Monday, April 16, 2012

"Not always best" practices

Eddie Awad linked to an item written by Karen Morton regarding best practices. Morton shared a concern:

An unfortunate side effect the label "best practice" has when it is attached to any method or technique is that it makes people blind to the context in which the practice should/could be applied. Can you think of any examples where a practice that is "best" in one context is questionable within another? Sure you can....But, so often, many people will take a best practice at face value without considering the context of their own situation.

Morton prefers the term "contextual practice."

Morton's idea of using the context of a problem when designing a solution ties into Sujatha Das' thoughts on wisdom, which both Jim Ulvog and yours truly have blogged about. To recast Karen Morton's concern in Sujatha Das' terms, the knowledge that you acquire has to be thorough enough to allow a proper application of wisdom to the problem in question.

Here's an example of an ironclad rule from krisandro:

I have this blogging rule that I set upon myself a few months back. As much as possible, I will not write a short entry. I try hard to make every post a ‘worthy’ read so that one will remember some of the contents or be interested to come back for more.

That sounds like a best practice, doesn't it?

Krisandro then proceeeds to write a 100+ word entry that is decidedly not short. It clearly fits into the stated best practice.

He then rewrites the entry into an entry of only six words, which is just as effective.

You'll have to go here to read the two versions, and then you can judge whether either version, or both versions, are a worthy read.

And perhaps krisandro should check the best practices in Wikihow.
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