This morning, a man asked me for help not beating his wife. His call pointed to weaknesses in our software and data. (As an aside, We get very, very few telephone calls) At first, I didn't understand the question. I searched our database MVHub for services for victims of domestic violence. (I know of bruised, embarrassed men seeking alternatives to violent self defense). Several times, the caller quietly repeated: "for the batterer" Finally, I realized that the relevant search term was "anger management". We don't have any anger management listings. Cheating, I referred the caller to Micheal Hayden / Bay State Anger Management. I always have mixed feelings about this referral. Mr Hayden has a Lowell Sun newspaper column on anger management that appears well reasoned. (start edit) Other reviews of Mr Hayden are mixed, but hersay. (end edit) After the call, I did a Google: site:mvhub.com 'anger management' ..and came up with more information than our internal search did. We know our internal search is lame. Fortunately, most of our users don't bother to use our internal search. They use Google to find a page on our site, go directly to the page and then leave. We know this from Sean's good work this summer. ( http://thecsl.org/go/fake-blog/more-happy-users.shtml ) The Google results for 'anger management' illuminated another flaw. We allow for profit listings but we don't flag them as potentially less useful than non-profit listings. There is a bug open on this see: https://bugs.launchpad.net/mvhub/+bug/538118 I am happy. (Love of a good women, food, shelter, etc). I know nothing more than 'for the batterer' about this morning's call. However, I suspect 'happy' probably isn't a big part of life for the caller and the people around him right now. Flashes of unhappy worlds are especially disturbing when you've assumed some responsibility for helping to fix them. I'm tempted to re-visit some decisions. For example, we ( http://thecsl.org/go/board/ ) decided that in the long run, training community software developers is as important as developing community software. However, decisions based on a single emotional data point (this morning's call) are often dumb decisions. For the foreseeable future, the split priority decision stands. You notice, I'm **not** tempted to get all sparkly about our work. Sparkle is a weakness of our biggest competitors. Incompetence inversely correlates with self-awareness. Incompetent people can't see that they are incompetent and can't fix themselves. see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dunning%E2%80%93Kruger_effect Our big competitor ( Mass211 ) is as lame as we are. For example, they didn't spend $10 to register the .com version of their domain or (worse) let it lapse despite 90 days and many, many warnings. See the squatter at: http://mass211.com. Their internal search is also bad, but they don't let Google index their pages. Yes, of course 'competition' is often a bad way to think about fixing information availability problems. As lame as 211 is on the web, they do run a 'real' telephone based referral system. In Massachusetts , you can dial '211' instead of '411 for referrals to social services. This morning, I gave the caller 211 to call. Maybe they will be more helpful than I was. Hopefully, a future note will have a better discussion of competence and competition.