Wikinews:Instruction creep

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Instruction creep is when instructions increase in size over time until they are unmanageable. It is an insidious disease, originating from ignorance of the KISS principle and resulting in bloated pages that are harder to maintain. High traffic, interactive pages tend to be most susceptible.

Instruction creep occurs when a well-meaning user thinks "Hrm ... this page would be better if everyone was supposed to do this" and adds more requirements to the instructions.

The fundamental fallacy behind instruction creep is thinking that people read instructions. If people read instructions, we wouldn't have the problem the new instruction is meant to solve.

Instructions must be pruned regularly. Gratuitous requirements must be removed as soon as they are added.

Logging and archiving requirements are probably the most common form of instruction creep. Procedural steps are popular to add, but unpopular to follow. In the future, the Mediawiki software may automate some common labour-intensive tasks.

See also[edit]

  • Creeping featurism, when a computer program ends up doing more and more.
  • Functionality creep, when a physical document or other non-computer related procedure ends up serving unexpected or unplanned purposes.
  • Incompleteness Theorem, which refers to a similar phenomenon in Mathematics where any set of axioms does not guarantee consistency and could possibly lead to contradictions in the long run.

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