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Tags: humor programming rant
In my experience with various programmers over the years, I've realized that most of them fall into one of several cults which describe their behavior. I've compiled a list of cults and brief descriptions you can use to identify them. (Note: if you're easily offended and think you might fall into one of these categories, please forego reading the rest of the article.)
Members of the Experience Cult believe that it is impossible for any person to do anything they haven't already done before. They can be identified by their characteristic refusal to solicit advice from anyone who hasn't already worked with the exact problem at hand, by their horrified reaction when presented with any APIs they haven't used before, and by constant requests for ridiculously specific sample code.
Prognosis: may be led toward greater independence if shown that doing new things is actually possible.
Members of the Optimization Cult value fast code over all other virtues. They are often found asking questions of the form, "What's the fastest way to...?" They are horrified when presented with any suggestion which doesn't fit with their view of what is fast, but also have a hilariously wrong view of just which operations are fast and which aren't.
Prognosis: may eventually become productive with education on the actual capabilities of modern hardware, the true speeds of various operations, and the need to properly optimize programmer time.
Ease Cultists value ease of implementation over all other virtues. They are often found asking questions of the form, "What's the easiest way to...?" They tend to assume that the frameworks have built-in facilities for everything they want to do and the major problem is simply finding them. They are horrified when it is suggested that they implement some functionality of their own.
Prognosis: if persistent enough, may outgrow these tendencies after finishing a reasonably sized project.
Although superficially similar to the Optimization Cult and the Ease Cult, Fastness Cult members value speed of implementation over all else. They do not have a characteristic question but can often be identified by their habit of trying to identify as many different ways as possible of accomplishing their goal so that they may choose the one which takes the least time to implement. They frequently scoff at any suggestion to experiment, research, or invest time into learning tools.
Prognosis: may be rehabilitated with frequent examples of the utility of experimentation, research, and tools, but often hopeless.
Members of the Uncertainty Cult believe that nothing is truly known, and it is best to be as sure as possible before proceeding. They are characterized by repeatedly soliciting advice for the same problem even after a good solution has already been proposed in great detail. Frequently seeks other venues for advice after exhausting the first one, or posts the same message to multiple mailing lists or web sites simultaneously.
Prognosis: when starved of information, may realize that it's possible to begin a trip without knowing the location of every footfall in advance.
Perfection Cultists know that perfect code exists with mathematical certainty and devote themselves to finding it. They are frequently seen endlessly refining code of no practical value. They occasionally solicit advice on how to choose between esoteric alternatives which to non-cultists appear to be equivalent and irrelevant. Their code would be absolutely masterful if it weren't for the fact that it is never finished.
Prognosis: graduation and employment are often cures, although active Perfection Cultism may continue in free time.
The Cargo Cult is the classic cult of pseudoscience which goes far beyond programming. Programmer Cargo Cultists do not grasp the need for deeper understanding and frequently don't even grasp that it exists, working entirely by imitation. They tend to write code which looks correct when skimmed but which barely makes sense when examined more thoroughly. When flaws are pointed out they make corrections which fit the letter of the suggestion but which miss the point entirely. They can often be identified by frequent arguments on strange topics with experts in which they refuse to admit that they don't know what the heck they're talking about.
What's your cult?
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