Is it really true that something is better than nothing?

They say that something is better than nothing. To some extent even I don’t disagree with this statement. But sometimes, you might end up collecting a lot of that ‘something’ which may not serve your purpose at all. You might end up collecting so much useless information and advice that you will actually feel that actually ‘nothing’ is better than lot of useless ‘something’. When we say that time is important, we should make sure that we save ourselves from these useless ‘something’ and focus on things that we really need.

Being a software application developer, I would like to consider what happens in a typical software industry. What is expected from a software project is nothing but working software. But still, most of companies end up using so called ‘up front’ design approach. In this approach lot of time is spent in designing E-R diagrams or UML diagrams including text documentation. Here, I’m not saying that documentation is useless, but considering the effort that is required to change them once the requirement or design decision is changed, it does feel like a big waste of time. There is another approach in developing software known as Test Driven Development (TDD). In this approach, unit tests are written before the code that implements the required functionality. These tests are written such that:

  1. They explain the function of unit under the test
  2. The broken functionality is identified automatically as soon as possible

Text based documentation can serve the purpose stated in point 1 but fails to identify broken functionalities automatically. Thus it’s better to have unit tests than to have documentation in text.

Similarly, in case of online forums, threads are created asking for help. But most of the time I see replies like “Yes I agree” or “Wow!!! That was great”.  I have seen replies that advice the creator of the thread to search Google for more information. Such replies don’t add any real value to the owner of the thread or to other readers. If you want to give your opinion then make sure that you also add value to the thread by recommending your own solution. This way, every reply to a thread will improve the discussion further.

Another case I would like to consider is the case of websites which are created only to make money. Such websites are known as virtual real estates and use PLR articles as content. This leads to hundreds of websites having similar content floating in cyberspace. Another fact is that, most of the time such websites are created by people who knows nothing about the topic. The articles are mostly ghostwritten or taken from PLR sources or article directories. Google knows that such duplicate content doesn’t add any value to internet users and thus, hides the results containing duplicate information.

Whatever may be the case or purpose, we should remember that whatever we do, even if it’s little, should add value to our work. Something is better than nothing holds true only when that ‘something’ has a value and not otherwise.