Name this obscure work-related principle of efficiency?
May 16, 2012 8:08 PM   Subscribe

Looking for the name of a principle, probably named after its originator, who was likely a programmer, that goes something like "When we interact, please assume that I won't be offended by a lack of social niceties, and get right to the point for the sake of efficiency." I feel like it had a stub or some brief mention on Wikipedia, and I remember first encountering the idea in someone's forum signature.
posted by Lorin to Society & Culture (9 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
Sound like rms.
posted by dfriedman at 8:17 PM on May 16, 2012

Yeah specifically sounds like something from his rider but I didn't see it there. But I did see this "When you need to tell me about a problem in a plan, please do not start with a long apology. That is unbearably boring, and unnecessary -- conveying useful information is helpful and good, and why apologize for that? So please be practical and go straight to the point."
posted by jessamyn at 8:23 PM on May 16, 2012

Yes, that's what I was thinking of...
posted by dfriedman at 8:24 PM on May 16, 2012

RMS is definitely in the ballpark, but I feel like I would've remembered that since his name is so familiar to me. I distinctly remember it being named after someone I'd never heard of, but who was somehow influential in computer science. I want to say he worked at HP but this memory is several years old.
posted by Lorin at 8:28 PM on May 16, 2012

This is probably not it, as it's about computer programs communicating with one another, rather than about people communicating, but could you be thinking of Postel's law: "Be liberal in what you accept, and conservative in what you send" Jon Postel (wikipedia).
posted by smcameron at 9:42 PM on May 16, 2012

Shades of this are expressed in ESR's How to Ask Questions the Smart Way document.

(As an aside, it's frustrating to see that the web server continues to operate with a faulty configuration even after multiple people have informed ESR of the issue. It's serving content encoded in UTF-8 with a HTML meta tag that correctly declares the encoding as UTF-8, but the server is sending a response with a HTTP Content-Type header that says "charset=iso-8859-1", and HTTP headers take precedence over meta tags, so the result is mojibake. Shameful.)
posted by Rhomboid at 4:08 AM on May 17, 2012 [1 favorite]

Tact filter?
posted by brainwane at 6:13 AM on May 17, 2012 [2 favorites]

i've seen signatures implying as much.
posted by spanishbombs at 12:04 PM on May 17, 2012

Thanks all. I have a feeling if this was once a Wikipedia article it was probably deleted long ago because of non-notability, but I've come across lots of similar and relevant stuff through these links.
posted by Lorin at 4:39 PM on May 17, 2012

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