9 votes

Against essential and accidental complexity

2 comments

  1. skybrian
    Link
    I replied on Twitter but I doubt anyone will notice, so I'll repeat it here. The reason such a simple script worked is because the machines he downloaded the logs from are uniform. In terms of...

    I replied on Twitter but I doubt anyone will notice, so I'll repeat it here.

    The reason such a simple script worked is because the machines he downloaded the logs from are uniform. In terms of "Seeing Like a State", these systems are extremely legible. Invest enough effort into standardization, and some tasks become trivial.

    Contrast with the complexity of Unicode, text rendering, text input, or even just names. Wouldn't a lot of things be easier if everyone spoke the same language? What human cultural complexity is essential or accidental? It depends on your point of view.

    Technologists often encourage standardization. Billions of people use similar systems, making their actions more legible to computer systems. This has benefits and costs. We all benefit from adopting standards, but one person's accidental complexity might be someone else's priceless cultural practice.

    7 votes
  2. tindall
    Link
    An interesting take on a principle of engineering management that has been held as dogma for about a decade.

    An interesting take on a principle of engineering management that has been held as dogma for about a decade.

    2 votes