An end to the arguments

It’s sometimes said that the real collective-noun for architects is an argument‘an argument of architects’. We see that often enough on LinkedIn, to be sure… Yet we’ve also seen it way too often on these pages here, or in the comments to these pages: and it really does need to stop.

That’s been hammered home to me quite hard in the past few weeks. And it’s not just in pointlessnesses such as the recent farrago around specialism-trolling – though that was all-too-dispiriting just in itself. Even more, it’s from what I’ve seen whilst ploughing my way through all of the old posts here, right back to the beginning in the later part of 2006, cleaning them up and cross-referencing them to get them ready for the interlinked, interactive knowledge-base that I promised in the previous post, ‘Taking a break‘. So many arguments… so many of them so utterly pointless, especially when seen with the hindsight of several years…

Yeah, I do know that if anyone cares to point the “who started it?” finger, it should often be pointed at me. I’m well aware that I can be opinionated to the extreme of becoming more than a bit emotional about it – especially when I see something that I believe to be causing damage to a context through term-hijacks and the like. My fault: I do accept that.

But if it’s something that I’m responsible for, I can change it: that’s literally what responsibility means, as ‘response-ability’, ability to choose appropriate responses.

So right here, right now, let’s have an end to the arguments. No arguing allowed: not from me; not from anyone.

(I don’t mean an end to constructive critique – please, yes, that is still more than welcome here. But those asinine arguments-for-argument’s-sake? – nah, forget it. If that latter is what you really want, then please, just wander off someplace else? – you’ll no doubt find someone somewhere who’ll happily indulge you in those desires. But not here; not now; not any more.)

One reason for this change has been from seeing just how futile so many of those arguments really were, up against people who couldn’t hear – or simply didn’t want to hear – about anything of what I had to say, and hence just weren’t listening to me anyway. Back in 2006, for example, the posts here indicate that I was then often actively mocked for suggesting that enterprise-architecture could or should be about anything other than big-IT. Eight years later, yeah, okay, it’s true there’s still somewhat of a rearguard in some places, still clinging on to the same old past – but you won’t find a single thought-leader in EA now who’ll say that it’s solely about big-IT (not least because the big-IT of that time is itself all but gone, in anywhere other than the really big data-centres). What I see too often now, in fact, is that some of the people who’d most actively mocked me at that time can now be seen actively promoting what I’d then said – but now claimed as ‘all their own work’, without ever crediting its actual source. Kinda galling, to say the least… but that’s always been the futurists’ lot, of course.

There’s more I could say about various of the more infamous or obnoxious characters I’ve had the misfortune to meet up with here, but what would be the point? The aim here is to end the arguments – not start them up all over again… 🙁

And by contrast, there’s also that other meaning of ‘end’ – ‘end’ as purpose. In that sense, the real end of arguments – the purpose of argument-as-exploration, as dialogue, as collaborative-enquiry – is to learn. If no-one’s learning anything from the argument, again, what’s the point? Let’s instead make it worthwhile for everyone involved, yes?

So the way I’m going to end the arguments here is to refocus on themes where, by the nature of what’s discussed, there’s no longer any real space for those pointless kinds of arguments to get started at all. (Constructive critique, yes; futile angels-on-the-head-of-a-pin arguments, no.) For example, one of the most common sources of arguments has been around the definition and scope of enterprise-architecture: so I simply won’t talk about that any more. Instead, I’ll talk about meta-methods, meta-frameworks, meta-models, meta-tools that can work with any scope – in which case, it won’t matter how we define ‘enterprise-architecture’, because the tools will work with whatever we might define its scope to be. The only point worth arguing about there would be experiences on how best to use the tools for specific needs, specific contexts – which requires a focus on arguing-for-learning, not argument-for-argument’s-sake.

I’ll maybe stop describing myself as an ‘enterprise-architect’, too, because even that in itself tends to trigger off yet more arguments of the pointless kind. Instead, I’ll be reframing myself more as a maker of tools for change – any type of change, in enterprise-architecture, strategy, social-community, business, government, whatever. More detail on that over the coming few posts, anyway.

Enough for now: yet let’s make the end of arguments a ‘New Year resolution’ that’s worth keeping – and overall, let’s make this a New Year worth remembering, too! 🙂

Posted in Complexity / Structure, Enterprise architecture, Futures, Knowledge Tagged with: , , , , , , , , ,
4 comments on “An end to the arguments
  1. Darryl Carr says:

    Tom, I couldn’t agree more. I’m relatively new to the forums and debates, and have already lost interest in many of these pointless (and seemingly endless) discussions. For whatever reason, I’m sensing a great deal of optimism and excitement about 2015 from a number of people and areas, and I’m keen to see what you come up with in your own field of expertise.

    • Tom G says:

      Many thanks, Darryl – much appreciated!

      And yeah, I too am keen to see what comes up from this: I honestly don’t know as yet – which is kinda scary, but exhilarating too! 🙂

  2. Peter Bakker says:

    So 2015 will be the year of the motes and the shared stories 🙂

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