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Joined: February 10, 2010  (email not validated)
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Coming from a science/engineering background, I think that it's very clear if you write it out "point twenty-five percent."

Justin March 4, 2010, 2:58pm

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You know, after reading this:

I feel pretty comfortable using "red herring" to describe unintentional deception. Given its roots--"neither fish, nor flesh, nor good red herring"...meaning something that was nondescript or neither one thing nor another--and its modern accepted usage, I think it works fine for my purposes.

Justin February 26, 2010, 12:12pm

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The documentation is meant for internal use by fluent (but not always native) English speakers in Southern California.

So far, the page is still called "Red Herrings." Red herring is currently used around the office in this context, but I had reservations about using it in our documentation in that context when I read that it implies intent.

Justin February 26, 2010, 12:05pm

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Thank you all for your responses. I'm liking "will o' the wisp" and maybe "chasing your tail."

Justin February 22, 2010, 7:10pm

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From what I've read, a red herring does imply intentional deception, such as in a play, making it seem to the audience that one character is the villain to distract them from figuring out the actual antagonist.

I'll describe the exact situation.

I work in IT. We're creating a wiki page full of these instances of false leads for troubleshooting. For instance, our admin was trying to find the cause of a reported error in his logs because a web service wasn't running. It turns out that the error has always occurred and had nothing to do with the web service. We wrote it down so that it won't happen again.

Justin February 10, 2010, 1:41pm

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