The Bikeshed Anti-Pattern

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This page is a part of Design Patterns.

Its content is derived from the presentation "Building a Hacker Space" by Jens Ohlig and Lars Weiler.

Sustainability Patterns Independence Patterns Regularity Patterns Conflict Resolution Patterns Creative Chaos Patterns

I think red is a terrific color for a bike shed.

Red is a terrible color for a bike shed. Bike sheds should be white. White keeps the shed cooler inside.

I'd really like to reduce our eco-footprint with this project. Black paint would keep the shed warm in the winter and reduce our need for portable heaters. Also, it will keep my bikeseat warm in the winter.

While I am intrigued by your desire to use the endothermic properties of dark paint in seeking an ideal thermodynamic state within the bikeshed, I wonder if maybe we should approach this from another angle. What about the psychological impact of colors? With the right shade of color we could produce the abject desire to avoid storing your bike within the shed, thus reducing the likelihood of a bike critical mass within the shed, and keeping people exercising longer. That beind said it would be my suggestion that the bike shed be painted a 1950s style vomit green. Maybe wall paper the inside with a banana print. Hang a chandelier and install a cocktail cabinet.


You suggest creating something new for your hackerspace, like a bikeshed. But now all anyone will discuss is its colour. No bikeshed will be built.


That’s a known problem. It's sometimes called "Parkinson's Law of Triviality". If you suggest something that everybody else in your hackerspace can build, they will take part in the discussion. Even if it’s only the colour of the bikeshed, the design of the T-shirts, the Linux-distribution on the server, etc. Nerds tend to discuss trivial problems in epic detail, while more complex tasks will be ignored. Identify pointless discussion like these and just end them.