Can't you just...?

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CYJ = Can't You Just = an approach for solving a problem that takes an immediate obvious answer that doesn't take into account all the problems that will come up. By extension, suggesting "Can't you just..." to someone is often insulting, because it implies "You're dumb enough to have missed this incredibly obvious solution."

Excerpted from Andy's original posting at

I grate my teeth any time I hear a sentence that starts "Can't you just?" If those words come out of your mouth, stop and think. You're missing something important. "Can't you just" is usually said when discussing a problem with someone else. The other person will explain the problem, and you'll jump in with the handy, simple and obvious answer. Some examples:
  • "I'm not sure how we're going to get that server onto the network. Turns out that this wall jack is dead."
    • "Can't you just run an extension cable over to that jack over there?"
  • "The system needs to support users that have control over other users. I think we need to have some sort of table that tracks relationships."
    • "Can't we just add a flag to the USER table?"
  • "I don't have enough for an NT license in the budget, but I have to get print services up and running by the end of the week."
    • "Why don't you just run Linux on the server?"
In each case, someone has a complex problem, with the not-very-helpful suggestion of an obvious, quick-win solution. The suggester has undoubtedly not taken all the issues into account.
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