Person A sent an email to several people, including to me and to Person B. I responded by clicking “Reply to All” in GMail. I didn’t notice that Person A had Person B identified in her contact list by a different name than I do. (i.e., the address line, “John Doe” <firstname.lastname@example.org>, indicating Person B‘s name and email address, had something different in the quotation marks in her email than it would have in mine, based on the names we respectively use for Person B in our contact lists.)
Since I clicked “Reply to All,” I sent an email to Person B, and though I didn’t realize it, GMail copied Person A‘s recipients exactly, and therefore re-saved Person B‘s contact information into my contact list, but now with the name that Person A had used for him. Do you see where this is going?
My computer is set to sync my address book with my GMail contacts. And to sync with my iPhone.
I hadn’t noticed any of this had happened until sometime after I found that Person B seemed to have vanished from my iPhone. He had not vanished, however, and I later happened upon him, stunned, since he was identified not by his legal name nor by any diminutive that I would use for him, but rather by a pet-name used between him and Person A. It was not immediately obvious how the hell that possibly could have happened.
It is easy to imagine that this could lead to awkward situations.