Week 128: What Color is Your Bike Shed?

"Parkinson's law of triviality" is not original to Wikipedia, but it is a phenomenon instructive to understanding some of its shortcomings, as explained in the essay "Avoid Parkinson's Bicycle Shed Effect".

The short version of this essay humorously illustrates how small disagreements can take up much more discussion time than more important concerns. British historian C. Northcote Parkinson, imagined a committee discussing the design of a nuclear power plant, who quickly agree on the unemotional basics of the complex and important plant design, but then divide and argue over emotional, aesthetic opinions about what color to paint the employee bike shed.

On Wikipedia, it is unfortunately common for very small details, such as a disputed phrase in the article's introduction, to eat up considerable time and debate. It can't always be avoided, but best if it can be.

Beutler Ink