For a piece of software, I am in need of a term, but being non-native English speaker, I find it hard:

In the software, a person is represented as "a member (of a community)". One such member drives, or operates the software and causes (triggers) events. Those events now need a reference to "the member that triggered the event".

What would that person or member be called?

The most descriptive terms that I come up with are all clumsy, seem to miss the point, or are "in use" already:

  • "current member" - What is current? When is current?
  • "operating member" - Operating gives me the idea of a surgeon operating a patient, or a driver operating a car, but not a person clicking around in a piece of software. Is that just me?
  • Triggerer - is that even a word?
  • "user" - Common in software, but this term is already taken due to external constraints: a user means something different already.

To clarify the last: When I am "using a website" or "using an app" (or web application), I am "the user". But from the point of view of that web application, there are many users. E.g. Stackexchange (SE) has millions of users. So, when John "upvotes" something on SE, what is that particular user called? The "upvoter" is most specific, in this example. But would there be a more generic term for "the person causing the upvote to happen"?

Since it is used in software to name methods and classes, it is hard to give a sentence, but I'll try. I'm looking for the generic term that can replace all the specific names.

The form is "The [actor] that [caused this action], was the ... ([specific name]).

  • The person that made this specific edit, was the ... (editor)
  • The members that invited another member, was the ... (inviter)
  • The admin that locked this thread, was the ... (moderator)
  • The user that asked this question, was the ... (inquisitor)

I'd prefer a single concise term and not something combined like "acting member" if avoidable.

  • 1
    'Operator' has the prototypical sense 'one (or something) that operates [something]', but has perhaps confusing specifying definitions. Commented Oct 23, 2020 at 10:20
  • I think that *operate" is the wrong verb. The usual collocation is "to use" software.
    – Greybeard
    Commented Oct 23, 2020 at 10:29
  • You're criteria are unclear, but "user" would seem to be the closest fit.
    – Hot Licks
    Commented Oct 23, 2020 at 11:48
  • 1
    I agree the criteria are unclear. "User" itself is commonly used in this way. A user is the person interacting with the application's front-end in such ways that invoke implementations of the application. Even in the context of a specific user invoking a specific implementation, the user is still a user.
    – R Mac
    Commented Oct 23, 2020 at 13:25
  • 1
    What sentence would you use this word in? The answers will vary depending on this. (Eg I would not use “operator of the upvote” if that was the context.)
    – Laurel
    Commented Oct 23, 2020 at 17:12

2 Answers 2


We have two words for this.

1: one that operates: such as
  a: one that operates a machine or device

operator - merriam-webster.com

This is the formal of the two. Often used in government documents.

the ultimate consumer of a finished product
end user - merriam-webster.com

This is more often used in documents produced by private software development companies.

In product development, an end user (sometimes end-user) is a person who ultimately uses or is intended to ultimately use a product. The end user stands in contrast to users who support or maintain the product, such as sysops, system administrators, database administrators, information technology experts, software professionals and computer technicians.

end user - wikipedia.org

Neither word is exclusive to software.

There are many roles to play when working with software. Users who play those roles are often named after the role; e.g., user who administrates: administrator.

  • 1
    The elaboration given is slightly incorrect. End users are contrasted against admins of various sorts (configuration admin users, database admin users, network admins, etc.), but most of these various roles are inclusive to the broader group "users". Any customer that uses any component of the software in any way is a user, while end users, config users, and so on are all just specific kinds of users.
    – R Mac
    Commented Oct 23, 2020 at 13:29

"the member that triggered the event"


The instigator of an event is the person who causes it to happen.


  • 1
    Why was this downvoted?
    – berkes
    Commented Oct 23, 2020 at 11:54
  • In my opinion, downvotes without an explanation are not valid! Commented Oct 23, 2020 at 12:12
  • 1
    Being technically correct is a poor substitute for following usage. Commented Oct 23, 2020 at 13:50
  • @candied_orange - The way the question is phrased, it seems to be asking for something that is non-standard. For example the OP suggests "triggerer". Commented Oct 23, 2020 at 15:49
  • It looks line a perfectly valid suggestion to me, the only change I would make would be to refer to the person triggering the event as the "instigating member of the community" and the others, possibly, as the "reacting members of the community".
    – BoldBen
    Commented Oct 24, 2020 at 21:42

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