Are You An Expert?

I’m still wanting a decent explanation for using NAMBLA in your previous post. I just don’t get it.


You should change your title to Cassandra. It’s a thankless job, but an important one.

Here’s what I do. When they ignore my estimate, I ask them if they know my history at doing this. They say Yes. Then I say If in one year, you don’t want me to say ‘I told you so’ and rub it in, you should revise your estimate. In reality, this never gets their estimate where mine is, but it often gets them closer. It’s also important to take no relish in rubbing it in (no gloating, only honest work), but to treat it as a training exercise, like house-breaking a puppy.


I’m still wanting a decent explanation for using insert word here I don’t want to repeat in your previous post. I just don’t get it.

I suspect that may go down as one of the Mysteries of the Ages. Or something.

that may go down as one of the Mysteries of the Ages

Ah yes – Mysteries Of The Ages, or, NAMBLA.

The experts gave us the banking, home loan, Wall St. fiasco as well as the timely, targeted and temporary bailout that will extend over the next 10 years. The experts in DC listened to the experts in business and did away with much of the regulation and oversight; anyone want some peanut butter cookies or to invest with Bernie?

I’m nobody
Nobody is an expert
therefore, I’m an expert :slight_smile:

A must-reference for this article!

Great article :smiley:

The main point I derived from it isn’t so much that you are anti-expert, more ‘anti-expert who relies solely on his expert status to justify his expertise’. I have no problems with regarding someone as an expert… but I’m not going to assume they are right just because of that.

The 4 levels of competence cited in the comment by cubanx ends at the kind of expert lamented in Jeff’s post. Level 5 is when you start to realize that even though you thought you knew most everything, it’s now dawning on you how little you really know. Level 6 is when you’ve finally developed a pretty good idea of how little you really know, and at the same time are recognizing that the Level 4 so-call experts aren’t. Level 7 is when you realize that there is no level beyond 6.

@Bob Whiteman: so did Frank Sinatra.

@Eric: start your own blog.

True insight is understanding that you, by the impossible depth of all things, know nothing.
True knowledge is knowing that you, against all odds, have criticized all your knowledge, and is still willing to do so again.

Bravo :slight_smile:

Building a skyscraper and extinguishing random fires are totally different kinds of jobs. Sure you need to ask questions in both, but there should be nothing random in construction.

James Bach: shades of Jack Black

I can’t help but think that you’re pulling this out because you’ve got your face rubbed in dirt by programming experts on the last two posts, or maybe more than that (the string performance post was a huge one in this regard too )

Your own research and data should trump any claims you read from anyone, no matter how much of an authority or expert you, I, Google, or the general community at large may believe them to be.
Jeff, if everyone always followed this advice then people would still believe the world is flat. Sometimes you can study long and study wrong. Sometimes people are wrong and need to reconsider what they know instead of actively dismissing things off hand.
I also believe that you are being too pessimistic about teaching the SOLID principles to novices, we were all novices once in need of guidance,so assuming that all novice developers are too thick headed to be taught anything doesn’t make sense. Some novice developers will study and understand the principles and others will fail, it’s just natural selection, only the fittest are allowed to use a keyboard to give a computer instructions in anger or at least it should be.
Jeff you’ve done your due diligence, you’ve questioned expert Uncle Bob’s teachings about SOLID but even then this does not prove that they should not be introduced to novice developers so they can be informed of principles others have learned over time. I think you should reconsider what you know.

recently i came across and ran away

totally off topic
but I know you did a couple of blog entries awhile back on captchas, and I just had enter one for Steam

can you read these 6 letters ?


It is easy to know who the experts are. They have earned specialized badges on Stack Overflow (


Breton said: It forces you to actually think for yourself.

Charles said: That’s just stupid.

You make a very strange point there, Charles… :wink:

This is a blog, man. Just one guys opinions about something. It is not a peer-reviewed paper, it is not a reference, it is not a published book, heck - it’s not even a column in a trashy magazine.

One of the things I like about Coding Horror (when I like it) is that the outrage and urge to want to criticise (or sometimes defend) Jeff comes from a valuable source - you have thought about the topic. You have used your mind.

I feel that this happens more here than in some other places, because you know by now that you can’t always trust Jeff to be right. Jeff keeps making posts about things that he doesn’t know everything about.

That he keeps doing that despite the criticism is far from childish, in my opinion. I actually find it a bit courageous, like doing karaoke in a packed stadium arena :wink:

Check facts, investigate - think for yourself. It’s not stupid.

@charles You remind me of the people in the 2004 campaign who were hysterical any time someone demonstrated an ability to change their mind.

Having a self consistent message does have a great deal of effect on its persuasive power, yes. But if you’ve read this blog for any length of time, you realize that is not the point. Jeff Atwood is not trying to persuade us that he is correct. He is trying to provoke us, willingly or not, into thinking about a particular subject in a way that he finds interesting at the time. Even if he’s wrong, you, someone in the comments, or another blogger will get to the bottom of it. Or maybe it will reveal, in the ensuing argument, that there isn’t a single answer to the question that is any more compelling than the others.

Post modernism isn’t about rejecting the idea that there’s an objective reality. It’s rejecting the idea that we can reliably recieve this reality via some authority, or tradition. Jeff Atwood clearly doesn’t want to become a reliable authority. This is embodied not simply from his words, but in his actions. Thus, he frequently contradicts himself, and says things that are obviously wrong. Being a single person that knows the correct answer to everything is just too much of a burden for anyone to bear.