Lazy is not the word.

by Timothy Appnel

lazy \La"zy\

  1. Disinclined to action or exertion; averse to labor; idle; shirking work. --Bacon.

  2. Inactive; slothful; slow; sluggish; as, a lazy stream. The night owl's lazy flight. --Shak.

  3. Wicked; vicious. [Obs. or Prov. Eng.] --B. Jonson.

Source: Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary

I'm all for the concept of the LazyWeb and I'm quite excited by its potential. Shelley Powers put it best when she wrote I think we're seeing a new form of open source development, based on technology developed for the community and its immediate, expressed needs. A case of community searching for technology rather than technology on the hunt for a users.

Lazy doesn't seem to be the word for it because members of the community describing its needs are taking action requiring some work to clearly articulate their need.

In his article covering the LazyWeb and its significance, Clay Shirky explains that term first coined by Matt Blackbelt Jones initially meant If you wait long enough, someone will write/build/design what you are thinking about. The concept has since evolved to mean I describe a feature I think should exist in hopes that someone else will code it. The concept has evolved, but the name has not to reflect that change.

I'm actually not sure what the right term is, so I suppose in essence this is my description of a need -- the need for a more appropriate term. The term seems like a slight that doesn't exactly encourage participation for those who are unfamiliar with the concept. (A form of Developers Have Blind Spots?)

I'm the type of person who reads a request and develops something. Community software development needs more input from users and needs to encourage their participation anyway we can -- like not describing them as slothful or the like.

Is lazy the right term or not?


2003-01-16 03:42:24
'Lazy' is just right...
'Lazy' refers to the person who does nothing but throw out the idea. It's no slight on any implementors who actually pick up the idea and run with it; rather they are assumed to be industrious by comparison.
2003-01-16 08:08:08
'Lazy' is just right...My point was being made for the requestor.
My point was being made for the requestor. The requestors are likely to be non-technical and non-developers. They are what makes this emerging community different then open source projects. they "lead" with ideas that result in useful software and features. We already have a strong base of participation by developers in open source projects so its pretty clear that developers need be quite active.

I think you underappreciate and belittle the effort it takes to articulate an idea particularly when you are not a developer. Lazy is not saying anything all. Yes they do not log as many hours a as developer might, but hours is not the issue. Who is more valuable the requestor(s) who submit a "killer" idea or the developer that releases software no one finds useful?

I am not interested in participating in anything where I will be viewed as being lazy. Perhaps that is because I tend to be an implementor.