Technology as Attractive Nuisance

Purveyors of software must exercise reasonable care to guard against decontextualization of architectural choices.

There’s a notion in US law called an attractive nuisance, which is if you have playground equipment or a swimming pool on your property, you are expected to understand that it will attract small children who can then kill or injure themselves. And you must take reasonable steps to [protect] those children.

— Brian Marick, Oddly Influenced

It occurred to me that this analogy applies to many technology choices these days; my immediate reaction was “That’s exactly what React/Kubernetes/microservices/… are!”. Such complex tools might be valuable within the context they were created for, but are all too easily adopted elsewhere without considering constraints and support structures. This kind of willful context blindness has become an issue not just on the supply side, but is perhaps even more pronounced on the consuming end.

It’s like purchasing an aircraft carrier for your inflatable pool, without crew or escort. Not only is it a huge waste of resources, it also renders the pool unusable to those who might rely on it.