Linked by Kroc Camen on Thu 20th Aug 2009 09:43 UTC
Podcasts What else would we talk about other than the massively [popular|controversial] article about last week. We try and address a number of concerns about the article and common lines of reasoning / misunderstanding. Lastly, we move onto something completely different with topics on Google Chrome on Linux, IE6 and the two details we know about RockMelt: Rock. Melt.
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RE[7]: X and Thom
by wfreund on Sat 22nd Aug 2009 19:52 UTC in reply to "RE[6]: X and Thom"
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How can you call the behavior of 10% "the rule" and the behavior of 90% "the exception"?

I consider it important to properly define the group being generalized. When this is done, I don't agree that the 10/90 split you describe will be in force.

In the case being discussed, the group that I would define as described by Thom is "Open Source Advocates on the Internet" rather then "Open Source Contributers." And I believe that the generalization stands. The fact that some do not fit the bill makes this no less so. Nor does the fact that those that fit into the second category may be getting a bad name from the most visible segement of those that fit into the first.

I must reiterate that the willingness ascend from an initial generalization when the case of a specific person is at issue is what make this all OK. But it is foolish to suggest that I cannot form expectations based on generalizations and then whittle down to the facts of the individual case. In my experience, the initial generalizations usually hold water after the final examination about 75% of the time.

But again, the grouping is important. To use your example, I would consider homosexuals that are discreet to be in a different group entirely from flamboyant homosexuals, and I do not hold the former responsible for the actions of the latter, nor do I lump them in together in my mind. Yet I can still make generalizations about both groups that tend to hold true. FYI I view heterosexuals through the same filter, and can't abide people that insist on reporting to me on their sexual activities and proclivities, a subject in which I have no interest. That does not mean that I lump all heterosexuals into one group defined by the loudest members.

If you really stop to think about the subject, I think that you will find that human beings would be more or less immobile if we weren't able to make generalizations and even indulge in assumptions. These are what allow us to move through life without getting bogged down with every single detail of every single problem or situation. For me, the metric of a reasonable man is not the absence of these cognitive filters, but rather the ability and willingness to apply attention to detail where and when it is warranted.

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