I'm designing a data transmission pattern template for some Arduino development, and I want to designate a field in the data to describe the purpose and status of that packet of data. Before transmission it'd be used to describe if the packet is empty or malformed, and during transmission that same space would be used to convey the purpose of the packet. I'd like it to be an extensible but sensible field, so I want to name it appropriately so users don't stash information in it that ought to be stored somewhere else.

This value will always be included in the packet header, whereas the payload (contents of the packet) is optional.

Some earlier considerations:

  • META - describes itself, possibly too broadly
  • FLAGS - used to indicate a set of true-false values, not a single complex value
  • STATUS - doesn't imply that this field also describes the intent of a packet
  • how 'bout info. However, variable naming (and similar) is off-topic here though.
    – Jim
    Commented Jun 3, 2015 at 0:18
  • This name is going into documentation, not (strictly) source code.
    – mcornell
    Commented Jun 3, 2015 at 0:23
  • 1
    What do you mean by "purpose"? The purpose of any packet is to transmit information. Do you mean "protocol"? Or maybe "type"? Or the nature of the "data" contained within the packet? Packets belonging to a single protocol may have different types, and contain different data. I think you have a conceptual problem, not a semantic one. Clarify the concept and the word will probably become obvious.
    – aaa90210
    Commented Jun 3, 2015 at 0:51
  • Although heavily overloaded, "type" might fit here. Pre-transmission, packet type will be empty or malformed, and during transmission, packet type can be purpose. Commented Jun 3, 2015 at 1:59

1 Answer 1


A field which might indicate either the intended purpose of the packet or the error status of the packet could be called the disposition of the packet.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.