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Beware of Question Authorities

Following suggestions are from Mr.Lewis Blog ;

* If it’s not dated – don’t assume it’s true
* If its date is more than about 18 months old – don’t assume it’s (still) true
* If there’s no version number – don’t assume it’s true
* If it’s not your exact version number – don’t assume it’s (still) true
* For ‘technical implementation’ details, if there’s no platform mentioned – don’t assume it’s true
* For ‘technical implementation’ details, if the platform’s not the same as yours – don’t assume it’s true
* If there’s no rational justification supplied, and no repeatable test case – don’t assume it’s true.

And even when all the details are perfect and there is a repeatable test case – and even after the repeatable test case produces the same results – ask yourself this question:

“Could there be a different explanation for the same set of results – and if so, how badly could this advice damage my system, and how hard would it be to test my alternative hypothesis ?”

Once you’ve got through that lot – then you might be safe trying the advice on a development system.

Mr.Kyte also mentions this problem under the ‘Question Authority.’ terminology;

There are lots of ‘experts’ out there;
* Make them prove everything
* Statements that should raise your eyebrows:
It is my opinion…
I claim…
I think…
I feel…
* Everything can (and should) be proven
TKPROF goes a long way here
Statspack is great
‘Runstats’ is a tool I use as well (search asktom for runstats)
* Things change, expect that

Remember a test becomes a proof when;

– it has a specification
– the results are reproducible
– alternative explanations have been eliminated
– it is published
– it survives peer-group review

“The Burden of Proof” presentation by Jonathan Lewis

Don’t take any “guru’s” word, test it and make sure you are convinced of the results..



  1. […] Experts to be very careful about, they are exactly matching the Question Authority definition. Also very unfortunately some of their sites always come at top when you do an Oracle […]

    Pingback by Oracle Expert Categories « H.Tonguç YILMAZ Oracle Blog — June 2, 2007 @ 2:33 pm | Reply

  2. […] always try NOT to be one of those “Question Authorities” you may easily find from a search engine, so please use the test cases provided and contribute to […]

    Pingback by Oracle Information Integration Part 1 « H.Tonguç YILMAZ Oracle Blog — October 6, 2007 @ 12:20 pm | Reply

  3. […] Bottom line is, be careful with polluted internet environment, never buy any “guru”’s word immediately, test it and make sure you are convinced of the results on your own environment. Never believe all you read or hear, just because it is printed or someone is more experienced doesn’t mean the advised to be TRUE for you.. https://tonguc.wordpress.com/beware-of-question-authorities/ […]

    Pingback by Oracle myths and information pollution revisited « H.Tonguç YILMAZ Oracle Blog — January 6, 2008 @ 9:26 am | Reply

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