Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programmers

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Monday, March 23, 2015

It depends? It depends.

Sometimes you ask a question which has a small collection of actionable answers: yes or no. You ask someone who should be able to give that yes or no answer, and they go for the third: it depends.

Maybe they can’t actually answer your question, but want to sound profound.

Maybe they don’t realise that you’re a beginner in this particular area and would benefit from knowing what they’d do in this situation.

Maybe they don’t realise that you’re an expert in this area and are looking for confirmation or refutation of your existing choice.

Maybe they don’t realise that you’re uninterested in this area, and just need a decision made so you can move on.

Maybe they don’t know what the answer is, but are hoping you’ll help them think through the alternatives.

Sometimes, the answer to a question is “it depends”. But is that the answer you should give? It depends.

posted by Graham at 19:38  

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