Re: What stackoverflow is good at

From: <>
Date: Wed, 20 May 2009 04:41:16 -0700 (PDT)
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On 18 Mai, 13:37, "Walter Mitty" <> wrote:
> Where I think it doesn't work so well is at fundamental education, changing
> the way a person thinks.

Just my two cents... I think it does, but unfortunately not in the right direction…

This is a general problem, roused by the Internet. Twenty years ago the main source of information were books, magazines and maybe discussions with coworkers. Today, anyone can write a blog or article (it is amazing how many people feel the need to publish every “gotcha” they learned).

With no quality control at all, most of the Internet articles are at best “semi-coherent”. But there are reasons for which they are successful. First, it is far easier to google for something than to read a book. Second, over-simplification makes things easier to digest by beginners. Third, most people are not interested in doing things right, but in doing things fast.

One may argue that someone will eventually demystify wrong information. However it is not so easy, to discover that something is wrong one needs to be educated. Since education is more and more substituted by the cookbook approach there aren’t many people who can actually correct things up.

Again, one might argue that the vast majority cannot be wrong. But it is so? To a total ignorant an Internet article wrote by a semiliterate  might look brilliant. Science it is not democracy, it is not the number of people sustaining a point of view that matters but their quality. Unfortunately there is too much garbage and too few people able to demystify it.

Correcting information over Internet converges slowly, and wrong information tends to corrupt more and more minds until someone demystifies it. Before someone does it, it might be already raised to the rank of best practice (or even de facto standard). Even when someone will spot out something, his point of view might be too difficult to understand by most people and hence ignored (Fabian Pascal comes quickly into mind).

Unfortunately there are some sad consequences of this state of facts. If you try to do something the right way, against so called “bestpractices ”, you are often looked as lunatic and even worst, as counterproductive.  So one often has to pact with the devil to meet a deadline or even to save his job. This is really sad. Received on Wed May 20 2009 - 13:41:16 CEST

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