UDP is an example of an unreliable protocol. Is there a single word that means "okay to send via an unreliable protocol?" Sort of like "unimportant", but that's too strong a word.

The context would be the name of a message property where the application cares that certain messages are delivered reliably, but is otherwise agnostic about the delivery method. I'm looking for a word that means "unreliable okay" rather than "reliable required" because reliable should be the default and booleans conventionally default to false.

  • powerthesaurus.org/not_guaranteed/synonyms -- The closest one is "unsecured." Apr 30 at 19:00
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    If you take a descriptivist view of language, then all terminology questions are opinion based and the tag should be burninated. Apr 30 at 19:30
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    @KevinKrumwiede: We're not a dictionary or thesaurus. Apr 30 at 20:15
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    Can't think of anything exactly but 'best-effort', 'non-critical', 'non-guaranteed' are all terms that are related.
    – JimmyJames
    Apr 30 at 21:12
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    You may have a look into this old meta question: On the troubles of naming and terminology. When you look through the answers, you will see that the community does not have a full consensus on which terminology questions are ok, and which are not.
    – Doc Brown
    Apr 30 at 21:57

If you can live with a noun, the word you're looking for is datagram.

A datagram is an independent, self-contained message sent over the network whose arrival, arrival time, and content are not guaranteed.

-- The Java Tutorials - All about datagrams

A datagram is similar to a packet, but does not require confirmation that it has been received.

-- Tech Terms

A datagram is a basic transfer unit associated with a packet-switched network. Datagrams are typically structured in header and payload sections. Datagrams provide a connectionless communication service across a packet-switched network. The delivery, arrival time, and order of arrival of datagrams need not be guaranteed by the network.

-- Wikipedia

Note that Datagram is part of UDP's acronym ("User Datagram Protocol").

  • Not quite - "unreliable" and "datagram" really are distinct concepts. "Datagram" means that there is no connection, i.e. no state is maintained between messages. "Unreliable" means that there is no guarantee that the message arrives. They don't need to go together, InfiniBand for example has "reliable datagram" and "unreliable connection" modes.
    – dabo42
    May 3 at 2:56
  • @dabo42: The definition for "Datagram" is made clear in the sources I quoted. May 3 at 16:48
  • Yes, but the question was about the "unreliable" aspect of the protocol, not the "datagram" aspect. A datagram protocol doesn't imply it's unreliable. The wikipedia definition makes that clear ("delivery ... need not be guaranteed" (but can)).
    – dabo42
    May 3 at 17:12
  • @dabo42: I am aware. May 3 at 17:12

I would say the most descriptive term for what you're describing in the first paragraph would be "error-tolerant." However, your extra description of the context makes me wonder if you are looking for something else - maybe what you actually want is just to describe a message as "non-time sensitive." You say you want it to be delivered reliably, but do not otherwise care about the method, however I can't see what else there is to care about re: method besides reliable delivery. Therefore you are just relaxing your expectations of a timely delivery.

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