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Invalid Hints are Silently Ignored? An Invalid USE_HASH Hint Transforms a Sort-Merge Join into a Nested Loops Join

September 30, 2011 How many times have you heard or read that the Oracle Database query optimizer may freely ignore hints if it so chooses?  How many times have you heard or read that the query optimizer silently ignores hints that are invalid?  I was recently reminded of both of these concepts while reading the book [...]