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New Rule

November 8, 2009

This is really just a formalization of a rule I’ve held for awhile, but it needs formalization because I’m annoyed.

As I’m reading and listening to conference papers, this is the rule I came up with:

Do not make a distinction without a practical payoff and without demonstrating that payoff.

It’s stupid to write a paper with about 100 different distinctions without telling me why you’re making those distinctions and explaining the usefulness of those distinctions.

We can make distinctions all day—the only things that limit an infinity of distinctions are 1) lack of imagination and 2) time.

So, if you’re going to make a distinction, you’ve got to justify it’s usefulness.

I suspect that if we followed this rule a lot of existing distinctions would make a lot more sense, and a lot of other distinctions would never get made in the first place.

 

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. larry c wilson permalink
    November 8, 2009 12:54 pm

    Ah, a Jamesian after all.

  2. Deane Galbraith permalink
    November 11, 2009 5:08 pm

    “Do not make a distinction without a practical payoff and without demonstrating that payoff.”

    In that sentence, three words begin with ‘p’ and three with ‘d’.

  3. missivesfrommarx permalink*
    November 11, 2009 5:09 pm

    I know, right?! lol.

  4. Deane Galbraith permalink
    November 11, 2009 8:41 pm

    ;-)

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