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Re: [xml-dev] Do you enjoy neighborhoods where every house looks thesame?

"Experts will never be content with standardized solutions in their area of expertise -- often *they are the
ones defining the standards*."

I think couching this in terms of an amateur/expert distinction is somewhat misleading.  Experts are often perfectly content with standardized solutions in their area of expertise (e.g., standard connections in structural engineering), as long as those solutions get the job done, because the standards allow the experts to focus their expertise on those parts of the problem where there's something novel going on that requires expertise, and not waste their time on parts of the problem that are mostly the same from one job to the next.  The standards often reflect the crystallized expertise of the past that can now be reused.  This, of course, doesn't mean there's no room for novelty.  You can still do non-standard things if you want to, or have to (the standards don't get the job done, or require bad tradeoffs elsewhere in the design), if you're willing to pay the associated costs, in terms of things like extra design/analysis/verification time, or inconvenience (stuff doesn't fit together as easily, or it's harder to find).  None of this is black and white;  in designs, there are tradeoffs.  

So a lot of this is deciding what exactly we're talking about, and doing what's sensible.  No, I don't enjoy neighborhoods where every house looks the same.  But when I go to the hardware store and look in the drawer for a particular bolt, I want them all to look the same.

On Aug 28, 2013, at 3:29 PM, "Simon St.Laurent" <simonstl@simonstl.com> wrote:

> On 8/28/13 2:38 PM, Michael Sokolov wrote:
>> What can we conclude from this?  Standardization is neither good nor
>> bad: what it gives is the ability to achieve a passable result without
>> diving too deeply into details, but of course it takes away the ability,
>> or makes it less natural, to sweat those details when you want to.
> I would phrase it differently.
> Standardization lets (most of) us be stupid.
> You can decide whether that's good - "democratizing door installation!" - or bad - "ugly doors all the same all over".
> In the long run, however, I can't argue that encouraging ever more stupidity is a good thing.  Ruskin, Morris, and Alexander all do a great job of making clear that the key social roles of the expert are to teach and listen rather than demand conformity to expert decisions.
> Not having to think about _everything_ can be convenient.  As I noted earlier, standardized pipe diameters and threading rules make it easy to buy and use pipe, whether you're an expert or an amateur.  However, as standardization increases, so do limitations.
> (I have a pre-hung back door that was hung here a few years ago by experts.  Sooner or later I'll be replacing it, because it's not a very good door.  Functional is the nicest thing I can say for it.  I also had some experts install a railing today from standardized parts.  Most of it will vanish in the next few months because the parts look and feel standardized.)
>> Everyone has to choose for themselves (if they don't have the decision
>> thrust on them) which area of endeavor they will be an expert in, and
>> which they will leave to others.  Experts will never be content with
>> standardized solutions in their area of expertise -- often *they are the
>> ones defining the standards*.
>> But amateurs tend to appreciate standards that can enable their
>> participation, in an amateurish way, in fields of endeavor in which they
>> would otherwise be incompetent.  Is that bad?  I don't think so: I saved
>> some money, I have a feeling of great accomplishment, and *I have new
>> front door*.
> I do many things in amateurish ways, but I recognize, for example, that the feeling of accomplishment I used to get from assembling IKEA furniture was a sad joke compared to the feeling of accomplishment I get from actually making something.
> Honestly, lessening the expert/amateur distinction would make a lot of these questions just vanish, though.

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