What respectful questions might we ask Ed Yourdon?

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Have you any suggestions for us about how to refocus more on the pursuit of reason and Y2K issues of a factual nature?

Have you any thoughts for us about the most desireable communications methods and behaviour amoungst the participants on this forum?

You have proven that you have no interest in proscribing to others. These questions are only seeking your suggestions and thoughts.

Respectfully and with appreciation, Watchful.

What other respectful questions might be asked to elicit Ed's insights on how we might further enhance the quality and educational helpfulness of this forum?

-- Watchful (seethesea@msn.com), March 18, 1999


Hey, you're allowed to ask disrespectful questions, too. It happens to me all the time -- I get email from people asking, "Are you nuts? What planet were you born on? If you're so concerned about Y2K, why can't you prove it?" and so on, and so forth...

To answer your question directly, though: it seems to me that many of the forum participants are acting like exhausted boxers in the 10th round of a heavyweight championship fight. The Y2K optimists and pessimists keep throwing punches at one another, usually inflicting some degree of injury, but not quite enough to knock the opponent out. One has to wonder whether it might not be better for the referee to halt the fight, and call it a draw -- especially since most of the punching is taking place between complete strangers....

If you have strong opinions (either positive or negative), and you feel that your family and close friends need to be convinced that your point-of-view is the right one, then you probably should continue punching away (in a positive, loving fashion, of course) until they ring the bell at the end of the final round. But if a complete stranger approaches you (whether in person or on the Internet), and says, "I hear that you're an optimist/pessimist about Y2K, and as far as I'm concerned, you're a total idiot," what's the point in responding at this late date?

I think some participants continue to thrash through the Y2K arguments on this forum because they still haven't made up their own mind about the likely outcome. As we've all told one another, ad nauseum, nobody know what the outcome will be, not with absolute certainty. But that's life, and to a greater or lesser degree, we have to make decisions every day with that kind of uncertainty. Usually the stakes are much lower, and usually we can procrastinate much longer before being forced to take a position one way or the other ... but aside from that, it's the same as the situation we find ourselves in with Y2K.

If you've read all 70,000+ messages on this forum and concluded that, to the best of your knowledge and experience, Y2K is going to be a non- event (aka bump in the road, winter-snowstorm, or whatever the phrase du jour happens to be), then it seems to me that you might as well say to yourself, "Well, I may be wrong, and I may rue the decision a few months from now, but I've decided that I don't have to pay attention to Y2K." And at that point, it seems to me that you should bid adieu to the forum and go back to whatever you were doing before.

But if you've agonized over all of this, lost a lot of sleep, tried unsuccessfully to convince yourself that things will work out just fine, and finally admitted to yourself that your head and your heart and your "gut" tells you that Y2K is going to be a serious problem ... well, then you might as well stop arguing about it, stop complaining about it, stop whining and dragging your feet about it -- and simply accept the decision to cope with it. Once again, it may turn out that you're wrong, and in a few months, you may rue the decision -- but at least you will have made the decision and acted on it.

From that perspective, the Y2K issue is kinda like the decision about whether you're going to marry the "significant other" that you've spent the last N months/years with ... or whether you're going to make the commitment to have children, after you and your spouse have talked about it until you're blue in the face. Technically, you can postpone the decision to get married forever; but Y2K is more like the decision to have a child, because there's a clock ticking and there's a deadline involved.

For the GI's who have made the emotional and intellectual decision that their actions will be based on a worse-than-bump-in-the-road Y2K outcome, there are still lots of interesting questions to ask: how will the government respond? when will the general public begin panicking, if ever? how will our own lives be affected? how will we cope? will it be worse in country X than in country Y? etc, etc. But the ongoing arguments about whether Y2K is going to be a "0" versus a "10" on the scale are getting pretty boring at this point; the media journalists might persist in staging such debates for another several months, but I would think that the participants on this forum are far beyond that...

I spend a lot of time asking myself fairly practical questions -- e.g., if Y2K turns out to be bad enough that nobody wants to hire a high- priced computer consultant like me for several years, what will I do to feed my family? Depending on whether you view the outcome of Y2K as a "3" or a "5" or a "7" or a "9", there are all kinds of practical questions that we ought to be considering for our own futures, as well as those of our extended family. There have been several threads addressing these issues, and they're among the most interesting ones for me to read...

I don't know if any of this is useful to you, Watchful, but those are the thoughts that came to mind when first reading your question.


-- Ed Yourdon (ed@yourdon.com), March 18, 1999.

First of all Ed wouldn't tell people how to act or react, nor how to ask a question that has reason or no reason. Everyone communicates in different ways, some more articulate that others.

-- Smithy (Smithy@smith.com), March 18, 1999.


E-mail him directly and ask ... ed@yourdon.com


-- Diane J. Squire (sacredspaces@yahoo.com), March 18, 1999.

Smithy, I mentioned that we recognize that Ed does not proscribe and I did not make any reference to participant's semantics.

Diane, Thank you for the note of Ed's email address.

-- Watchful (seethesea@msn.com), March 18, 1999.


Your response is most helpful.

I do hope that participants here will note your constructive suggestions for refocusing some of our deliberations.

Thanks for your further insights,

-- Watchful (seethesea@msn.com), March 18, 1999.


(insert .wav or midi of small bronx cheer here)

OF COURSE WE WILL!! and we'll all fail miserably.

has something to do with the X chromosome. (THe one that let's me change my mind)

Or was it the Y chromosome, the one that let's me love gadgets.

whatever, it has to do with our humanity.

chuck, who believes humans are the greatest kind of people, next to cats of course.

-- Chuck, a night driver (reinzoo@en.com), March 19, 1999.

yeah- while the black helicoptor sightings are "interesting" as are the conspiracy posts, I think the most useful ones for me personally are of either a practical nature, or else a "getting the big picture", where is this all heading type. I think that personal battles between forum participans is useless, as is attempting to change peoples minds. they think what they think. I wish there was more discussion about the impact on us individually and society as a whole, not just how much food to store. For instance, if we head off a total disaster, lights off, rioting in the big cities scenario, but slide into a global depression, what then? I'd welcome more discussion re: local currency, local commerce, living an intentional life and stuff like that....Anyone else??

-- anita (hillsidefarm@drbs.com), March 19, 1999.


What is your take on the September 9, 1999 date. It appears that there is more and more focus on this date as we head into the summer.


-- Ray (ray@totacc.com), March 19, 1999.

It appears to me - unusual and useful "new" threads like to ungoing FAA and Panama questions aside - the most entertaining (important ?) process is the ability to "track" of progress through the summer and early fall - from our current point of perhaps 1 - 1.5% complete to the final of 60 - 70 - 75 - 80 - 85 - 95 percent complete, and in trying to determine what areas will be most affected by what events at what times.

Second - Completely unpredictable so far is the federal government's response as time grows shorter - and the true extent of the troubles - whether larger or smaller - is more readily known. Thus - review of that information is critical.

I agree in general that (1) I can't type worth a d**m, (2) arguing with a determined troll is useless (3) you learn a lot arguing with a knowledgeable person who disagrees with you, you elarn a lot listenig to others who jhave different backgrounds - as long as their information is checked soemhow - and this group does that very well - (5) these are verrrrryyy interesting times.

-- Robert A. Cook, P.E. (Kennesaw, GA) (cook.r@csaatl.com), March 19, 1999.

Amen, Mr. Ed.

-- Linda A. (adahi@muhlon.com), March 19, 1999.

I don't generally get involved in these discussions but wonder if a feeling of impending change that might not allow time to fall back to plans for being out of danger zone is felt by anyone else? This feeling is affecting my motiation for working.What would you do if you waited too long, to earn as much money as possible(considering I figure it possible not to find work for 2 years if depression scenario plays out)Money won't be much help if stuck in an area where civil unrest could make just staying alive a big job.I just feel like any day we could see the disruptions start the domino effect.And at what point would the govt. step in and resrict travel.I hope this never happens but I need to plan for this possibility.If I were the govt. and knew trouble was coming I would focus public attention on one date(2000 rollover)and step in when real trouble was about to begin(earlier than later)to get the jump on public panic.Am I parinoid? I will still follow my personal plans but wonder if anyone else is feeling this tension?

-- Robert A. Quinn (robq@mindspring.com), March 19, 1999.

But unrest (and rioting, civil disorder, social breakdown, damage and ??) would most likely be a result of the failure of services and local government - thus, my interest in trying to figure out the areas and regions furthest in remediation, and those furthest behind, and by implication, perhaps being able to predict the areas where actual failure would be likely to occur.

Primary failure would be systemic (mechanically and electrically and electronically caused) - leading to information failure, then personal disruption, then potential social disruption and perhaps failure - but that level of problem (like the LA riots) is nothing that can be solved by design or programming or engineering solutions.

So, in my opinion, the key is watching the management and administrators reporting (going on now) to identify the level of technical repairs (going on now) to figure out how much testing will occur (in the future) to try to identify the areas where the problems leading to systematic failures may occur (sometime in the future). Then observe the society and culture in those areas to try to predict the result of possible failure of government and its services.

-- Robert A. Cook, P.E. (Kennesaw, GA) (cook.r@csaatl.com), March 19, 1999.


Thank you for your insightful response. I think many of us are at the same point you are. After absorbing the global impact and reeling from the shock that a new world is going to emerge, it makes alot of sense to say, "where do I fit in?" Something that keeps nagging at the back of my mind is that, if everything around me changes drastically, I can pretty well bet that I'll make some drastic inner changes as well. So when I look to living in a post-Y2K world I can't imagine what I'll want to do to put food on the table because I can't imagine what type of person I'll be. I'm taking things a day at a time, crossing most of these bridges when I come to it, and controlling only those aspects of post-Y2K that I'm able to. That relates mainly to preparation and working towards self-reliance. It's a really scary thing to consider that you may not have a place in the post-Y2K ecnomy.


-- jhollander (hollander@ij.net), March 20, 1999.

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