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Friday, June 26, 2015

Pedantry has its place

A couple of recent vocabulary discussions on HL7 Working group lists made me reflect on the topic of precision in the definitions in standards.  We (standards developers) spend a great deal of time being very precise in our definitions.  Often making very fine distinctions about things that people who wind up using them in the real world aren't aware of, and for the most part, don't need to be.

We need this degree of precision in our processes, but we have to remember that the precision is for our own use, not necessarily for that of the developer.  What developers who implement the standards need is something that is clear and obvious and makes sense.  If we cannot take our very precise definitions and describe them to a developer, then as Richard Feynman would say, we don't really understand it ourselves.



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