This article is from the ER FAQ, by Rose Cooper firstname.lastname@example.org with numerous contributions by others.
On a.t.e., the always-effervescent catherine yronwode (who, by
the way, came up with the funky thread title, "Creeping Bobbism"), said:
"I agree -- Hicks is around the hospital somewhere, not bobbed (yet)
but Maggie was in so many episodes and was often shown in the
locker/coffee room, so that i do consider her one the verge of having
been bobbed. Or has she actually, truly been bobbed an i just don't
realize it yet? Like ai [sic] asked before -- how long an absense
must we witness before we realize that there is bobbery afoot?"
...and later, in that same thread, Marny Helfrich asked:
"...is there a term for characters who were once regulars and then
vanish from sight but are mentioned occassionally?"
...thus, starting the Great Debate (ok, actually, a few folks just threw
some terms around). After long, laborious hours of intense negotations
in smoke-ridden coffee houses with much bloodletting occuring, terms like
"demibob (for demicharacters)" by Rebecca McQuitty, or Scott's
"quasi-bobbed" and "proto-bobbed" (my early favorite) were tossed aside
like the redheaded stepchyldrun they are in favor of catherine yronwode's
"Was he Bobbed?"
"No, i think they're just Doyling him for the time-being."