! I'm keeping my name. I'm in the UK and find it highly unlikely that we'll play an American mixed team. We love our names and shouldn't have to check the entire world just because someone decided we should.x
    (Hello Titty)

  4. On the one hand, I agree. As someone who got shit from a Denver skater when she got wind of my first derby name and claimed it was similar enough to hers that she'd petition twoevils to deny it should I try to register it... only to find out that someone else got there first so I was shit out of luck, I get it. The delicious irony of it all? That second skater was only on fresh meat at the time, and according to a friend on that league she is no longer skating. BALLS.

    On the other hand: I found a better name, started skating AND traveling with it so whenever people hear it they think of me. This one got on the registry oh... only a year later. So sorry to the Chrome Molly you linked to, but... I'M CHROME MOLLY BITCHEZ! :)

  5. Haha! I've skated against Hello Titty. He seems pretty down-to-earth and I doubt he'd be upset that you're using his name. Also, he skates Old School Derby Association (rather than WFTDA), and we in the OSDA have a separate name database, which brings up the point again, what's to stop you from creating your own, for the UK?

    ~Deevious von Doom

  6. my rec league has started our own names roster. we've told our members - ladies who never intend to bout with a derby regular league - to check our registry, as well as the two local leagues', and if something really similar is not already taken, go for it.
    if there is any inkling they may try out for the big leagues some day, then we suggest they check twoevils before falling in love with a name; and even then, don't hold your breath.

  7. I like the way you think Queen B. Actually, I like the way all of you think. Cheers.

  8. Meh, Two Evils has outgrown its usefulness. I've been "Darkjester" since loooooong before derby, but because I was a volunteer Ref and Referee's aren't required to 'register' but is optional, my league never did.. So two years after being active on various forums, ref boards, skate boards, etc., someone in Australia registers Darkjester? Do you think I'm actually worried people will confuse us? Hell no..

    In fact, I've decided I'm going to get ref jersey's with EVERY cool name I think of.
    Judge Whoppin'er
    Madness Tolls
    Swampy McNutts ( we practice in an un-airconditioned gym in Florida..)

  9. I AGREE.


    there are a lot of names on that list for skaters who no longer play and never made much of a name for themselves even in their own city, let alone nation, continent, or world wide. But those names or similar names remain off limits because the leagues they skated for can't be arsed to reply to emails. Between that and having to wait over half a year to even hear back, two evils can suck my dick.

  10. While on one hand I agree, the name list has become unmanageable, I have to say when there were only a thousand derby girls in the country it made a lot of sense. We all knew, or knew of each other, and it was just bad manners. There also used to be an unwritten rule that simply said 'don't be a douchebag'. Many things seem to have changed in the last 6,7 years.

    Paige and the other ladies didn't start the name list. They took it over from another highly overworked derby girl, I think right before WFTDA had it's first meeting, and have been trying maintain it in some way ever since. It sucks that your name somehow got dropped, and as someone who used to do the names for my league, I understand the frustration.

    That said- if you want to use my name, I'm gonna call you douchebag.

    Crash Baby
    mostly retired
    Detroit Derby Girls

  11. The backlog at twoevils.org has only gotten worse, I've been waiting well over a year for a yes or no from them, as many girls on my team have been. It's mainly just frustrating, and most of us don't care any more. When the list to go out to twoevils.org goes around, we snort and go on with our endurance training. My last name I sent in might go through, or it might now. I don't care anymore. The wait kills it. I'm seriously considering just going by my number.

  12. I just stumbled onto your blog and I'm glad to see that others feel the same way. As a freshmeat skater I try to respect those that came before me and I really wanted to follow the "rules." However, I knew about the backlog before I even tried out. Once I made it, the powers to be in my league (one of the founding WFTDA leagues) basically said to pick a name that wasn't on the list and go with it. We can't be expected to wait for 6+ months for an answer. Especially when the system could be automated so you have an answer within minutes (several people have suggested having something that's works the way a forum registration would, but I'm not tech savvy).
    So you can guess what happened next. The other skater and/or her league won't return my emails. She is not only in another country, but on another continent. I don't forsee playing against her any time soon. I'm not trying to be an ass, but I'm keeping the name. Several people have tried guilting me and telling me it's not fair to her. True, but is it fair to me? I may be freshmeat, but I am an experienced skater so I am already bouting on home teams and our B team. I just found out last weekend that I have fans!! I also help out our marketing group so my skater name is out there in the community.
    It's not like I am asking to use a popular or "famous" skater's name. I think if anyone tries to the league shouldn't allow anyone to register names like that. They worked hard not only to earn that name, but likely in establishing their league as well.

  13. Wow. Perhaps I can add to the intrigue/frustration. My skate-name/alter-ego is "Annie Social", and I skated in Austin from the very beginning in 2001 through 2005, and then again with the rec league in 2007. Now I have started a roller derby league in Eindhoven, the Netherlands, and after already being featured in 2 news articles here (and countless book/film/other media from years ago in the States) as Annie Social, I got a response from Two Evils months after submitting the info from our league saying simply "Could not add Annie Social. All others added"

    I wrote a frustrated response back, asking for more information, which actually led me to finding your blog (was only aware of Ann T. Social as an obstacle beforehand). It read:
    "Hi Annie,

    I'd love to just add your name but cannot without clearance from Tampa Bay and Spindletop (who rec'd permission from Tampa Bay recently).

    If I were to make an exception, I'd have to make an exception for the other girl who says she's been skating under the name for the last 5 years. I'd also have to explain to everyone else why I made an exception for you and not them.

    I can wholeheartedly understand where you are coming from but I hope you can also understand my position."

    They must be referring to you. So you did get clearance? How does this written permission work? I am in Europe and we have a new league - I can't imagine that I would be skating against either of you in the near future. I would be happy to be called "Miss Social" by an announcer if we did ever encounter each other, and I know since I was inactive on and off I can't pull seniority, but I am in IMD (from Hell on Wheels), my ass is on the cover of the Rollergirl book, track lights were originally my idea (as were countless other things in the first few years, both stupid and useful), I was the first to write my name and number on my arms in permanent marker and the first to wear red and white striped knee socks (both of which I have read are now "roller derby cliches"). Ok, I know this is ridiculous. I just want to use my name in Europe, and it sucks that it is no longer definitively my name. I could give a shit less about variations on the same theme, but I just want to continue to be Annie Social with no issue. Isn't it just as likely that someone could get you or Ann T. Social confused with me? Or am I being ridiculous. Shall we all forget about the master roster?

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  18. How embarassing - every time I submitted a post last night it gave an error message abd they didn't show up - prompting me to rewrite them (under the influence of a bit of wine) - until eventually all the messages appeared at once. Sorry for gunking up your blog. I was, and still am pissed off about the idea that I can either blow off the master list or create a new persona, but I would be interested in hearing your opinion.

  19. After reading your blog post it sort of clicked for my league that we didn't have to jump through those hoops! I think you may have started a movement...

    Here is our story explained much less eloquently:


  20. if you care, ann t. social is up for grabs as of 4.21

  21. Wow, I have a lot of love for this post.

    Even though twoevils is considered a national registry, leagues from all over the world are being encouraged (or forced) to comply with it, which adds another level of unfair.

    Honestly, the chances of [NAME] from Country A and [NAME] from Country B bouting together are practically none

  22. you know, WFTDA rules say nothing about names...just NUMBERS, as it should be. How many Smiths play football??? eh?

  23. I am soooo glad to read this, as I know more than a few girls who have had problems with the roster both within my league and my state.

    I live in Victoria, Australia. This is a fair distance away from most derby-playing countries!

    I spent about 9-10 months of brainstorming to find a name that worked for me AND wasn't taken on the registry - and to be honest I'm actually ok with that as annoying as it was at the time, as I didn't want to use anyone else's name, that would just make me a jerk. In that time, more than a few girls I know have have had to change their names because they got rejected from twoevils... you know what? Fuck them.

    One skater I knnow in another league has to write to a girl in the states to get permission? Fuck that. If you came up with the name yourself, it's yours! If I find out someone else has the same name as me? Good for them! Unless they stole it, in which case they can (and will) kiss my ass on the track.

    Our league simply doesn't bother with the INTERNATIONAL list, as they take too long, and it ruins the morale of skaters who have to choose a new name, not to mention the people around them. And if anyone wants to challenge me on my name, our copyright laws are pretty simple - I have prior use, including photos to prove it.

    So thanks Auntie Social, for saying what's on the minds of more than a few in the derby world - the list doesn't work anymore, the ethos is important but the list is just not useable anymore (especially considering it's become a world-wide list not 'just' a national list)

  24. Love your post,

    I play for a small team in Canada, Northern Alberta in fact. I was lucky, my first try my name was accepted but have had a few girls on my team have to try 3 or 4 times. I think it is silly. Expectably when you name is rejected because some man in Australia has a name too close to the one you want. When are we a team from Alberta Canada going to play a men’s house team from Australia . I can tell you, never! Why doesn’t each country start their own “Derby Name Registry” each country registry could still reject the famous names, I am sure no registry will accept “Skinny Minnie Miller” lol.

  25. It's super funny. I am merely an organizer of a youth derby league. I have never been able to skate due to health issues. I have always been strictly a volunteer. I started contacting twoevils since June 2010 offering my volunteer services. Never once did I hear back from them. My junior leagues still try to register their names, but if it doesn't work out, oh well. By the time they might be skating against any of the adults that have names "too similar", the adults will probably be retired!

    Organ Eyez Errr (name registered, but spelled wrong, can't get them to correct it...)

  26. Okay, this post was from 2010, and I'm just seeing it now...but it is really relevant as we are still going through this in my local league. I am on name #3, and it is absurd. I have given up on the registry- and then a friend pointed me to this post. So, cheers for you!! :)

    I did write to the player of my first name that I wanted. She has been retired over 8 years. But, you know, "might want to skate again someday" And I got a lengthy e-mail from the owner of my 2nd choice name (again close, not the same) about how her name was a political statement and she didn't want it to be misconstrued if I were to use it in a way that didn't align with her thoughts. For real.

    So, balls to the list. My 3rd name will be my forever name! Thanks Auntie!!
    -Bloody Mhairi

  27. So I'm REALLY late to comment on this post LOL but I completely agree. If the registry is so far behind and is handing names over left and right, maybe they need to organize themselves before they move forward. I'm fairly new to Roller Derby and I wouldn't want for someone else's name to be taken. I've been trying to register my name for a few months now and I still haven't seen it on the registry, but I saw one closely similar to mine. Now I'm wondering if they'll even take mine...oh well, it'll be MY name anyway! =)
    *~*Lady MacDeath*~*

  28. Does anybody know what's happening with that list? I saw that there were a couple of articles in the Texas Law Review last summer about it, and that the creator and "current" administrator had been interviewed in late-April. The list has not been updated since June 2012. I'm curious as to what the deal is. I learned that WFTDA is not involved with the list in any way, so I wonder if the list has run itself off of a cliff.