What are the technical terms, in your field, for 'dunno'?
In astronomy there's 'unmodelled second order effects'
In medicine there's 'idoeopathic'
In archeology/anthropology there's 'ritual purposes'
How do you professionally term 'we haven't got a clue'?

@vidyasagar In software engineering we have “unreproducible behavior.”

harsh, sarcastic 


@gingerrroot @vidyasagar Yup! Because if there's one thing psychology is good at it's not keeping terms consistent.

@vidyasagar In electrical engineering it's "nonideal behavior" or similar.

In chemistry, the phrase “a combination of steric and electronic factors” springs to mind.

@vidyasagar In IT we often have "It didn't do that in the Dev environment"

@vidyasagar "Thank you for submitting your poem. Unfortunately this piece wasn't right for us, but we wish you best of luck."

@vidyasagar Bookkeeping: post it to the “suspense” account until the client remembers what it is.

@thomasfuchs @vidyasagar I'd go for "Can't reproduce" or "This problem is in EXP", depending on whether you're a practical or theoretical computer scientist.

@vidyasagar "I heard about it, but I am not really familiar with it" ("hab ich schonmal gehört, ist aber nicht gerade mein Thema") - Journalism.

Also: "I only pre-investigated this" ("Ich hab das nur anrecherchiert") - read: "Yeah, I should be well up in this matter, but it is boring / too complicated / not in Wikipedia, so I will just hide my cluelessness behind fuzzy wording."

@vidyasagar in IT we have "try turning it off and on again."

@vidyasagar In libraries and archives, it’s generally “it depends” followed by some kinda bullshitting.

@vidyasagar I guess most fields have something of "we'll do it like this, we've always done it that way", in (agile) software engineering this pattern is also known as "cargo cult programming".

@vidyasagar and of course, there is always the famous last sentence of probably every paper: "further investigation needed"

@vidyasagar also in software engineering: closing bug reports with reason "cannot reproduce" when there are simply too many variables involved to test all combinations in order to hunt a bug down

@vidyasagar "unexpected behavior" leaps to mind for computer stuff

@vidyasagar Here's how "officials" (unspecifed) and the BBC do it:

"Officials say the helicopter may have suffered an unspecified failure."

Just to be double-sure the bullshit is bullshit, they qualify it with the word 'may'. Wow.

@vidyasagar In life sciences, we throw up our hands and say "that's what the data says!" and then try to come up with ways to explain it that we can test with some experiment. Experiments are good and go into results section. Speculations that can't be tested easily are weak and go into the discussion section.

Not sure if this qualifies, but "indeterminate system" in statics

@vidyasagar technical debt for computer engineering

Sign in to participate in the conversation
Scholar Social

The social network of the future: No ads, no corporate surveillance, ethical design, and decentralization! Own your data with Mastodon!