[OT] The switch of perception
bobwarren at howsoft.com
Sun Jun 10 03:40:34 CDT 2007
Some of you may have had the interest to read an article I wrote which
can be found at: http://www.bobsite.org/brazil/ .
Early in the article, there is a classical design from Gestalt
Psychology (the psychology of perception) that can be seen either as a
nice young woman or as an ugly old woman. One thing I did not attempt to
discuss in the article was the part that motivation can sometimes play
in perception. That is perhaps a pity, because it is sometimes a highly
relevant factor. Where language is involved, care in reading (or the
lack of it) can also play a part.
I've been racking my brains to try and discover how it was a thread I
participated in recently ("Open Source (was Don't you just wish Rev
would do this?)") changed from a happy problem-solving process into a
nightmare, demonstrating a problem rather than solving one. I now know why.
In my first post about the subject, I described a hypothetical
arrangement. Instead of using "would" throughout (a linguistic option),
I used the present tense: e.g. According to the proposed arrangement, "I
do this" and "You do that". Of course, had I realized at the time that
this might lead to any kind of confusion, I would have peppered my
proposal with lots more "woulds".
Here is an elaboration of what I intended to say by the two items given
early in my first post:
1) I propose that Rev should produce IDE upgrades from now onwards that
would concentrate on the provision of new features. I propose a strictly
regular cycle for their release (perhaps slightly different to the
current one). These "feature releases" represent the product that we,
the users, should expect to pay for, and to pay for at least as well as
the product merits.
2) I propose that bugfixing should be a continuous process between
feature releases, aimed at correcting the current release as necessary.
There would of course be no additional charge for it.
These are the actual words I used:
1. RR should provide feature releases on a regular basis. We pay for them.
2. We do not pay for bugfixes. The manufacturer is just putting right
what he has done wrong.
Now here's an "ugly old woman" interpretation:
1. RR do not provide feature releases on a regular basis as they should.
We pay for them, so Rev is doing the dirty on us by not coughing them up
according to their obligation.
2. Rev are even making us pay for bugfixes! Well, we ain't gonna do it.
See what I mean?
Of course, after an initial "ugly old woman" interpretation, a
psychological set has been established and everything that I say
afterwards gets totally ignored, even if it doesn't quite add up
logically! This "set" perception is so strong that it wouldn't surprise
me if some people thought I was making excuses by the explanation I have
Sorry, I realize this is not the place to discuss (even relevant)
psychology really, but I was disappointed by what happened.
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