As Sherlock was prone to say when investigating appealingly complex situation to his sidekick Watson, “It’s Elementary!” our efforts to unravel complex shack problems should be easy if we observe well and are systematic.
In various forums and in the FRS Community well meaning PWSP (People wanting to Solve a Problem) outpace our dear Sherlock making leaps of (il)logic, posting micro subsets of the needed diagnostic information, and let “preconceived solution bias” color what information they do provide.
Of the three – leaps of (il)logic, lack of information and solution bias – the most dangerous to arriving at a solution to any investigation is solution biases the investigator doesn’t recognize and keep in control.
Solution Bias is a bit nuanced. An inkling that a solution lays in a certain area is normal investigative logic and can be a useful tool. One certainly doesn’t want to approach every similar problem from a blank sheet.
But if solution bias is not recognized or so colors either the PWSP or the Sherlocks to the point that they stop analyzing the big picture of data, it is then a crippling force in investigative efficiency.
Solution bias is also one of the easiest ways to end up eating crow through the way your solution bias takes over leaving you with ownership of a preconceived solution that later doesn’t fit.
Working from a lack of information really shouldn’t be such a problem in online forum problem solving, excepting that PWSP – especially PWSP with a case of solution bias – don’t provide enough information to even have a big picture view to investigate from. In the case of the FRS forum PWSP often skip which platform they are on (including build), which version of FlexRadio software they are on, what actual hardware they are running, and as a Flex-6000 is basically a network device – what their network looks like with basic configurations.
Community PWSP who have an upgrade issue often skip posting about all the other updates they also did at the same time, whether the 3rd party software involved was/wasn’t updated, if other things on their computer also broke in the transition, or anything else they changed. Often PWSP have skipped the published guidance on how to manage an update.
All in all working from a lack of information does provide the amusement of back-and-forth playing Twenty Questions while actually hindering ever aspect of arriving at a solution.
One of most amusing aspects of online collaborative diagnostics is Leaps of (Il)logic. Most community forums have at least one Bad Analogy Guy. Recently the FRS community has one scaremonger who because some cell phones had battery fires, and some radio gear left on their chargers for literally years developing a resulting battery swelling, that therefor this radio gear is a personal hazard. His bad analogy would be like saying because a raccoon somewhere had rabies that all household pets are an immediate personal hazard. No evidence, no logic, just his personal Leap of Illogical reasoning.
As a sideline to this case the radio gear he was fear-mongering over has been revised once, so their is a Series A and a Series B version. The limited cases of battery swelling – that people have posted about at least – are the Series A version units. Because our forum poster suffers from solution bias along with Leaps of (Il)logic he has determined that all Series A units share the battery swell problem, but implies that Series B do not. Perhaps so, but lacking any further information of actual differences (that lack of information part) could it be simply that the Series A have been out longer, which means they could have been left on the charge long enough to damage their batteries? Hmmm…maybe? Or maybe not – but certainly this poster has no factual basis to make his claims.
Back to making solving an issue elementary for a PWSP, if we work from facts, get all the facts, and remember that correlations are investigative indicators not definers of our investigation, AND avoid leaps of logic (what I’ev called “(Il)logic”) we can best help each other.
There is one other pitfall to avoid, and that is emotive posting. We all do it, most of us regret it later, and usually it gets in the way of solving an issue for a PWSP. Whether playing “cop” which further stirs the pot, or just flipping the bird to each other through forum posts the actual problem of the PWSP is lost. Best avoided.