Philosophy · 28 June 2014 · Ian Malpass

An accidental Argentinian

So, sometimes I’m mistaken for an Argentinian government agency.

I know what you’re thinking: “Ian, it could happen to anyone”. Perhaps you’re right.

For years now I’ve been “indec” in most online forums (to the extent that I sometimes find myself signing up for new services purely to reserve the nick—it’s a painful moment when I can’t get my identity of choice later on). I bought at the point where dictionary word dot-com names were getting harder to come by, and was happy with it. But the first IRC server I logged on to (, if memory serves) had an eight character nick limit, and so I truncated to indec. So it goes.

When I joined Twitter, of course I chose @indec. I’d get the usual spam about buying followers and suchlike, but then occasionally I’d find someone would “RT” something I hadn’t actually tweeted, usually in Spanish. It was a little odd and perplexing but I gave it no particular mind because, well, Twitter.

Eventually, though, my curiosity got the better of me and I replied back to one of these RTers, asking what was going on. It turns out that in Argentina there exists the Instituto Nacional de Estadística y Censos, or INDEC. This is the agency responsible for collecting and processing statistical data for Argentina—inflation rates and so forth. What makes it interesting is that it is commonly assumed that all of the statistics it produces are wrong and overly optimistic to suit the whims of the current political powers.

It’s a fascinating glimpse into a different political culture, but it doesn’t half mess up my notifications….