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It’s been that way for a few years so it can’t possibly be wrong

October 17, 2007
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Oh god, one of my biggest pet peeves has finally managed to surface in a professional work setting. A few days ago I created something in our issues log for one of the “domain experts” to take a look at. Basically, I wanted to let them know that a particular tax form didn’t make any sense. Long story short, the form says to subtract a certain line number from “[this] or [that]”. It really gives no direction on how you’re supposed to know whether to use this or that.

Well, naturally the domain experts know, because they’ve been working with these forms for ages. The reply I get back is rather snooty and says something like why the author (me) thought it would be a problem with a “form we’ve been using for years” and not the program’s calculation rules is ridiculous. No, she gave no reason as to why that form was like that, just that it couldn’t be wrong since it’s been around for a while.

How, exactly, does that make it exempt from being wrong or not making complete sense? Considering the multitude of other really dumb mistakes I’ve seen, it’s entirely possible that not enough end users of this particular tax form complained (or the complaints were ignored) and that this might be a problem.

The bottom line is that this tax form really needs to say “[this] and/or [that]” rather than simply just “or”. But since it’s been that way for a few years I guess the IRS and supplicant contractors are fine to just leave it as is. Tradition is right because it’s tradition, right? Oh that doesn’t make any sense? I thought so.  I hate people.

One Comment leave one →
  1. Adam permalink*
    October 17, 2007 7:11 pm

    Just like government workers: “I’ve been doing this for years, I must know what I am talking about.”

    You will get to a point with your “expert” where she will either get fired for running a business out of her cube, or she will be promoted.

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