Forms --- is there a more despised feature of our society? "Fill this out!" ... "In triplicate!" ... "Your papers are not in order!" ... "Go stand in line 17 to get schedule 41-B, have it approved at window 3, and come back here when you're done with it!" ... "Not in blue ink; you have to use black!" ...

Forms --- great fun to make fun of. But seriously, forms are simply a structured way to gather and exchange information. They're the price of large-scale collaboration and efficiency. Like software documentation: unnecessary in tiny projects where everybody knows everybody else, but vital when work has to go beyond an individual's horizons in space or time.

Forms --- tools for data complexity management.

(se also EncapsulationAndTrust (25 Jul 1999), CommonUnderstanding (8 Oct 1999), ... )

TopicSociety - TopicScience - 2004-01-12


i cannot resist to point you to this game about bureaucracy that you might like

(one word of caution before : some friends told me that the banner ads on this site are sometimes evil and are trying to install stuff in the background, make sure you take appropriate precautions)

Here's the description of the game straight from the site :

In my opinion the best parody game ever made, Bureaucracy is a hilarious game written by Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy creator Douglas Adams. The plot is simple enough: you have just moved to a new town and must get your bank to acknowledge your change of address form before embarking on your all-expense paid trip to Paris.

That the game is something special is obvious when you open the box-- freebies, which are Infocom's hallmark, are among the best you'll ever see: everything from the Popular Paranoia magazine to four copies of Beezer Card application will make you laugh out loud even before you install the game. Once you do, you'll be treated to a rollercoaster ride of a plot that contains more twists and turns than Adams' zany novels, seeing your on-screen alter ego suffer Bureaucratic mishaps that range from missed flight connections to surly waitresses.

The puzzles are as difficult as any other Infocom game (it was written by the same guy who invented the Babel Fish puzzle, after all), but they do follow some logic no matter how twisted it may be (how you dispose of the stew on the airplane is one good example). There are many well-developed characters who represent some of the most annoying people you meet in real-life, from the delivery man to Random Q. Hacker. Bureaucracy, quite rightly, has become the standard by which almost all tongue-in-cheek games about real life are measured, and has been imitated many times but seldom equalled. Two thumbs up!

(correlates: PassingInspiration, ElegantTechnologies, ElusivePimpernel, ...)