Wednesday, July 04, 2007

 

Grey's Law

Grey's Law is a less-known corollary of Hanlon's Razor, which imitates the form of Clarke's Third Law. It states that:

"Any sufficiently advanced incompetence is indistinguishable from malice."

While the stated principle pays a certain homage to Hanlon's Razor, it is also to some extent a rebuttal of the principle therein, stating that the distinction which the former makes is often moot. It is unclear just who the "Grey" of Grey's Law is. The quotation itself appears to have spread through email sig blocks and various social bookmarking websites, and appears to be of recent origin. This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Grey's Law". This entry is a fragment of a larger work. Link may die if entry is finally removed or merged.


Comments:
I love this! I can't wait to use this quote!
 
Shouldn't that be called "Bush's Law"?
 
This comment has been removed by the author.
 
[ Updated previous comment to take out the typos :( ]

I wonder who started referring to this as "Grey's Law".

Sometime in or before 2001 I came up with this variation on Clarke's Law - independent from anybody - and as far as I can determine the first time I posted it was under my "tyl" handle in my .sig on Slashdot here :
Slashdot reference

I didn't find any older references on the Net, only some discussions about whom to attribute the quote to :)

So unless there's prior art, I'd prefer this to be called the "First Law of RX" or something :D (RX being my current handle I use most - see also RX Myspace Page)
 
there is a law in NJ of the same name is this it? I am looking for a NJ law anyone know of it???
 
@rx

No, if you change your Slashdot sig, it updates on all of your posts, however old.
 
"Slashdot - news for nerds, stuff that matters". For those that haven't heard of it, it's a major geek news site.

However, slashdot + myspace don't normally go together.

MySpace allowed non-nerds to effectively host web content without having to learn any complex stuff.

I'd guess 95% of regular slashdot readers would already know the geek stuff, and would rather have a fully customizable proper server than use some severely limited amateur web hosting.

Secondly, the link you posted to your myspace page was wrong, making me again doubt your geek credentials.

Perhaps I'm wrong, but I doubt RX is 'tyl'.
 
This law reminds me of "Unskilled and Unaware of It" studies: http://c2.com/cgi/wiki?UnskilledAndUnawareOfIt

When the unskilled give advice and talk with authority, it can definitely appear like someone crafty is being malicious.
 
I just found Grey's Law and report a deep sense of satisfaction!
Burl Grey
www.burlgrey.com
 
I've been using "Any sufficiently advanced malice is indistinguishable from incompetence" for some time since it seems the motto of the current US government.
 
nice post
 
Seeing how Barry is supposed to be the brightest man in any room he enters, it must be malice.
 
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