Local council in England to remove apostrophes from road signs because Computer Says No

North Yorkshire Council is unilaterally altering English grammar because its database is frightened of apostrophes. Accordingly, the pesky punctuation marks are being removed from road signs going forward. St. Mary's Walk will be signposted as St Marys Walk, and so forth. Upset locals are physically adding apostrophes with marker pens—though they don't seem to have noticed the missing period after "St."

A new St Mary's Walk sign … had been erected in the town with no apostrophe. However, it had since been altered to include one by an unknown hand with a pen. She said, "I walk past the sign every day and it riles my blood to see inappropriate grammar or punctuation." The former teacher said she thought it was "brilliant" someone had added the punctuation mark. She said that she spent time teaching children the basics of grammar only for it now to be abandoned on street signs.

This is a nice simple illustration of a complicated problem that seems to plague the UK: essential services trapped inside the hacky, decaying, unmaintainable, unaccountable Enterprise Resource Planning systems they were fed to years ago. These tend to remake insitutions in their own image over time, replacing workers with talkers until everything meets the needs of the system. No apostrophe in the computer, no apostrophe on the sign. Computer says no.

The jobsworths responsible for "St Marys" claim that they are bound by relevant industry standards which require apostrophes to be abandoned.

A spokesperson added: "All punctuation will be considered but avoided where possible because street names and addresses, when stored in databases, must meet the standards set out in BS7666.

However, the organization producing the standards has publicly made clear that the standards do not require this.

GeoPlace does not advise that councils include or remove punctuation in official naming or on the street name plate. Street naming and numbering is a council policy decision.

You only have to think about it for one second to see how completely stupid it is. Even if they do have to store the street name in the database without an apostrophe, which is entirely believable given that the whole country now runs on Fujitsu Horizon, that doesn't mean that the machine operator hammering out the fucking signs has to skip it too.

The only way out is catastrophic failure. It strikes me that North Yorkshire Council hasn't yet been toured by my new punk band, Injection Vector feat. Little Bobby Tables.

P.S. Marys was my favorite Game of Thrones character and it was stupid they killed them off.