Re: What's the alternative to "snarling"?

Dave Cridland <> Tue, 20 April 2021 06:52 UTC

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From: Dave Cridland <>
Date: Tue, 20 Apr 2021 07:51:49 +0100
Message-ID: <>
Subject: Re: What's the alternative to "snarling"?
To: Keith Moore <>
Cc: " Discussion" <>
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On Mon, 19 Apr 2021, 17:57 Keith Moore, <> wrote:

> On 4/19/21 12:35 PM, Dave Cridland wrote:
> Radical thought: What if explaining in detail why a proposal is a Bad Idea
> *is* useful work?
> What if it might bring new people in to provide new insight? That strikes
> me as very useful work indeed.
> Under some conditions, it certainly can be useful work.   That's why, for
> example, refuting proofs of how to square circles might have made a good
> exercise for math graduate students, who are basically indentured servants
> anyway so they're not free to resist, and maybe could use a better
> grounding in the math that underlies such arguments.
> But there's a limit to how much of this is useful, and when writing the
> Nth explanation for why (for example) assigning IP addresses geographically
> isn't as good an idea as it might initially seem, the point of diminishing
> returns is probably around N=1.
> Okay, I can go along with this. But presumably someone wrote this up
originally, so should we be curating these answers, maybe as drafts, so we
can say, "You should look at this and see if you've anything new here",
rather than "Not again, go away you idiot".

I mean, I can take a stab at why geographic ip address assignments aren't
perfect, but I have no idea what a routing expert might write on the
subject. I'm quite intrigued now.

> I also suspect there are better ways to generate new insights than to
> endlessly try to refute Bad Ideas.   For instance, try to approach a
> problem from a completely different angle than has been proposed before.
Sure, but the thing about newcomers is that they don't know what has been
proposed before, and it's not easy to find out. I certainly wouldn't have
known that a serious attempt to use geographic ip had been made before.

And if you want new approaches, then new people is almost certainly a

> Keith