You have no idea what I'm talking about, right? That's because not many people use the term bikeshedding. It's not a usual term that people just throw around all the time.

Bikeshedding is when you argue about some meaningless thing and tend to avoid the more important issue at hand.

For example Urban Dictionary tells us this:

Technical disputes over minor, marginal issues conducted while more serious ones are being overlooked. The implied image is of people arguing over what color to paint the bicycle shed while the house is not finished.

Let's take the above image as an example. You see the stick men trying to dump all the water out of the sand castle but avoid the fact that 1. the castle is made of sand and 2. they have a river below their castle that floods said castle.

In some ways it's like procrastination. You waste your time doing/talking about things that should not be your main focus in the first place.

This is a growing issue in the tech community. I've worked on projects where the more important issues, like scalability, were overlooked because we couldn't decide how many items should a query contain.

So, I propose, as Chris Coyier already said in his article, next time you're in a meeting and you see two people arguing about some meaningless thing, yell bikeshedding!

Until next time, code long and prosper!


Image credit: Guillaume Kurkdjian