The Data Hound Hypothesis states: "The amount of time that shall be wasted trying to teach people how strong a card is, is inversely proportional to that card's strength".
How does this work in examples?
Example 1: Jackson Howard. Jackson Howard is very strong, therefore, the Data Hound Hypothesis asserts that not much time is required in order to teach people how strong it is. This seems to fit the hypothesis! People become convinced that Jackson is strong pretty quickly.
Example 2: Data Hound. Data Hound is weak. Therefore, the Data Hound hypothesis predicts a significant amount of effort to convince people that it is weak! This is definitely the case.
Example 3: Hard at Work. Hard at Work is EVEN WEAKER than Data Hound! Therefore, the Data Hound Hypothesis predicts that it will require EVEN MORE effort to convince people that it is weak, than Data Hound! This thread on BGG: http://boardgamegeek.com/thread/1068312/hard-at-work-is-underrated is well on its way to confirming that hypothesis! However, it will only be shown to follow it if debate over the card's strength continues.
Counterexample 1: Salvage. Salvage appears to not follow the Data Hound Hypothesis. It is incredibly weak, and yet not much effort was required to teach people that it is weak. This seems to indicate that the Data Hound Hypothesis is not a strict rule, that the correlation between time wasted trying to teach people how strong a card is, and the card's strength, is not a perfect correlation.
Rationale for The Data Hound Hypothesis:
The Data Hound Hypothesis seems to indicate a positive bias in people's evaluations of netrunner cards, that is, that they often overrate a card's strength.
When a card is actually strong, this aligns with people's bias, and therefore they accept the fact easily. However, when a card is weak, this seems to contradict people's bias, and thus they fight against it very hard, and struggle to align their opinion of the card's strength to reality.
Perhaps this positive bias stems from feeling compassion towards those cards deemed 'weak', a desire to give them a chance, a opportunity in life? To treat them as if they were people, deserving a trophy on 'everybody-gets-a-trophy-day'?
While the causes of the Data Hound Hypothesis are unknown, the effect can be seen throughout netrunner discussions. Any time you see a post, blog, podcast, or article claim things like 'no cards are bad', you are witnessing the Data Hound Hypothesis, hard at work!