Standards vs. Criteria (was Re: Reply on EM to Mike's Re

Steve Eppley seppley at
Thu Apr 11 02:31:59 PDT 1996

Bruce Anderson wrote:
>I intentionally, but (in hindsight) perhaps mistakenly, used the
>word "standards" because I was responding to Mike and he used that
>word.  I would prefer the words "criteria" and "attributes."
>Most, if not all, of the standards in the glossary seemed to me to
>either be attributes, which is fine for what they're worth, or be
>imprecise statements of purported criteria, which is not fine with

One problem with criteria is that they don't apply to all methods,
only within classes of methods.  Another is that they don't make
great standards--don't they appeal to the same warm fuzzy feelings
about "goodness" like the other standards?  What happens when it
comes time for our group to rank (or rate) the *importance* of the
criteria as standards?

I don't think criteria will be enough for our work.  We need to
compare methods on standards, and rank or rate the standards.  If
proof is impossible, so be it.  People make practical decisions all
the time without rigorous proofs. 

I think we'd welcome attempts to improve the clarity of the standards 
in the glossary.  While I'm the one maintaining the glossary, I 
intend to insert definition text from anyone who wants their text 


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