If there are only 24 million developers in the world then how are we generating so much horrible software?

@rune and more importantly, where are my 24 complete sets of works of Shakespeare?

At least we got this, I guess:

@rysiek Esoteric programming languages might be the best thing we've produced.

They don't serve any functional purpose, and are thusly not broken... Unlike everything else we built

@rune expanding on that, one could say: "the only things not broken in Tech are things that do not serve any particular purpose"

That checks out.

@rysiek Yup.

I used to think I had at least written some code that worked flawlessly.

Now I know the only code that works "flawlessly" is code with a specification that explicitly says it's supposed to fail the way it does.

@rysiek Programming experience is knowing where you normally have bugs.

Programming wisdom is knowing you can't find them all and that you just have to wait a few years for the most important bugs to be found accidentally.

@rune I remember once debugging some code produced by a team, and I could detect "accents" in the code. I sued that to guide me to the most likely places for the bugs.

"Person A is a specialist in X, but he's written the code for Y, so it's more likely that there's a bug there."

-type of reasoning.

(pardon me for butting in.)

CC: @rysiek

@rune Oops, typo:


Not my day for accuracy today ... I think I'll go write some code.

CC: @rysiek

@ColinTheMathmo @rysiek Interesting.

It's definitely very pronounced on my team when our more "perl-familiar" devs write ruby. They introduce vastly different logic in some places.

I can totally see how that could more subtly apply to a heuristic for where bugs are likely be.

@rysiek @rune

Hope you (vous) don't mind me using this discussion to test the Chartodon 'bot ... I'll delete the charts afterwards, but this is small enough for a quick run, and interesting enough to be worth charting and reading.

@ColinTheMathmo @rune do it! I see no reason why the charts should need to be deleted, either.

@rysiek I'll delete them in due course anyway ... limited space.

CC: @rune

@ColinTheMathmo @rune @rysiek Hmm, now I'm curious how nicely sociolinguistic theory could be applied to code 🤔

*opens todo list in a hurry*

@ColinTheMathmo @rune @rysiek (btw this could actually lead to a joke paper or blog post later on. I copied a couple toots from the thread to a little note to remind me of the topic, I can delete them tho if you wouldn't like to be quoted. toots concerned:,

@cadadr You could ask Chartodon for a chart of the entire conversation.

CC: @rune @rysiek

@ColinTheMathmo @rune @rysiek Oh I noticed you doing that under a couple threads, but forgot to note down the username for Chartodon..


Invoke it by writing:

Calling @ Chartodon @

... but without the spaces.

CC: @rune @rysiek

@ColinTheMathmo @rune @rysiek Well, it Just Works and works great, so my main feedback is: thank you!

I think you could attach the image to it's reply tho, that way you wouldn't need to host it yourself. If it gets used a lot you may run into space and bandwidth problems maybe..

@cadadr @ColinTheMathmo @rysiek I like this part where my toot to a not yet synced toot was included 😂

@cadadr @ColinTheMathmo @rysiek It's very cool, though. Definitely makes sense as a way to preserve large discussions.

@rune For me, sometimes it's the only way I can make sense of a large discussion at all, so it's really valuable.

CC: @cadadr @rysiek

@rune I'm trying to track down why that happens. It's rare, and I can't see a reason.

Working on it.

CC: @cadadr @rysiek

@cadadr My existing tech can't attach an SVG to a toot, so I'm relying on people downloading the SVG if they want it, and I'll delete it after some time.

CC: @rune @rysiek


Your chart is ready, and can be found here:

Things may have changed since I started compiling that, and some things may have been inaccessible.

The chart will eventually be deleted, so if you'd like to keep it, make sure you download a copy.

@cadadr OK, this is nastier than I thought ... going to have to restructure a considerable amount of code.

In the queue for later ...

CC: @Chartodon @rune @rysiek

@cadadr Nerd sniped by a programming problem again ... another test:

Calling @Chartodon ...

CC: @rune @rysiek


Your chart is ready, and can be found here:

Things may have changed since I started compiling that, and some things may have been inaccessible.

The chart will eventually be deleted, so if you'd like to keep it, make sure you download a copy.

@cadadr You can quote me on anything I say.

Just be aware that my toots auto delete after 90-days, so definitely make a copy of them rather than relying on linking to them.

@cadadr @ColinTheMathmo @rysiek I feel that programming languages share a lot of similarities with normal languages. But at the same time it feels more like dialects than distinct languages.

Within a programming language there are dialects, too. However, a thing I don't notice much in regular language use is that programmers will train themselves to use these sub-dialects because they believe they are better/more efficient.

The only "language dialect" choices I've made is oxford commas.

@rune @ColinTheMathmo @rysiek Actually that's something that happens a lot with human languages too, you both subconsciously adjust to changing speech around you, and there's also mobility between dialects based on privilege, location, family, etc. Or even when you're picking up a jargon. The borders between all these are pretty muddy, so we call all of them "varieties" in linguistics.

@cadadr @ColinTheMathmo @rysiek That makes sense.

It just seems more intentional with programming.

At the same time I realize I may have almost consciously chosen a few other habbits over the years... So not that far off actually.

@rune @ColinTheMathmo @rysiek Yeah, programming languages are completely formalised technical tools. But indeed when it comes to less consequential details I guess it'd be possible to notice human language like patterns, e.g. symbol names, line breaks, argument orders, etc. Tho IDK if linguists have ever looked into this.

@rune @rysiek Those languages are intended to mess with your mind, and they are really successful at that. Brainfuck and Whitespace come to mind...

@PunaisetPimpulat @rysiek Some of the languages mess with your mind, but some of them are beautiful!

@lanodan I was actually just surprised. 24 million seems like a very low number of people making software for the entire world.

I really thought it was a much larger profession.

@rune In business, technology is a means to an end. It doesn't matter if the software harbours debt from legacy code (or whether software licences are followed sometime) it allows wealth to be created due to the time it saves from doing the computed work manually. We have been taught to write software efficiently, not to write efficient software.

@thatbrickster Very true.

Also the current META in business is short term profit over long term profit, which means unmaintainable software is ok as long as it doesn't become a burden within this financial year.

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