Thursday, November 19, 2015

Obsessing on facts

I've learned to feel strongly about facts. Sometimes, even obsessing about facts. What is true and what is not? When the relative rule applies - true to someone - and when that difference matters?

Facts are important enough for me that I've driven friends crazy discussing for nights in a row if the stories we tell in conference talks need to be factual as much as the storyteller can, or if the storyteller can change details as long as they stay true to the story. That is still a mystery to me. I'm getting closer to the acceptance that our memories will tarnish the facts anyway. So it ends up as set of questions of ethics, that are not so straightforward. The relative rule applies again.

Facts and perspectives into facts is something I work with as a tester. I'm a big fan of Laurent Bossavit for the leprechaun hunt he does on software engineering, dispelling common myths. I would love to learn not to distribute myths or create ones.

Some days ago I saw a retweet in my tweet stream:

This is so fucking important. It should be retweeted and shared 10000 times
I needed to click the picture open and read the text. I had plenty of opportunity to stop and think before retweeting. And I did. I realized it could be an urban legend. But I decided to retweet anyway, because in between the lines the message I wanted to retweet was not the facts written down, but the underlying story - unfair boxing of people with labels.

Soon after, I got a response from a fellow tester I appreciated: 
I came back to think about this, because people still days after the fact keep retweeting my retweet, and twitter is kind enough to tell me about it. Where is my responsibility with the added information I have now over the time of sharing it?

This is how leprechauns are born. So I'm thinking: which leprechauns matter? How did I end up obsessing over facts with software project stories on stage when I cared so little with facts here?

Perhaps obsessing over facts is a learned trait, and I just need to work on my heuristics on when that might be appropriate.