Paul Marks takes what he thinks is a diversion away from a discussion about rational ignorance and into the power of individuals:
In 2012 any competent computer person would have told Mr Romney that you do NOT use a new voter finding system on election day.
It will crash – and even if it does not your people will not know how to use it.
You use a system that your people have been working with for months – as the Obama people did.
As the election was so close (in terms of percentage of the vote) that this may have made the difference.
A single computer person (having the guts to actually talk to Mr Romney at some social event – some weeks before election day) might have made all the difference.
Paul is wrong to apologise for the diversion. I think this neatly illustrates a point about Rational Ignorance. Indeed, nobody in IT (at least, outside of sales) would have said “sure, of course it will work first time”. Experienced IT professionals become most suspicious exactly when it does work first time, it’s more likely your test has a problem than the system under test is bug free on the first run, and then there is the question of doing the wrong thing perfectly correctly.
It seems that Mr
McCain Romney was ignorant, of what software development is really like. Perhaps he felt it was rational to allow himself to be ignorant of such things and have faith in his people. Most computer programmers, and I am aware a great many visitors to this site can code, would find such an idea ridiculous. What surprises me is why so many IT people have faith in the Government while happily ridiculing a politician for having faith in their own profession. If faith is regrettably but realistically unjustifiable in the realm of correct software craftsmanship, why trust would you trust the professionals in social engineering?
Convinced? Well, there is a deliberate mistake in this blog post. Did you spot it? Did you have faith?… Interesting.