Comment Leaderboard

I intend to figure out a way to automate this soon, but for now I will just manually log in to the database every now and then and run the query. There are a lot of people with 1 comment so I’m going to require at least 3 comments for you to rank. I think it would be really interesting if the blogs I regularly visit did this sort of thing, so I hope you think it’s interesting that I’m doing it. As always, thanks to all for reading and commenting! (UPDATED 2/28/14)

Rank Name Comments
1 Expected Optimism 49
2 RossB 37
3 James Oswald 20
4 Nick 17
5 Sonic Charmer 14
6 Eric Scheie 5
6 Reasoned Adult 5
8 Charles R. Hooper (Chuck) 4
10 Jonathan 3
10 Gary Goodman 3
10 Tod 3
10 Fallibilist 3


4 Responses to Comment Leaderboard

  1. RossB says:

    I ran across this and agree completely:
    As a bleeding hart liberal libertarian (no, that isn’t a contradiction :) ) I love that article.

  2. Bob says:

    Has anybody ever heard of a process called
    “capacity planning” ? These kinds of issues plaguing the obamacare
    website (lowercase intentional) would have come to light early on if a capacity plan had been done.
    There is nothing new about these processes. Display screen
    prompts user. Data gets passed to database program. Database program queries database. Database table updated if necessary.
    Results are passed back to display program (or script in this case).
    User prompted again.
    The only potential problem should be in “locking” (for probably a few microseconds) the row for the users info in the database table.

    • RossB says:

      I agree. Sloppy design. But unfortunately, this sort of thing is common, even amongst some pretty big budget companies (sorry, I can’t remember them, but I know this has happened before). I still stand by my previous comments. I’m not sure what happened, but I think this could make for an excellent test case for public-private partnership, or strictly public development, or both. Software engineering is not “real” engineering. Lots of folks think it should be, but even that has its problems. Again, you get bogged down in the specifications, without the flexibility that is the hallmark of software (Dilbert wrote a nice cartoon on the subject).

      I really think that the only way this could have been avoided is with a dedicated, bad-ass IT team made up of government workers. Some would say that this is a contradiction. After all, if you are a really good IT guy (or gal) why would you work for the government? But that proves my second point. If that is the case, then the bureaucracy is broken, and we should fix it. There are lots of anti-government folks in software, but there are also plenty of folks who would love to be part of this team, and would love to solve this problem, so they could tell everyone “Hey, I worked on that” (which sounds way more appealing to some hottie in San Francisco than “uhhh, I work at Facebook”).

      My guess is that they never got the chance. This was one of those private-public partnerships (which is, after all, what Obamacare is all about) and it was probably done on the cheap. Someone checked a checkbox saying it could do X, Y and Z, but they never set a limit for how many simultaneous responses they should handle (or they set the limit too low). Thank God we never tried to get to the moon this way, or we would have watched the Soviets put the hammer and sickle on there before we had a chance to plant old glory.

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