Parkinson’s Law of Triviality, also known as the bike-shed effect, posits that members of an organization will give disproportionate attention to trivial issues. There will be a lively discussion on those issues where there aren’t significant barriers to entry in terms of technical expertise you must have to hold your own and, preferably, where there cannot be definitively right or wrong answers. So, in Parkinson’s case, “a committee whose job was to approve the plans for a nuclear power plant spent the majority of its time on discussions about relatively minor but easy-to-grasp issues, such as what materials to use for the staff bike-shed, while neglecting the proposed design of the plant itself, which is far more important but also a far more difficult and complex task.”
I was put in mind of this “law” while seeing social media light up about whether Cam Newton was unduly petulant after his Super Bowl loss or whether, instead, he is being unfairly scrutinized due to his race. Or whether the half-time show was ruined a lot or only just a little by Coldplay’s participation.
You can even see it here where it’s been a week or more since I posted about a bill even though we’re in the middle of a legislative session. The trivial is just easier and more entertaining to talk about even though there a lot of important things that concerned citizens ought to be spending their time on.