Face Palm Discussion

[Note: Please don't DisagreeByDeleting. This is an active page that contains recent content of an ongoing discussion. You can't just throw a wet towel over such a thing and expect it to suddenly stop.]
I protest the existence of FacePalm. Its usage is rude and contributes no usable content. --top

I support the existence of FacePalm. It's a classic example of a picture being worth a thousand words.

Maybe a thousand worthless words.

It is a potently succinct and powerful commentary. Obviously it must be used judiciously, on subjects considered particularly deserving of scorn.

You mean scorn such as, "Up yours, you arrogant, delusional, vague, convoluted, detached, weird-thinking bastard!"?

{More along the lines of, "Get an education, you ignoramus, UnskilledAndUnawareOfIt, narcissistic crank."}

Get an education in real science and economics. Your Rube Goldberg logic is not logic, just fixations with your favorite minutia. You make the Greek Mistake (EvidenceEras).

Actually, it's you who needs education in real science. In particular, you would benefit from understanding the relationships between qualitative and quantitative data and logical reasoning.

You don't use logical reasoning, you just THINK it's logical. And even the best reasoning should be tested via number-producing metrics, especially if there are many steps and factors involved. You can't make excuses against numbers. If you truly think it's logical, then write it up similar to a geometry proof instead of your meandering obtuse style.

No, I'm afraid it's you who doesn't use logical reasoning, and apparently just think you're being logical. Write what up "similar to a geometry proof"? As for "even the best reasoning should be tested via number-producing metrics", I'm curious how you'd apply that to (say) set-theoretical deductions involving infinities. Are you planning to count to aleph-naught on your fingers?

Do they solve some real-world need, such as making something faster, cheaper, smaller, easier to learn, etc? Identify the need it satisfies and work backward toward a metric. I cannot formulate that for you because I cannot read your mind to know why you think something is "good". I'd like to stay away from machine performance, but if "set-theoretical deductions involving infinities" can make for better query optimizers, then that can be tested numerically also by running sample queries through the machine and see which optimizer runs faster.

Of course they solve a real-world need. Aleph-naught is the cardinality of natural numbers. Reasoning about aleph numbers leads to solutions in symbolic computation. This has nothing to do with faster query optimisers, and everything to do with creating computational systems that return correct results. The only important metric is boolean: Is the result correct or not? This is determined logically; empirical tests would be both pointless and impossible.

Like I've said many times before, in my domain the user often doesn't know what "correct" is until they start using it (beyond the obvious like the customer name coming out right when typed in right). I thus often focus on ways to change it easier to tune it toward the users' needs, and/or build interfaces that allow the domain-expert power-users to enter, study, and tune much of the business logic themselves (CompilingVersusMetaDataAid). I can't send them to out to get a math PhD. Thus, your analogy is difficult to apply to my world. And there are other factors besides "correctness". Many customers would rather pay 10k for something that's 99.99% right than 100k for something that's 100% right (see, no Boolean). If I lecture them about idealism, they show me the door. It's about economics: will they lose more than 90k worth of sales due to occasional errors by going with the 10k system? Perhaps your "logic" can make 100% correct systems, but you've ignored other factors that probably matter in the real world. Getting invoices 100% correct is of little use if you've gone bankrupt. See also WorseIsBetter. -t

Why should I care about your domain? Even mentioning it is irrelevant here.

What's important is that there are deductions, inductions and abductions that can be determined logically, without reference to empirical metrics. Your apparent insistence that empirical metrics are the only source of truth is in error.

Agreed, but it usually focuses on narrow issues, telling one very little about the overall value of the tool and WaterbedTheory impacts.


{Given TopMind's skill in reasoning, empirical metrics are the only source of truth he ever experiences. Of course, he lacks the education to actually grok any indirect metrics.}

I suspect 90%+ of all practitioners out there would find your presentations of "evidence" strange, round-about, walled-gardenish, and confounding. If you CARE about selling GoldenHammers, then you will need a way to communicate with typical practitioners; and direct metrics are one of the best approaches to that. And, Ward never claimed this wiki was just for academics.

I suspect your suspicion is wrong. I am both an active practitioner and an academic. I work regularly with other active practitioners, and they seek and respect my advice in both technical and theoretical matters. The vast majority think as I do, and are genuinely interested in improving their own professionalism though ongoing learning, and in improving the overall state-of-the-art in our profession.

By the way, I don't care about selling GoldenHammers. It's you who makes the biggest effort to sell your TableOrientedProgramming {and GuiMachineLanguage} GoldenHammers. By your own standards, you're doing a poor job of it.

I never said practitioners don't want to improve their techniques and knowledge. They just won't do it by reading your convoluted stuff. They want to be shown something fairly concrete, such as how it reduces keystrokes and eye movements needed for typical maintenance. Numeric metrics and scenarios will go a lot further than your round-about "logic". If your experience on practitioner behavior differs from mine, so be it. I report what I observe and you report what you observe.

As far as my alleged GoldenHammers, most of the benefits are in WetWare, which varies per individual and is difficult to objectively measure. Objective tests for subjective issues are difficult to measure numerically. (And GuiMarkupProposal would be more palatable than GuiMachineLanguage in my opinion.) -t

You appear to have confused your personal identity with that of practitioners in general. This is a common effect of allowing your ego to inflate until it encompasses everything you see. You're the only person -- let alone practitioner -- I've ever known to mention "eye movements needed for typical maintenance". Funny how you demand numerical metrics of others, but your vociferous and unsupported claims are just fine as long as you point out that "the benefits are in WetWare".

Eye and finger movements have been part of industrial efficiency analysis for longer than I've been alive, and I ain't no spring chicken. My father used to do that kind of analysis before most manufacturing slipped away overseas (and he still did some hospital efficiency studies afterward). And eye and finger movement was an example, one of many potential metrics. As far as characteristics of practitioners, projection bias can happen on both sides and you are just as subject to human foibles as I am. You are not a god. Without some kind of controlled survey of practitioners, it's anecdote against anecdote and not worth bickering about further. In my experience, roughly 80% of practitioners go with the flow and will adapt and adopt whatever trend and buzzword makes them the most money. Only roughly 20% care about any deep thinking over "what makes a better tool". And within that 20%, the answers seem rather subjective, based on personal WetWare. Different things trip up or help different people.

I'm not aware of any application of industrial efficiency analysis to software development. Maybe there should be. By the way, I am a god. I'm beginning to find your lack of appropriate worship a tad disturbing.

I'm not suggesting using as is, but rather seeing what one can apply from it.

And I'm sorry you've had to deal with such a sad and disinterested group of practitioners.

That's humans for ya. Plus, the "interested" ones are often annoying HobbyHorse zealots. I might be a TableOrientedProgramming zealot, but I can agree it may merely be a better fit for my particular WetWare and don't insult those who disagree (although in my early days I may have been more insistent, before I learned how very different every brain is.)

At the moment, I am neither for, nor against, such a page. But, it does bring up the old issue of "generally do no use emoticons on Wiki" EmotionOnWiki, does it not? Soon, will we have a smiley page, etc.?
As a new contributor to this page, I am against including a "Face Palm" page, or anything similar, here. I agree that the facepalm meme is cute, or at least was cute before it became overused and passe. The problem, though, is that it does not add much to the sort of discussion one sees at this wiki. "Facepalm" is basically shorthand for "that line of thought is so stupid as to deserve immediate dismissal, without need for further commentary." In my experience, that is very seldom true of the reasoning I see on this wiki, and lines of commentary that legitimately fall into this "facepalm" category are either deleted or shouted down in short order.

Also, I think that the existence of such a shared meme allows people to "win" arguments too easily... like-minded people with a common, negative, initial reaction to a posting or theory simply group together around 1) their shared opinion and 2) their shared appreciation of the "facepalm" meme. This prevents any further analysis or introspection, and allows widely-held-but-incorrect parts of the orthodoxy of the day to persist unexamined.

' "Facepalm" is basically shorthand for "that line of thought is so stupid as to deserve immediate dismissal, without need for further commentary." '

Precisely. Fortunately, the times when it is needed are few, but when it's needed nothing else is quite as effective.

If you accept my definition (and you seem to do so), then such a thing is not ever 'necessary.' Remember, the stupidity of the argument is 'obvious.'

It clearly distinguishes not having responded yet or agreeing so thoroughly that nothing further need be said, from content that is too idiotic to respond with anything but FacePalm.

{In my observation, patronization and RudenessFails the majority of the time, unless ticking people off is your only desired goal.} -BlackHat

{Re: "line of thought is so stupid as to deserve immediate dismissal" - Are you talking about the author, or are you anthropomorphizing text?} -BlackHat

I was referring to the argument, be it text, speech, or whatever else. I suppose I was anthropomorphizing this "argument," although I do not think that 21st century usage really requires this. The way most people speak and write English, a variety of nonhuman things can be stupid. In fact, I have seen references to arguments that are "inhumane," "immature," "ill-informed," and so on, by some fairly well-regarded authors. I personally own a 5-iron that is stupid. So it goes in 2011.

{The issue at hand is when to use FacePalm, not when to delete text ("dismissal"). Not a big deal, just seeking clarification.}
See: NuffSaid, TenSeven
CategoryRant (and proud of it)

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