On "write-only" documents
I can't reference this, but I know thousands of people who can (994,000 according to Google)! I think I picked up the idea (even the "meme", dodgy though that concept is) from either;
- Pratchett T (2006) Thud! London; Corgi Books, or
- Pratchett T, Stewart I and Cohen J (2003) The Science of Discworld II; the Globe London; Ebury Press
Substantively, you are familiar with "read-only" documents, such as Acrobat files. This brilliant idea is that there is a class of documents which "need" to be written, but which will never be read.
I am currently engaged in the stupefying exercise of "mapping" some standards onto something else. The content does not matter, because the result will be a "write-only" document. Some bureaucrat somewhere will check whether the document exists, tick a box, and move on to the next item. S/he will certainly not read the document.
I know that is the case--I may have blogged this before, but it's worth a repeat! A couple of years ago, a module with the following "learning outcome" went through our entire quality assurance procedure unchallenged;
- On completion of this module, students will: Be able to discourse animatedly on the positions of several educational thinkers so as to bore the pants off acquaintances at parties.
So--it is just possible that several thousand pounds were spent on the production of "write-only" documents, whose sheer existence counts for much more than their content.
Draw your own conclusions.