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Brad Fitzpatrick

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Bikeshed [Feb. 6th, 2006|03:15 pm]
Brad Fitzpatrick
I was explaining this to David earlier, but I'd forgotten the proper term:


Why Should I Care What Color the Bikeshed Is?
"The really, really short answer is that you should not. The somewhat longer answer is that just because you are capable of building a bikeshed does not mean you should stop others from building one just because you do not like the color they plan to paint it. This is a metaphor indicating that you need not argue about every little feature just because you know enough to do so. Some people have commented that the amount of noise generated by a change is inversely proportional to the complexity of the change."

[User Picture]From: krow
2006-02-06 11:21 pm (UTC)
Did I recently explain the term to you?

I know I did to someone.
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[User Picture]From: brad
2006-02-06 11:22 pm (UTC)
You might've years ago, but not recently.
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[User Picture]From: krow
2006-02-06 11:43 pm (UTC)
For some reason this has come up a lot lately.
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[User Picture]From: denshi
2006-02-07 02:19 am (UTC)
New phrases have a habit of doing that.
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From: jeffr
2006-02-07 08:04 am (UTC)
It's been around for quite a while. We even have the following in FreeBSD:

| x x x -%-%-%- BSD|
| x x /^\ BIKESHED CARD |
| /__^\ Get out of x |
|blue-> ||| | shed *FREE* x x |

Probably wont look right in a non-fixed font.
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From: edge_walker
2006-02-07 01:28 pm (UTC)

It won’t look right in HTML at all, even if you switch to a monospace font, because whitespace gets collapsed. Have a <pre>:

 | x x x      -%-%-%-         BSD|
 |  x x   /^\   BIKESHED CARD    |
 |       /__^\  Get out of    x  |
 |blue-< ||| |  shed *FREE*  x x |
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[User Picture]From: dakus
2006-02-06 11:23 pm (UTC)
Wouldn't that be due to the fact that people can't debate the more complex issues without showing how little they do know? So when something comes along they can even slightly understand...the switch becomes stuck?
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From: edge_walker
2006-02-07 01:36 pm (UTC)

It’s right there on that page, y’know.

Parkinson explains that this is because an atomic plant is so vast, so expensive and so complicated that people cannot grasp it, and rather than try, they fall back on the assumption that somebody else checked all the details before it got this far.

A bike shed on the other hand. Anyone can build one of those over a weekend, and still have time to watch the game on TV. So no matter how well prepared, no matter how reasonable you are with your proposal, somebody will seize the chance to show that he is doing his job, that he is paying attention, that he is *here*.

Do read the page.

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From: (Anonymous)
2006-02-06 11:30 pm (UTC)
Good god. I knew that was a Kamp quote from some time back... but I hadn't realized someone had actually gone through the motions of registering bikeshed.com.

Too funny.
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[User Picture]From: mahlon
2006-02-06 11:54 pm (UTC)
cookie h8
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From: russgetchell
2006-02-07 02:47 am (UTC)
Hmmmm....so it's not an actual shed for a bike then.
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[User Picture]From: anildash
2006-02-07 03:15 am (UTC)
god i love the bikeshed story, because it's more effective than pulling a godwin in ending a tech discussion. i win!

also, there needs to be a corollary for situations where people argue even though they *don't* know enough to do so. this is usually marketing people trying to make tech decisions or tech people trying to make business decisions. either way, very satisfying when someone says "i'll let you paint that particular shed".
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[User Picture]From: rooneg
2006-02-07 04:39 am (UTC)
I prefer http://green.bikeshed.com/ myself...
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[User Picture]From: caladri
2006-02-07 08:11 am (UTC)
You do know why the Bikeshed should never, ever be allowed to be green right? (See also brianfeldman.)
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[User Picture]From: lisa
2006-02-07 06:19 am (UTC)

Opinions are like... everyone's got one.

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[User Picture]From: ydna
2006-02-07 06:52 am (UTC)
Bellybuttons? ;)
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