Your SlideShare is downloading. ×
How to Argue about Code
Upcoming SlideShare
Loading in...5
×

Thanks for flagging this SlideShare!

Oops! An error has occurred.

×
Saving this for later? Get the SlideShare app to save on your phone or tablet. Read anywhere, anytime – even offline.
Text the download link to your phone
Standard text messaging rates apply

How to Argue about Code

3,152
views

Published on

None of us would be very good developers if we never had arguments about The Best Way to Do Things. But I've had enough silly arguments about tabs-versus-spaces to last me the rest of my life. When …

None of us would be very good developers if we never had arguments about The Best Way to Do Things. But I've had enough silly arguments about tabs-versus-spaces to last me the rest of my life. When should we stop arguing and start writing code? I'll share specific tactics for keeping code arguments evidence-based, respectful, and drama-free.

Given at Refresh Austin on September 11, 2012.

Published in: Technology, Spiritual

0 Comments
3 Likes
Statistics
Notes
  • Be the first to comment

No Downloads
Views
Total Views
3,152
On Slideshare
0
From Embeds
0
Number of Embeds
0
Actions
Shares
0
Downloads
8
Comments
0
Likes
3
Embeds 0
No embeds

Report content
Flagged as inappropriate Flag as inappropriate
Flag as inappropriate

Select your reason for flagging this presentation as inappropriate.

Cancel
No notes for slide

Transcript

  • 1. How to argue about Code
  • 2. How to argue about Code (on the internet)
  • 3. Why?
  • 4. internet +open-source software + GitHub
  • 5. Our argumentsshould be purposeful.
  • 6. ideal: scientific research
  • 7. reality: political debate
  • 8. “In science it often happens that scientists say, ‘You know that’s a really good argument; my position is mistaken,’ and then they actually change their minds and you never hear that old view from them again. They really do it. It doesn’t happen as often as it should, because scientists are human and change is sometimes painful. But it happens every day. I cannot recall the last time something like that happened in politics or religion.” Carl Sagan (1987)
  • 9. “Who the hell are you?”
  • 10. No one of consequence.
  • 11. “Where do you get offcensoring me, you fascist?”
  • 12. I don’t.
  • 13. Motives for havinga code argument:
  • 14. to troll
  • 15. to feel awesome about yourself
  • 16. to persuade othersto your way of thinking
  • 17. to understandthe subject better
  • 18. An argument has three goals.
  • 19. Goal 1: It should producea wise agreement, if possible.
  • 20. Goal 2:It should be efficient.
  • 21. Goal 3: It should not damagethe relationship between parties.
  • 22. Our case study:
  • 23. the original ticket:https://github.com/twitter/bootstrap/issues/3057
  • 24. Tactics for arguments:
  • 25. Tactic 1:Separate the people from the problem.
  • 26. bad:the objective nature of the problemhow humans feel about the problem
  • 27. bad:the objective nature of the problemhow humans feel about the problem
  • 28. good:the objective nature of the problemhow humans feel about the problem
  • 29. the original ticket:
  • 30. response from Jacob Thornton (@fat):
  • 31. comments one and two:
  • 32. comment three:
  • 33. comment four:
  • 34. (this is why you should be nice)
  • 35. Tactic 2:Focus on interests, not positions.
  • 36. Tactic 3:Invent options for mutual gain.
  • 37. Tactic 4:Insist on objective criteria.
  • 38. (standards)
  • 39. (benchmarks)
  • 40. THE SELECTOR WARS
  • 41. jsPerf(jsperf.com)
  • 42. “So what should I do?”
  • 43. How to think:
  • 44. Retain a willingness to be convinced
  • 45. Imagine where others are coming from
  • 46. Account for your own taste
  • 47. Account for your own emotions
  • 48. John Resig“I learned some things about jQuery today…”
  • 49. Recognize derails as they happen
  • 50. Ahead: An inventory of the discussions taking place in a single closed ticketon Twitter Bootstrap’s GitHub project
  • 51. main question: Should Bootstrap change asyntactic shortcut that does not minify properly in JSMin?
  • 52. main question (broadened): Should library authors care about interoperability with JSMin?Or should JSMin accommodate code that Crockford finds distasteful?
  • 53. derails and meta-discussions perpetuatedby at least two of the 143 ticket participants:
  • 54. “People who don’t usesemicolons areJavaScript hipsters.” “No, people who are fanatical about semicolons are just spreading FUD.”
  • 55. “@fat is being a jackassand a bad projectsteward.” “No, people like you are bitching about a library they got for free.”
  • 56. “Semicolon or not, that line should still be rewritten.”
  • 57. “JSMin sucks anyway. People should use some other minifier.”
  • 58. “Who cares about minification?Everyone’s got a fast connection now.”
  • 59. “We’ve now spent like a hundred comments arguing about a single semicolon that @fat is too stubborn to add.”
  • 60. “We are bikeshedding like hell up in here.”
  • 61. “Stop posting on this ticket! GitHub sends me a notification with each new comment.”
  • 62. also: trolls
  • 63. also: wisecracks
  • 64. meanwhile:
  • 65. Staying on topicrequires moderation.
  • 66. How to speak:
  • 67. Be nice.
  • 68. Speak with surgical precision.
  • 69. E-Prime
  • 70. “Any proposition containing the word ‘is’ creates a linguistic structural confusion which will eventually give birth to serious fallacies.” Alfred Korzybski, Semanticist
  • 71. “PHP is awful.”
  • 72. “PHP is awful.”“Whenever I use PHP, I end up longing for the logical API and unsurprising behavior of Ruby or JavaScript.”
  • 73. “jQuery is easier to use than MooTools.”
  • 74. “jQuery is easier to use than MooTools.”“I find jQuery more intuitive to use than MooTools.”
  • 75. Be honest in yourcharacterizations.
  • 76. “What if the other side won’t play along?”
  • 77. Don’t rise to the bait.
  • 78. Emphasize the contrast betweenyour tactics and your opponents’.
  • 79. Nicole Sullivan,“Don’t feed the trolls” http://bit.ly/JWksIU
  • 80. In short: Postel’s Law
  • 81. “Why do I have totake the high road?”
  • 82. (fin)

×