I've been working on a frustrating courseware problem today and yesterday. It's one of those things that could be a real failure or could be Murphy. I finally got permission to try out the LMS directly, which is the only way to solve it.
At the moment it looks somewhat
more like Murphy, but humility forces me to keep both possibilities in the air until it's truly settled.
For clarity, the real Murphy did NOT say that the user is always stupid, or the user will always do wrong shit. Murphy's point was that users and engineers look at the world differently, and users come from a variety of different backgrounds with varied ways of interpreting the world. So engineers need to design assembly lines and devices and instructions to account for all the relevant differences.
I suspect the problem here is in our instructions rather than the code itself, but again it's still indefinite. [Later, as I suspected, it was a matter of instructions that didn't cover all possible ways of thinking. When installed properly on their LMS, the software works properly.]
TROUBLESHOOTING IS EMPATHY.
Troubleshooting requires getting into the customer's system AND the customer's mindset.
= = = = =
When dealing with these ambiguous situations I need to stay loose and flexible, stay open to humility and serendipity, so I was hoping for good sleep tonight. Unfortunately I spoiled the sleep by adding an episode of Casey Crime Photographer at the head of the bedtime playlist. Casey is one of those postwar dramas written to glorify and defend the rich and famous.
Result: Sleep cut short by a bad dream.
Prewar radio and movies were generally empathetic,
in harmony with FDR's ruthless constraint on bankers and stocksters. Prewar radio gave proper respect to ordinary folks with ordinary problems. (In other words, the real Murphy.) After 1946 radio and TV were gradually taken over by Freud as implemented by Stalin. Anyone who resents or doubts the DIVINE RIGHT OF CORRECT PERSONAGES is crazy and needs to be in an institution. This Stalinist mode is all-pervasive now, so ALL modern inputs are destructive.
I had no excuse for this error, because I'd made the same mistake before with the same result, and I'd even written it down in my daily journal or worklog. Avoid Casey.
So this error is not Murphy or forgivable user error. It's just plain stupid. My own instructions were clear, and I thought "Well, maybe this episode won't be quite as bad." It was bad enough.