In Haskell, do you name every function with a
prefix that advertises the type of its return
value or one of its main arguments? No, of course
not. How do you find functions that return or use
a value of a given type? You check signatures
As for "alist", "ass(q|oc)", and the like: each
such choice has its drawbacks. But yes, some name
consistency can help, in general. But no, because
history. And no, because different uses/contexts.
The discussion was motivated by considering new
users, in particular. Well then, what does a new
user look for, when it comes to alists? Does s?he
know the term "alist"? Or is the thought about
"association"? "key-value"? "pair"? "relation"?
It has already been said that alist was a bad example. Consider process or regexp instead.
Consider `C-h f alist', with substring matching.
In my current session I get 156 candidates, all
of which are relevant to alists. Great.
If I match `ass' instead, I get 235 candidates,
many of which are about alists, but many of which
are not. If I then chip away from those matches
the matches for `class' and `pass', I get only 51
matches, of which 34 are about alists.
If I use `C-h d alist' I find 560 functions
whose doc mentions "alist".
`C-h d association list' finds 56 functions.
`C-h d assoc' finds 52 functions.
When I see this it only confuses me. Sure those are great tools to find things in a broad sense, but there are so much noise that you have to filter. The only relevant functions I'd like to find are:
assoc, rassoc, assq, alist-get, rassq, assoc-default, copy-alist, assq-delete-all, assoc-delete-all, rassq-delete-all
Anything else listed there is noise IMHO, except if searching in a broad scope.