n. Frequent, detailed discussions on a minor issue conducted while major issues are being ignored or postponed.
Also Seen As
Other Forms
Now also known as “bikeshedding,” Parkinson’s Law of Triviality states that the more complex an issue, the less time spent on it. He illustrates this with a corporate executive committee meeting that has plans for a nuclear power plant on its agenda. With little discussion (too confusing … trust the experts), the committee speedily and unanimously approves the complex reactor plans but spends a much longer time arguing the far less important but easy-to-understand issues (e.g., should we use galvanized tin for the employees bicycle shed?).
—Stephen Cotler, “Close to Home: Sweating the small stuff, like Deflategate,” Santa Rosa Press Democrat, February 01, 2015
Often lacking the capital, will, or desire to get their hands dirty, to own the problems and lead by example, old school preservationists can get bogged down in bikeshedding and NIMBYism and sometimes miss the larger community issues at hand.
—Chris Smith, “The Morning Grumpy,” Artvoice, February 18, 2013

I'm also not convinced by the defaults for the other two arguments: personally, I'd expect to need unsigned more often than signed, and little-endian more often than big-endian….

Can we use 'length' instead of 'fixed_length'?
—Mark Dickinson, “Conversion of longs to bytes and vice-versa,” Python Bug Tracker, August 15, 2009
2002 (earliest)
One minor nit: you combine an emphasis and CAPITALS. I'd just use <emphasis>. Combining italics and capitals isn't very professional-looking. It's like the use of multiple exclamation points.

Gary, this isn't bikeshedding.
—Michael Lucas, “docs/34524: [PATCH] - Add important pre-installation notice” (reply), mailing.freebsd.doc, February 02, 2002
The term is also known as Parkinson's Law of Triviality, since the underlying idea was proposed by C. Northcote Parkinson in his 1957 book Parkinson's Law. He writes of a fictional committee meeting during which, after a two-and-a-half-minute non-discussion on whether to build a nuclear reactor worth ten million dollars, the members spend 45 minutes discussing a bike shed worth $2,350:
Some members feel uneasy about Item Nine [the nuclear reactor]. They wonder inwardly whether they have really been pulling their weight. It is too late to query that reactor scheme, but they would like to demonstrate, before the meeting ends, that they are alive to all that is going on.

Chairman: Item Ten. Bicycle shed for the use of the clerical staff. An estimate has been received from Messrs. Bodger and Woodworm, who undertake to complete the work for the sum of $2350. Plans and specification are before you, gentlemen.

Mr. Softleigh: Surely, Mr. Chairman, this sum is excessive. I note that the roof is to be of aluminum. Would not asbestos be cheaper?

Mr. Holdfast: I agree with Mr. Softleigh about the cost, but the roof should, in my opinion, be of galvanized iron. I incline to think that the shed could be built for $2000, or even less.

Mr. Daring: I would go further, Mr. Chairman. I question whether this shed is really necessary. We do too much for our staff as it is. They are never satisfied, that is the trouble. They will be wanting garages next.

Mr. Holdfast: No, I can't support Mr. Daring on this occasion. I think that the shed is needed. It is a question of material and cost …

The debate is fairly launched. A sum of $2350 is well within everybody’s comprehension. Everyone can visualize a bicycle shed. Discussion goes on, therefore, for forty-five minutes, with the possible result of saving some $300. Members at length sit back with a feeling of achievment.
Using Parkinson's example, the programmer Poul-Henning Kamp popularized the term bikeshedding in developer circles and, as the first two example citations show, use of the word has spread to non-geek circles.