"What happened at school?"
"Did you race motorcycles in the hallways?"
"No, we had music!"
People generally don't like to propose imperfect solutions because of the fear of looking dumb and wasting time. But, when everyone is stumped, sitting in silence is wasting time. Re-igniting the conversation by saying "I don't want to actually do this, but here's another angle" can kick the problem-space search out of a local minima.
Pick an initial model & set of probabilistic priors. Evaluate it with a "goodness of fit" heuristic function, then iterate & keep measuring while keeping the best solution discovered.
As long as the initial parameters are sort of reasonable, it will give you pretty good results for many problems.
It obviously doesn't get rid of the need for a better understanding of the problem. Improvements to how well your features describe important attributes of the problem tend to be strictly superior to your choice of learning algorithm (i.e. your exact process of iteration).
But as long as the initial solution is more or less on target? You can solve many problems by picking a solution that you know is inadequate, then iterating.
it is a trick to confuse your opponent and any spectators. it is most often employed by people too stupid to discern between argument B and argument C in the first place, which is to say it is most often employed inadvertently.
amusingly, most times when people accuse someone else of making a straw man argument, they then proceed to immediately make a straw man argument themselves in explaining the claim.
For example, don't have a good idea for a landing page? Throw up a bad one. It'll get you data and you can improve from there.
Obviously, a less good idea for things where iteration time is measured in months...
It seems that every detail gives people another reason not to answer. If I say I'm trying to search for a word somewhere in a directory of files on OpenBSD, people who only know Linux will think that "well, grep must not work the same way on OpenBSD" and not respond.
Partially this is because of prior experience with assholes. If someone says "well, on Linux you use grep -lr" then an asshole will shout back at them "HE WAS ASKING ABOUT OPENBSD NOT LINUX YOU MORON LEARN TO READ."
(Spoiler: the answer is the same on both Linux and OpenBSD.)
People get the Internet they deserve.
Just realized ESR's advice is rubber ducking. Aha, seems Atwood agrees.
As a result, I seldom get any usable answers.
If I had asked a more general question, I might have been served better.
If it doesn't work for you, I'd consider that evidence the forum in question is less technical than it may initially appear; there's a surprising number of forums that have the appearance of being technical, but aren't populated by very technically-skilled people. I've seen that on Ubuntu forums, for instance; someone asks a perfectly sensible question, and 5 people chime in with very convincing-sounding but ultimately completely wrong suggestions. OSes seem to attract that.
[edit: i know what bash.org is. but that appears to be a conversation between multiple people all with the same nick.]
Good ol' bash.org. :)
So yeah, makes sense.
By Cunningham's Law, you need to post a false example and wait for someone to correct it. If no one does so, the example stands, and you've successfully disproven Cunningham's Law using Cunningham's Law.
Since they post it as absolutism it means this should work on all cases not just this one. There are a gazillion wrong answers on internet and no one bothers to fix them and give the right answer.
Another way to disprove it is not the best way. Now that they told you this "secret" next time you have a question will you post a wrong answer or find the right place and try to formulate the question as best as you can?
It says the best (presumably "most effective") way to get the right answer is to post the wrong one. That doesn't mean that posting the wrong one will always work; it might be that if posting the wrong answer fails, there was no way to get the right answer, or that the successful ways would have been more effort than they were worth. (Obviously, this isn't true.)
> Another way to disprove it is not the best way. Now that they told you this "secret" next time you have a question will you post a wrong answer or find the right place and try to formulate the question as best as you can?
This doesn't disprove Cunningham's law, any more than people failing to wash their hands disproves germ theory. And even if Cunningham's law is true, posting the wrong answer in order to get the right one is rude.
As the fact drops to zero the ratio asymptotically approaches infinity, at which point you have entered trolling nirvana.
As the tears approach zero you have entered zen, the world where all facts are made plain and understandable, and problems no longer exist.
(By chance I am also currently being tested for brain damage. It's bitterly amusing that I end up being unsure if I am actually making more mistakes on purpose or not...)
But then you encounter an employer who says that they want to see your StackOverflow account which is full of wrong answers and silly questions.
The wikimedia wiki is used for documentation and discussion on the topic of running a wiki, and on specifically running MediaWiki (the underlying software that powers these sites).
Since this is an article about a topic relevant to running wikis, it's on the meta wiki. It is unlikely to be notable enough to meet the criteria for being included in Wikipedia; in order to avoid everyone creating their own personal Wikipedia page or a Wikipedia page for their high school band or the like, which can be very hard to ensure is high quality and accurate, Wikipedia has notability and verifiability requirements. Something must be notable enough to have been published by several existing reputable sources in order to meet this guideline.
It's fairly likely that Cunningham's Law does not meet those criteria. But the Wikimedia meta-wiki has less formal requirements, and its topic is explicitly discussion about running wikis, so this winds up there.
If you click on the logo, you can see this described straight from the source: https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Main_Page
"Welcome to Meta-Wiki, the global community site for the Wikimedia projects and the Wikimedia movement in general. Meta-Wiki's discussions range from coordination and documentation to planning and analysis of future Wikimedia activities."
Why? Wikipedia is an encyclopedia , there is no need to keep the amount of pages low, storage is cheap and no one prints out Wikipedia on real paper.
The "not notable enough" is a real threat to Wikipedia and the future of the project. The German Wikipedia already lost a lot of former authors (volunteers) because of admins gone crazy. They don't want anyone to edit "their" pages, and revert and ban almost every new edit/user. You can read about this serious situation on Heise.de . Read also the 650+ comments of the related discussion . The English version is still better in shape, but it moves in the same direction, unfortunately.
 http://www.heise.de/newsticker/meldung/Blutet-Wikipedia-aus-... ; Translation: http://translate.google.com/translate?sl=auto&tl=en&js=n&pre...
Edit: I am not against "notability requirement", with a better balance it's fine. Wikimedia Foundation should have a closer look at the German branch... maybe resetting all "admin" privileges would help?
It's a tough balance to keep; I don't pretend to have a good answer for how to steer it in a better direction. I have been an off and on contributor to Wikipedia for years, but never enough to get involved in the politics or become an admin.
Gwern's page, In Defense of Inclusionism has a good summary of both sides, and argues all of the points I would make.
The first step is to read the article at https://www.mediawiki.org/wiki/Help:Extension:Translate/Page...
The complete list of steps is at https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Commons:Preparing_a_page_...
Sorry, I didn't realize it was so complicated to do this.
- using subtle digs make people angry enough that they lash out (thereby making them appear to be the instigator)
- introducing a tangential or irrelevant point, often in a short and snark-laded comment, to get people to waste a lot of time trying to respond
- copying and pasting large blocks of text, especially lists of problems with a particular viewpoint, and criticizing responses for being incomplete (thereby provoking people into writing very long and thorough responses)
- as a followup to the above, making vague criticisms like "you're missing the point" or "you keep dodging my question", so that people will spend time trying to figure out what you're talking about and maybe reworking their entire argument
- implying details, facts, or answers that don't actually exist (or that you don't know if they exist), trying to get people to spend time investigating something you haven't bothered figuring out. The "law" referenced in the article is an example of this type of trolling.
Where Y and Z are what the interrogator was after. More reasons not to talk to the cops.
...which probably makes this comment a good example of the law.
On the one hand, getting first to the comments is also good when the source is dubious. On the other hand, some article are definitely worth reading (which is usually easy to guess from the title or first comments), and it feels good to give back when you know what the article is about and can contribute to the discussion.
in other words, you need to do enough work on your own to figure out what you need to know, after which you'll find that (as long as you have a decent command of the language you're expressing yourself in and the general terms in the field of inquiry) it's not difficult to get good answers.