> Why are we so eager to 'protect the guilty' in discussions like this?
> Why can't we just share this stuff in public and tell it like it is, so
> the information is available for people who need it?
I agree that the practice is unfortunate as I personally believe that
critics are the ones who care, but there are a number of practical
considerations that don't lead me to believe the situation will change soon.
Our profession is very risk averse. This makes people more inclined to
adopt a CYA posture because anyone knows that if you say anything that
could influence someone's rice bowl, you could have to answer for it even
if it is 100% true. Even when legal considerations are not an issue,
mistakes are viewed as evidence that someone screwed up rather than as an
essential part of developing services, and anyone who makes one won't be
trusted until they can "prove" it won't happen again.
People who don't do the work don't appreciate the sausage making process
for what it is. When you shine lights in the wrong places, you take away
peoples' ability to balance competing priorities by diverting
disproportionate attention (and therefore resources) to issues that could
be a total distraction.
Ironically, being too open makes high value information harder to come by.
If someone trusts you with negative information about their own product to
help you understand a problem, you have to find ways to use the information
for good that don't involve getting others bitten in the butt. Betray
peoples' confidence, and they won't share.
So how are you supposed to figure out what's actually going on? Learn how
to ask the right questions by getting as much unfiltered info as possible
from as many sources as possible. Help people with weaknesses they reveal
rather than letting them get flogged in public for them.
And don't let perfect be the enemy of good. One factor that paralyzes many
environments is that progress stops whenever a fault is acknowledged rather
than figuring out what's the best overall path. People who want to get
things done clam up fast if raising issues gets you sent to meeting hell
where nothing ever happens.