I’m sure this is true in many fields, but in software engineering, you’ll often see an engineer or team become very attached to an inferior implementation of some feature. As the problems with this implementation pile up, their attempts to solve them become increasingly bizarre in their desperation to keep their darling. You can only hope that somebody eventually notices during code review.
What made me think of this? Fearing Hackers, D.N.C. Plans to Block Iowa’s ‘Virtual’ Caucuses (NYT):
WASHINGTON — The Democratic National Committee is preparing to block Iowa Democrats’ plans to allow some caucusgoers to vote by phone next year, bowing to security concerns about the process being hacked, according to four people with knowledge of the decision.[…] The Iowa Democrats’ plan would have allowed voters not attending a traditional caucus to register their preference during one of six “virtual caucuses” over the phone. But D.N.C. security officials told the rules committee at a closed-door session in San Francisco last week that they had “no confidence” such a system could remain safe from hostile hackers. […] In August 2018, D.N.C. members adopted new rules for the 2020 presidential primary that encouraged states that held caucuses to switch to primaries and required caucus states to allow for a form of participation that did not require attending a caucus event.
Even when they made my preferred candidate’s victory possible (Obama 2008), caucuses rubbed me the wrong way. They’re unrepresentative nonsense, a throwback to an extremely bygone era. There is a tried-and-true method of making it easy for people to vote that’s fairly difficult to hack–it’s called a primary–but these yahoos are so in love with their inferior implementation of democracy that they’re coming up with increasingly desperate “solutions” to keep it in place.
Sure, you could do it correctly, but it just feels better to do it your special way. This is how systems fail.