If you didn’t already know (I didn’t), “Voldemorting” is where you don’t use a thing’s name when talking about that thing. (There are slight Harry Potter spoilers ahead, so consider yourself warned.)

This article talks about “Voldemorting” within the context of SEO: if you don’t want search engines to pick up your site as having talked about a subject, then don’t use that subject’s name. It’s a way of denying traffic and revenue to sites that perhaps you don’t want to give the attention to.

There is a point late in the Harry Potter books where the villain, Voldemort, uses magic to determine when and where people mention his name. His followers only ever refer to him as “The Dark Lord,” so this is a sure-fire way to find those who fight against him.

This is an interesting turn of events, because those who fought against Voldemort initially were too afraid to mention him by name. Often he was referred to as “he-who-must-not-be-named” or “You Know Who.” It was only gradually that wizards and witches (aside from Harry himself and those closest to him) became — well, not comfortable, but at least familiar — with referring to Voldemort by name. As said by the headmaster of Hogwarts himself:

Fear of a name increases fear of the thing itself.

Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore

For me, this brings back memories of Namine’s first foot surgeon. It was for good reason that we referred to Dr. John Thometz as “he-who-must-not-be-named”: for quite a long time, Namine had literal panic attacks just from hearing his name. (Please note that some of the language in that linked post is quite strong. I won’t change it because it accurately reflects how I felt at the time.)

Dr. Thometz was, during that period of Namine’s life, almost entirely the sole cause and instrument of her pain. He had poor bedside manner — aside from the incorrectly-done first foot surgery, it was not uncommon for him to hurt her while examining her legs, nor did he ever attempt to comfort her. That we only discovered how badly he botched the surgery only after we switched surgeons is a testament to his dishonesty and, frankly, all-around bad doctoring (that’s a word now).

Namine no longer remembers Dr. Thometz. I don’t think she remembers the first foot surgery, because even the second one is now a blur to her. We remember, though — Jessica and I. For my part, I still get angry with Dr. Thometz when I think of him. I can’t help but wonder how things might be different for Namine’s feet, had he not screwed up like he did.

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