Transparency. As in "see through and don't notice".

I don't remember who pointed it out recently or where I read it. Someone with good observation skills noted that, for computer scientists, calling something "transparent" means that you can see through it and not even notice it, while most sane people would probably expect that thing's casing to be transparent instead, thus revealing everything what's inside.

The absurdity of this notion of transparency struck me again today when I was reading a Java Magazin article about architectural refactoring in large software projects. The author stated that, if someone uses a public API method, it would be completely transparent to him whether this involves a single method of 300 lines of code or multiple classes that cover the required logic behind it. Every sane man on this planet would probably disagree, because in fact one does not see anything of the underlying implementation and it thus cannot be transparent.

In Germany, we currently have a big discussion about manager salaries. Citizens and politicians demand more transparency. What they mean is: Make the casing of the "manager salaries box" transparent, so that we see what's inside.

It reminds me about a conversation between Marco and someone from Stanford. The Stanfordian made a wish: Use simple language for people who don't share your area of expertise. A wise wish.

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