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misfeature

[mis-fee-cher] /mɪsˈfi tʃər/
noun, Archaic.
1.
a distorted feature.
Origin
1815-1825
1815-25; mis-1 + feature
Related forms
misfeatured, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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misfeature in Technology


/mis-fee'chr/ or /mis'fee"chr/ A feature that eventually causes lossage, possibly because it is not adequate for a new situation that has evolved. Since it results from a deliberate and properly implemented feature, a misfeature is not a bug. Nor is it a simple unforeseen side effect; the term implies that the feature in question was carefully planned, but its long-term consequences were not accurately or adequately predicted (which is quite different from not having thought ahead at all). A misfeature can be a particularly stubborn problem to resolve, because fixing it usually involves a substantial philosophical change to the structure of the system involved.
Many misfeatures (especially in user-interface design) arise because the designers/implementors mistake their personal tastes for laws of nature. Often a former feature becomes a misfeature because trade-offs were made whose parameters subsequently change (possibly only in the judgment of the implementors). "Well, yeah, it is kind of a misfeature that file names are limited to six characters, but the original implementors wanted to save directory space and we"re stuck with it for now."

The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing, © Denis Howe 2010 http://foldoc.org
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