This collection of directives is a living document: it is subject to continued change and amendment.
Directives are the principles under which I operate, which guide my objectives, decision-making, and actions.
This collection of directives was written by me, emsenn, and is released for the benefit of the public under the terms included in the "License" supplement. It was made possible with financial contributions from humans like you. Please direct comments to my public inbox or, if necessary, my personal email.
This document was written primarily as a personal reference for the author. It may assume an uncommon familiarity with the topics and context being discussed. If you are trying to use this document and find a part unhelpful, please submit an email to the author's public inbox.
This collection of directives tackles a subject which is difficult: the language used to approach may have flaws, and may not accurately convey my intentions. It is suggested you assume I wrote the piece honestly and with sincere intentions.
001: Consent Matters
002: Data should be private
I should treat all the personal information I hold, about other people or organizations, as private: their property that I have access to under whatever terms are appropriate for my relationship with them.
003: Useful information cannot be owned
Any bit of information that is useful, meaning imparts some utility to anyone who has it, where utility means satisfying the person's desires.
This one can seem at-odds with the Data should be private directive - if useful information can't be owned, doesn't that mean lots of data can't be private?
That's… correct, unfortunately; the two directives are at-odds with each other. If your data is useful, you can't own it, at least not forever. Someone who has access to it is either going to steal it (maybe unintentionally, simply by mimicking it), or come up with whatever notion it is, on their own.
Think about the statistics of it: most problems are shared by many many people. If even half of them come up with a solution, that's still many people, and some of them might have a solution identical to - or better than - yours. And even if they don't, more people in the future will encounter the same problems, and eventually, come up with a solution that's better than yours.
You can patent your solutions to prevent this, but that requires a large amount of capital to accomplish, and even more to maintain, and even then, someone might come up with a better solution.
So, it's better to just share what you know that's useful.
004: Competition should be purposeful
Any time I notice myself in competition with someone or another organization, or find myself potentially preparing for competition, it's important I ask myself, is there a purpose to this competition: is it going to drive both parties to innovate, or so on?
005: Figurative language is lazy
Things can be beautifully described as they are. This extends to software: "an ounce of application is worth a ton of abstraction."
006: Data should be parseable by humans
Any data that I keep track of, I should make sure it's easily readable by humans, if it's at all possible. It's easy enough for a computer to translate that human-readable data into something more feasible for its own use.
007: Deprecating deviation from defaults should be motivated
Changes to a system which make it incompatible with its default operating mode should only be done if there's a good reason. This is of extra importance if I'm tutoring, since I'll will often be interacting with default systems & their users.
008: No job is finished until the paperwork is complete
Any action I take should not be considered complete until the paperwork is finished. This one is fairly concrete compared to the other objectives: My work follow procedures, those procedures come with instructions for recordkeeping. Follow those instructions.
012 Information should be atomic
I should keep information maintained in a state where it's useful on its own, without needing to reference other information. This makes it more likely to be useful, and in line with [Directive #018](/018), more worth sharing.
013: The universe is intelligible
I believe the universe is intelligible: it is possible to understand how any and all of it works. I don't believe anyone presently does, and I think the odds of anyone ever doing so are very slim, but I think it's important to recognize that every question does have an answer.
014: Avoid learning proprietary systems
Most proprietary systems are proprietary because they're taking advantage of temporal arbitrage: the fact no one else is offering the same thing as them for free, yet. That's kind of a greedy way to make money, so we'd rather put our resources into people who share their information for free, and only charge for their actual work - just like us.
015: Avoid building systems that require learning proprietary information
016: There are at least two perspectives on everything
017: Only functional systems should be automated
It can be tempting to automate anything that happens near a computer. This often leads to a mess of broken systems, or a huge sink of time fixing bugs. Automate things in the beta stage, not before.
018: Useful information should be shared.
This directive serves as extension of [#003](#003), making an implication explicit. While that directive says that useful information cannot be owned, and its text (currently) suggests that it is better to share it, this directive makes that clear.
022: Satire can be dangerous
The audiences like to think that satire is doing something. But, in fact, it is mostly to leave themselves satisfied. Satisfied rather than angry, which is what they should be. – Tom Lehrer
023: Nothing results in nothing
Everything results in something. Even failure gets you experience. Kin dof related to #016, I suppose: what might result in "nothing" from one perspective probably is something from another.
This document was made possible with contributions from humans like you. Thank you! I currently accept contributions through the following platforms:
If there is another service through which you'd like to contribute, please send an email. Please note that in accordance with my personal directives #003 and #018, I release all useful information I create for free, so financial contributions do not entitle you to access to any "exclusive content."
Copyright 2019 emsenn
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