HRWiki:The color of the bikeshed

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(I believe this is something that we can all relate to.)
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Revision as of 07:04, 26 January 2007

The color of the bikeshed is a proverbial phrase regarding the complex manner of coming to the conclusion of a simple issue. The topic is the bikeshed, while the issue is the color everyone wants to paint it; the opinions that everyone wishes to contribute. Many decisions on HRWiki seem to screech to a halt simply because everyone understands the issue in full, and therefore everyone has an opinion. Adversely, everyone will stay away from a technical issue that they don't understand, simply because they believe that since the discussion is happening, their opinion must not matter. Of course, these generalizations are not without exception, but nevertheless it is undeniable that every user naturally shifts this way.

  • If one comes across a simple issue that is easily understandable, an opinion is very quickly formulated based on first glances and initial knowledge. It is ideal to check past responses to better understand the thought-process behind the issue, and to find things you agree with. The best way to start out a reply on a heavily trafficked issue is, "Agreeing with so-and-so..." Agreement begets more agreement, and before one knows it, the discussion has concluded.
  • If one comes across a complex issue that is hard to understand, one's first impression is to turn on one's heel and stay well out of the way. Since there are few contributors, few points are made, and the discussion is almost always inconclusive or quickly concluded and carried-out without the population knowing what really happened. A bit of searching on the internet will most likely yield more information about the topic, with which one can formulate informed responses and opinions.

A simple discussion does not mean "join me", nor does a complex discussion mean "steer clear". The whole community can easily agree on one color for the bikeshed and devote more time to the issues that mean more to the wiki.

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