Seek to Understand, Strive to Educate, Commit to objectivity

This post has been percolating for some time in the political and journalistic realms. Very recently it has also found a home in Software Development. But let us start at the beginning.

I love the opinion and editorial section of any paper. I love reading people’s opinions about items in the news. I also find the editorial section extremely enlightening in regards to current events. That is until the last few years. It seems over the last few years, it has been very hard to find a balanced opinion article in the paper. The articles are bordering almost on propaganda. And it isn’t just either the left-wing or right-wing articles. The unbalanced articles are across the board. It seems all the articles are no longer trying to educate or inform, merely convince.

As a Canadian, I am interested in politics in a moderate way. I don’t align myself to any one party and feel that there are parts of every party that I agree with. I am constantly disappointed with political articles, editorials, and opinions that don’t provide a balanced viewpoint. Usually the point of the article is to convince the reader through fear, uncertainty, doubt, and junk science. By reading the articles around the recent Canadian election I would have thought that the leaders of the major political parties were inherently evil, naive, or simple. Of course, none of this is true.

“Education is providing balanced information on the entire issue, propaganda is providing information on only one side of an issue.”

I believe that if a person is 100% aligned with a concept, group, or ideology, he or she has probably stopped being objective.

So what does this has to do with Software Development?

First off, I’d like to provide full disclosure. I am neither a devoted fan to either Microsoft or Apple. My technical assets are:

  • Imac and Mac mini at home
  • Dell laptop at work
  • Blackberry Phone
  • Ipod music device (Classic black if you must know)
  • Nintendo Wii Game System

It seems that Software Development has recently fallen victim to the same hyperbole that has befallen politics and journalism. Many tweets I hear and articles I read seems to imply too quickly and frequently that the specific technology is a ‘game-changer’. Those types of technology happen very infrequently. I shudder every time there is a Microsoft, Apple, or other large technology announcement is made. I know there is going to be a plethora of tweets stating how Windows 8, OSX Lion, or Google+ is going to rule the world and be a game-changer. Even methodology discussions are victim to this behaviour with the demonizing of Waterfall and the praising of all things Agile. (without acknowledgement that there are situations that each excel at)

But more it seems that people are becoming 100% aligned with products and vendors. Can they really be considered objective? Shouldn’t there be some products from preferred vendors that they don’t like? Am I the only one that thinks Google+ is mainly Facebook+Skype+new cool user interface for groups? 🙂

Truth is that I would love to read more balanced articles that seek to understand these technologies, strive to educate me on these technology options (good and bad), and then commit to provide a balanced objective critique.

I know I myself have provided these somewhat one side articles in the past, but  am going to try to focus on providing more balanced articles going forward. You may not agree with my conclusions, but at least I will try to paint the picture in a balanced way that lets you decide for yourselves. Sometimes I may like Microsoft, sometime Open source, sometime Apple, sometimes COBOL….

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