Attribution and Analogy

Brief pause to correct and address a couple of things.

In my post Quit Living in the Past – Practices Evolve I used an analogy about hand washing in hospitals. It was later brought to my attention that Uncle Bob used this analogy (though not in exactly the depth that I did) on both a Hanselminutes Podcast episode and in a blog post a few years ago. I can honestly say I hadn’t listened to the podcast, and I may or may not have read the blog post, who knows? I did reply in my comments that it’s quite possible that this analogy was floating around out there due to Uncle Bob or others, or I had seen it in passing on twitter, or picked it up in a blog somewhere, and that is why it occurred to me to use it. So, officially, my apologies to anyone who thinks I have stolen this analogy without attributing the source. It was unintentional at worst, and I hope you’ll give me the benefit of the doubt on this one.

In my post Well-constructed != Over-architected, I opened with a story about a dog house. An anonymous commenter (since removed) accused me of stealing this one from Steve McConnell and pointed me to this CodingHorror post.

1) I’ve never read the book Rapid Development. b) I don’t read CodingHorror, and if I had this post is over 4 years old. iii) it isn’t even the same analogy. Get over it.

People wonder why sometimes I might treat some comments, particularly from those I don’t know, as trolls. Frankly, it’s because of crap like this. Analogies are analogies, and we shouldn’t be expected to see if anyone has ever used a similar analogy ever before putting one online. In the case of the handwashing one, I realize that it’s awful similar and so like I said, my apologies for not attributing. It was an awareness thing. In the dog house case, well, give me a break. If you can’t add to the conversation, don’t post a comment on something so frivolous. And if you feel like you must point out something like this (and feel free, please, if it’s valid, as is the handwashing analogy case) then don’t be a dick about it, and even if you must be a jerk, at least have the courage to use your name.

About Scott Reynolds

Scott C. Reynolds is a developer with over a decade of experience creating enterprise solutions, primarily in healthcare and biotechnology. He is passionate about the art and craft of applying software solutions to business problems. He is a frequent speaker and participant of community events nationwide.
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4 Responses to Attribution and Analogy

  1. Mike Murray says:

    I think Jak Charlton of makes a great point on this topic:

    I think both sides of the argument have overreacted in many cases. There really has to be a balance of the developer taking a personal responsibility to improve their craft in delivering quality code, yet still being responsibility to the business in delivering said code in a timely manner. The balance would likely yield simple and efficient code that is tested and maintainable, even if it’s not the most efficient system around.

    I just don’t think it makes sense to be hard-nosed on either side of the argument. We’ve got to try and make personal development goals cooperate with business goals (and vice versa), instead of view them as competing interests.

  2. Steve Merrick says:

    Fair comment! ;-)

  3. Duncan says:

    Read “Analogy Patterns in the Enterprise, 2nd Ed.” by Scott C Reynolds (edited by Scott C Reynolds v2.0).

    It stuns me how many people will look at the equivalent of the Mona Lisa and then sneer, loudly, at something as meaningful as using Arial instead of Times New Roman. I don’t understand all the ego this craft attracts….

  4. @duncan

    I’m afraid I don’t follow.