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Specifically I remembered a story I heard probably 10 years ago and was trying to find the original so I could share it with someone, but Google was failing me at every turn.

So I started wondering how I could reach out to a community to help me locate the story and realized that I didn't really know where to ask. Places like Reddit tend to move too quickly and individual requests either become popular (remaining at the top and receiving lots of attention) or are ignored indefinitely (falling into the negative feedback loop of receiving no attention because they received no attention).

Ideally I need some place where questions without answers are bumped to the top and questions with answers quickly sink to the bottom. So Stack Exchange sounded right. But I'm not sure which site would be right for this type of question.

The story in particular I'm looking for goes something like this:

  • A company needed to solve a problem with software (perhaps finding the total amount owed by customers who were 30 days or more overdue)
  • They hired an expert with 40 years of experience
  • The expert spent 6 months and wrote tens of thousands of lines of code which solved the problem
  • Then a college student solved the same problem in 1 hour with a 6-line Bash script

I'm not looking for a particular type of story or recommendations or the solution to some problem - I'm just hoping someone can tell me what website, book, or news article was the source for this vague recollection of mine.

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    That's what I would call an urban legend or myth. Your best bet is to look at snopes even Facebook might have that type of story. – Mari-Lou A Nov 5 '19 at 9:25
  • You could ask over at Skeptics.SE – Mari-Lou A Nov 5 '19 at 9:29
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    Sounds like it might have originated on Reddit, a board similar to r/talesfromtechsupport/ perhaps. – Mast Nov 5 '19 at 10:59
  • I worked at a company that was using a custom written excel macro to transform sales figures because the new version of their sales software had removed a feature. It has cost several days of work to write it and several minutes per day to run it. I uninstalled the current version and reinstalled their legacy version, instantly fixing the problem. Evidently nobody had come up with this idea – Richard Nov 5 '19 at 11:23
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If you're trying to identify a story or work of literature, you can try Literature Stack Exchange. We accept story identification questions (with the tag ), which covers books, magazines, short stories, online stories....

Give as many details as possible, including ones you think may be obvious (such as language), and include what research you've done, as well as anything you've ruled out for sure.

I don't recall any story ID questions about internet anecdotes off the top of my head, but we have well-received questions that trace back to internet posts, so it's worth giving it a try.

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  • Posting when you first heard the story could help too. E.g the story is atleast 1 years old – dustytrash Nov 6 '19 at 5:35

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