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Is there a name to characterize certain requests that look like a good idea at first, but ultimately have a false premise?

Example 1: We need our software product to be extremely configurable!

Supporting extreme configuration shifts some responsibilities from product designers to end users. It also creates inconsistent user experience, and makes product looks unsure of its own identity.

Example 2: I need real-time stock market data to make better trading decisions!

Looks like a good idea: a user can react on stock market fluctuations faster than anybody else and beat the market. The truth is that they will be picking up more noise and making bad decisions.

Those were just examples, I'm not looking for arguments on those statements.

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A note: your examples are not premises, just statements. I think you assume them to be conclusions, but still it is not clear if they were made based on a false premise or wrong reasoning. If I ignore these ambiguous elements from the question all that is left is: "Name for a requests that look like a good idea at first, but ultimately are not." If you need something more specific, please clarify further. –  Unreason Nov 11 '11 at 10:42
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4 Answers

up vote 3 down vote accepted

MYTH came to my mind, although it might not fit your case.

From dictionary.com:

An unproved or false collective belief that is used to justify a social institution
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The best word that I can think of to describe the request is "pitfall."

From Merriam-Webster:

a hidden or not easily recognized danger or difficulty

I am a software developer myself so I get these kinds of requests from clients all the time. From the perspective of the client the feature request is perfectly rational. It is only you, the professional software developer, that can spot the hidden danger in implementing such a request.

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The examples may be instances of ignoratio elenchi, that is to say, irrelevant conclusion or irrelevant thesis informal fallacies.

Informally and less specifically, one could refer to faulty reasoning, being over-hasty, jumping to conclusions, or making premature judgements. The examples also can be said to ignore the design principle of least surprise (or least astonishment).

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Isn't it also, after a fashion, 'petitio principii'? –  Barrie England Nov 11 '11 at 8:42
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Such requests or requirements reveal themselves to be impracticable or unfeasible.

You can say that the idea turned out to be a blind alley:

Blind alleys and garden paths leading nowhere are the principal hazards in research. [Lewis Thomas]

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