I, like everyone else, read Steven Den Beste of USS Clueless regularly. But he often writes at great length. Herewith, in the tradition of Mickey Kaus’s Series-Skipper, and with thanks to Mark Wickens for the idea, the digested version. Not sure if you want to wade in? Stop here first and then decide!
Title: It’s OK To Be Wrong
Word Count: 3,940
Impetus: Various correspondents criticizing him for not doing “research.”
Thesis: The blogosphere is a sort of hive mind, where ideas can be circulated and corrected quickly. Den Beste, in particular, runs his blog this way. He’d rather write something quickly that he’s reasonably sure of and have others correct it than spend weeks researching and polishing it. He wants, in engineering parlance, to ship. (And boy, does he ever ship!)
Engineering Analogy: “Egoless programming” — the philosophy, in software, that the individual programmer does not own the code he has written, but that the whole team owns the whole product. Every piece of code and document is reviewed by other team members, to catch mistakes as quickly as possible. This is what bloggers are doing when they talk about “fact-checking his ass.”
Best Quote: “The most fundamental rule in engineering, even more basic than Murphy’s Law, is: Everyone fucks up.“
Bonus Irony: Den Beste does not permit comments on his blog. In fairness, he is probably too popular to do so.