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lilstevey (4628)

lilstevey
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Journal of lilstevey (4628)

Saturday December 08, 2007
02:40 PM

Swearing in comments - what's the opinion now?

[ #35066 ]
I've seen various articles on the web in the past expressing the opinion that placing swear words in comments should not be a reflection of the programmers profesionalism.

I haven't seen these sort of articles released recently, though have on occasion heard opinions stressed that its ok.

As a general case, I'm of the opinion that as a programmer you are responsible for quality of the entirity of your conribution, which you perform in exchange for your salary.

What the customer/employer decides to do with that code, unless expressed otherwise in the contract is totaly their business - not that of the employees.

Therefore, should the business decide to release the source code for the product, the comments become as public as the user interface.

This leads me to suspect that if I am right in suspecting that "cussing in comments" is passe, the commercialisation of open source could be a contributory factor - or perhaps its just a reflection of the maturity of the industry?

Or maybe I'm wrong, and there is still a belief that delivery of code is limtied to user experience.

Either way I'd be interested in the prevailing attitude towards what people percieve is a professional attide to software development. I'd also be interested if people have the same attitude to code released personally to that developed under contract?
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  • I'd think that scrubbing code of cusswerds should be de rigeur, because they can be a bit viral, and, in OSS, can reflect badly on the developer(s). So a Perl script to scrub such epithets from the source is probably a good idea.

    A Cautionary Tale:
    My opinion arises from a personal faux pas: during a fit of pique while bug-killing a particularly befuddling bit of code, I inserted some F-bombs into some diagnostics (the cause turned out to be a bug in Perl, btw, so the F-bombs may have been well deserved).

  • It's more of a problem in a language like Perl where the source is available and inspectable at runtime. Imagine if your webhost (or sysadmin) accidentally changes the error reporting behavior to allow exceptions to become visible to the user, and now they see the few lines of code around the exception... and it says something they find offensive or unprofessional. Heck, what if it says:

    # The following code is totally insecure and we
    # probably lose lots of customer credit card
    # info because of it!

    I try

    --
    rjbs
  • I once had some silly placeholder text accidentally make it into a print catalog. Often while working on this very large book if we didn't have a product description or photo we'd put something there just to take up some space on the layout... and to crack each other up. One product, "Nipple Clamps", nothing weird - something to do with guns IIRC, didn't have a description so I put in something like "Ow. That's gonna leave a mark!". Although that page and several other were actually changed later, the doc