When a problem is resolved

January 11, 2011

This month’s T-SQL Tuesday is hosted by Jen McCown, and she’s picked the topic of Resolutions. It’s a new year, and she’s thinking about what people have resolved to do this year. Unfortunately, I’ve never really done resolutions like that. I see too many people resolve to quit smoking, or lose weight, or whatever, and fail miserably. I’m not saying I don’t set goals, but it’s not a thing for New Year.T-SQL Tuesday

The obvious joke is “1920×1080” as a resolution, but I’m not going there.

I think Resolving is a strange word. It makes it sound like I’m having to solve a problem a second time, when actually, it’s more along the lines of solving a problem well enough for it to count as finished. If something has been resolved, a solution has been provided. There is a resolution, through the provision of a solution. It’s a strangeness of English. When I look up the word resolution at dictionary.com, it has 12 options, including “settling of a problem”. There’s a finality about resolution. If you resolve to do something, you’re saying “Yes. This is a done thing. I’m resolving to do it, which means that it may as well be complete already.”

I like to think I resolve problems, rather than just solving them. I want my solving to be final and complete. If I tune a query, I don’t want to find that I’m back in there, re-tuning it at some point. Strangely, if I re-solve a problem, that implies that I didn’t resolve it in the first place. I only solved it. Temporarily.

We “data-folk” live in a world where the most common answer is “It depends.” Frustratingly, the thing an answer depends on may still be changing in the system in question. That probably means that any solution that is put in place may need reinvestigating at some point later.

So do I resolve things? Yes.

Am I Chuck Norris, and solve things so well the world would break first? No.

Do these two claims happily sit beside each other? No, unfortunately not. But I happily take responsibility for things, and let my clients depend on me to see it through. As far as they are concerned, it is resolved.

And so I resolve to keep resolving, right through 2011.

This Post Has 3 Comments

  1. Stephen

    Just a note to say that when I followed your blog through from Adelaide Blogs (http://adelaideblogs.com/) it went through to your old (msvps ) link
    Don’t know if you can do much about this

  2. Rob Farley

    Thanks Stephen – I’ve written to them now.

  3. andyleonard

    Metaresolving. I like it. A lot!

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