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I am looking for a word. The context may seem technical, but it's really not, and you don't need any technical knowledge to understand the idea/context.

Context Demonstration:

I am developing a business application, and in this application, there is a feature that lets one user "take over" another user's account to take actions on behalf of his name.

This is a useful feature that allows work to get done even when an employee is not at work/not available to work.

Example Use Case:

John got a sick report, and he is expected to electronically sign a document in the application. So, John authorizes another user in the system (his friend, Max) to take care of his responsibilities while he is away. Then, Max is able to perform various work activities in John's name. It's almost as if John passed his username and password to Max (except he didn't actually). Max is logged in to his own user account, and he is able to take actions in John's name because John has authorized Max for it. This is the feature of my application, and I'm looking for a word to describe this feature.

My Own Research: There are similar situations in law, where a person is given authority to represent someone else in court, etc. Although my application is not related to law in any way, I believe these words might work for my case. Some candidate words I was able to find are;

  • Mandate: An authority to act given by one party to another
  • Proxy/Proxyship: A term denoting either a person who is authorized to stand in place of another, or the legal instrument by which the authority is conferred.
  • Power of Attorney: The authority to act for another person in specified or all legal or financial matters.

Question; Do you think any of these three words would be appropriate for me to use in my application? Or would you suggest any other word? Any help is appreciated.

Sample popup messages/UI texts demonstrating how the word will be used in the application:

  • Grant Proxy
  • Proxy granter must be specified
  • Proxy holder must be specified
  • Documents Processed by Proxy on My Behalf
  • Documents I Processed as Proxy on Someone Else's Behalf

Note regarding these samples:* Currently I'm using the word "proxy", and these are just some random button texts/popup messages/menu headers I picked to hopefully give you an idea.

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  • I think this is going to be closed as a matter of opinion, as it seems to be looking for opinions rather than asking if there is an existing term. My opinion is "proxy", or possibly "pp".
    – Stuart F
    Commented Mar 17, 2023 at 12:31
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    Agree with Stuart that this is likely to be closed but, OP, there's another existing legal framework you might consider: agency. As a concept, it's directly about one person's granting and possessing the authority to act in another's name. So your prompts could be "designate agent" or "assign agent" or "grant agent permission" or some such.
    – MDHunter
    Commented Mar 17, 2023 at 14:04
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    You act as someone's agent, proxy or representative. However, here, I'd use substitute. or **stand-in**/ All the other terms are legal. So, don't use them.
    – Lambie
    Commented Mar 17, 2023 at 22:29
  • @Lambie Usage in one field spreads to others. Meanings shift. There is no reason why, for example, a proxy may not be understood in the required sense. Many are accustomed to proxy voting, proxy servers (in computing), proxy wars, proxy parents and so forth. Because the term has legal associations does not make it useless in other areas, Language is not to be kept in silos.
    – Anton
    Commented Mar 17, 2023 at 23:00
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    @Anton There is also such a thing as business-speak. Some things can be adapted to it, others cannot. If you are acting on behalf of someone in a company, you are substituting for them or standing-in for them. Proxy voting is about corporate and other types of governance. Not about working and job titles.
    – Lambie
    Commented Mar 18, 2023 at 15:34

3 Answers 3

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Proxy works great, but in this sense:

A person appointed or authorized to act on behalf of another (OED).

The proxy is a person; Max is John’s proxy. Grantors pick their proxies.

So your UI text would need to change a little, for example:

  • Designate Proxy

  • Grantor must be specified

  • Proxy must be specified

  • Documents I Granted

  • Documents I Proxied

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deputize (wordhippo)
Temporarily act or speak on behalf of someone else

Obviously the person you "deputize" becomes your deputy (he'd say he's deputizing for you).

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For this usage - and for the question you pose in your text - there are many relevant nouns such as locum, proxy, deputy, stand-in, surrogate, delegate, factor (in Scots), plenipotentiary ... it would be tedious to give references for these many words but they are easily found in dictionaries, together with some subtle differences in meaning; locum, for example, has medical overtones; factor is focussed on estate management.

However, your title question asks for a gerund (???-ing). This restricts the choice of words that derive from the nouns to deputising, standing-in, delegating. None of Cambridge, Merriam Webster or Collins dictionaries give proxy as a verb; this denies us a gerund "proxying". Otherwise proxy is probably the best fit to your specification.

We may also add the gerundial phrase acting for.

It is unfortunate that of the best candidate nouns has no corresponding verb.

Merriam Webster
plenipotentiary
adjective:
1: invested with full power
2: of or relating to a plenipotentiary
noun:
a person and especially a diplomatic agent invested with full power to transact business

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    Most of the ones you propose are way over the top and too legalistic,
    – Lambie
    Commented Mar 17, 2023 at 22:31
  • @Lambie I suppose that is a matter of opinion. I doubt most people will have difficulty with proxy or stand-in or even with delegate. Sometimes there are questions to which one might prefer a low register answer but it just is not easily found. Even the OP was not able to start the discussion in low register. Perhaps you can help?
    – Anton
    Commented Mar 17, 2023 at 22:47
  • plenipotentiary is for ambassadors, etc. basically. Not for people substituting for someone else to do their job.
    – Lambie
    Commented Mar 18, 2023 at 15:36
  • @Lambie That is already clear from the dictionary definition which, by using "especially", also makes it clear that it is not confined to diplomacy. It is not clear to me why we are arguing these points. My answer attempts to outline the possibilities in the pursuit of a perfect answer; I do not claim that any or all of them fit all circumstances. But some of them fit in some circumstances. The best of them is probably proxy, but there is no corresponding verb (Cambridge, M-W, Collins) to create the OP's requested gerund. Here is the main difficulty with the question. I have edited the answer.
    – Anton
    Commented Mar 18, 2023 at 17:58

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