Creeping featurism and the ratchet effect

2006-05-19 21:36 - Links

For example, someone is reading the Perl manual. They read the section on the unpack function and they find it confusing. So they propose a documentation patch to add a couple of sentences, explicating the confusing point in more detail.

It seems like a good idea at the time. But if you do it over and over---and we have---you end up with a 2,000 page manual---and we did.

The real problem is that it's easy to see the benefit of any proposed addition. But it is much harder to see the cost of the proposed addition, that the manual is now 0.002% larger.

So, so true. Every person in any way involved in the creation of a software project should know and understand this well.


No comments!

Post a comment:

  If you do not have an account to log in to yet, register your own account. You will not enter any personal info and need not supply an email address.

You may use Markdown syntax in the comment, but no HTML. Hints:

If you are attempting to contact me, ask me a question, etc, please send me a message through the contact form rather than posting a comment here. Thank you. (If you post a comment anyway when it should be a message to me, I'll probably just delete your comment. I don't like clutter.)