"Bike shed" is an important term to know in Bitcoin! It goes hand in hand with social denial of service attacks and concern trolling.
The more erudite name is Parkinson's law of triviality: https://t.co/J1BCgVf7trhttps://t.co/Ii2ekASgzE
It's really more about distributed knowledge. You know, the Hayekian idea that those closest and most directly pertaining to a problem should be the ones to solve, or at least inform and guide the solutions. Any sort of bureaucracy and hierarchy undermines the ability of cooperating individuals to voluntarily exert their collective will, as it dilutes the pure expertise of the pertinent.
We see this all the time in IT/CS when we are trying to build software. Everyone suddenly has an opinion about the color, or the layout. And we're like, "wait there are serious problems with the backend, we need to discuss this.". Nope. Bikeshedding. Let's have a 3 hour meeting about shit that doesn't fucking matter
I do this at work. I give the "important people" who need to justify their jobs a bunch of Very Important things to investigate. As long as they are caught up chasing their own tails, they leave me alone.
I've worked for several tech companies around the DC area and we often respond to government proposals. If you are the selected vendor, the government usually negotiates on price and deliverables. When we really liked our proposal as is, we would often insert what we called a "hairy arm" - this was a deliverable or a licensing term that meant nothing to us, but we knew the government would object to it. That what we ended up with what we wanted and the negotiators felt like they earned their money and everybody went home happy. No clue why it was called a "hairy arm" but it was a well-known term.
Reminds me of a story one of my profs told me in our electronics course from when he worked for Nortel (I think, it was a company that made VOIP phones) where every phone his team designed was getting the "Great, just reduce the cost by x%" so a phone they designed had a shitload of extra components in the design to drive up the cost, so when the typical "reduce cost" order came down, they stripped the unnecessary parts out and finished under the cost the higher up wanted.
In music studios if there is a "hands on" meddling fuckwit producer coming to listen to a mix of a song, a savvy engineer will purposely leave one instrument way too loud so that cool guy can point it out and feel he's put his stamp on the mix.
I'm no programmer but I deal with the same BS daily. People feel like they should "contribute" so no matter how impeccable my work is (I write btw) I'm always being asked to make about 15 irrelevant, nitpicky changes. Don't get me wrong, I welcome constructive feedback or someone pointing out something that is incorrect but if you find yourself desperately searching for something to change, just keep your trap shut.
In advertising this is called the "hairy hand" or "hairy arm." Making deliberate but obvious mistakes so the client focuses on that and feels satisfied when calling it out so they don't ask for any other changes.
I used to do a variation of this to foster good conversation in the comments section of my blog. As I was writing, sometimes I would think of a good point and deliberately leave it out of my post so that someone could bring it up in the comments, figuring it would surely occur to someone else, too. It usually worked. The commenter feels smart for making a good point, and conversation often ensued. I know today it's des rigueur to hate blog comments and even disallow them. But I loved my commenters.
I had a manager like this once. He was a schmuck. Every plan I presented him needed one thing changed. So I started adding one obviously bad thing to each plan. Eventually I quit that job, but during my last two weeks I had to present one more project plan I'd been preparing. I made the second to last phase "Invade Russia During Winter".