[TUHS] really Pottering vs UNIX

Wesley Parish wes.parish at paradise.net.nz
Fri Sep 15 11:39:34 AEST 2017

Quoting Dan Cross <crossd at gmail.com>:

> On Thu, Sep 14, 2017 at 5:15 PM, Bakul Shah <bakul at bitblocks.com>
> wrote:
> >
> > > On Sep 14, 2017, at 1:46 PM, Clem Cole <clemc at ccc.com> wrote:
> > >
> > > I think you are actually touching on an idea that has been around
> > humanity for a long time that is independent of the computer field.
> We
> > call it "good taste." Part of acquiring good taste is learning what is
> in
> > bad taste, a heavy dose of experience and frankly the ability to
> evaluate
> > your own flaws.
> >
> > More to do with a sense for quality. Often developed through
> experience
> > (but not just that). I think what we need is a guild system for
> > programmers/engineers. Being an apprentice of a master craftsman is
> > essential for learning this "good taste" as you call it.
> No, please; not this old saw again.
> This guild system for software keeps coming up but I don't see how it
> cannot but be abused. I remember reading one of those self-help books
> by
> one of the agile types (I forget which one) and there was a vignette
> about
> one of the self-styled agile gurus (Robert C Martin, I think) coming
> into
> some room where people were undergoing "apprenticeships" an, seeing an
> overflowing trashcan and taking out the trash. The person telling the
> story
> went one and one about being so embarrassed because s/he was "just" a
> lowly
> intern and this "master software craftsman" had taken out the trash.
> I pretty much stopped reading after that. Sorry, but I cleaned enough
> heads
> and squad bays when I was in the Marines; Robert C Martin can take out
> his
> own trash, thank you very much. Also, I read one of his books once and
> he
> misspelled "Lieutenant" in the chapter about quality and attention to
> detail (a minor detail I was acutely aware of because I was a Lieutenant
> at
> the time).
> I think a better system than putting us into this rigid hierarchy system
> is
> to think of programming as somewhat analogous to writing; it requires
> proofreading and good editing. Some authors are better than others;
> practice helps a lot, writers workshops can help, seeking out advise
> and
> mentorship from more accomplished writers similarly, etc.

I agree with that. To write a story or an article, you have to know where you are going with it. You need 
to know how to make the best use of your resources - the language, the register of language eg chatty 
versus formal versus jargon versus whatever - which implies you have to know those resources, you 
need to know how everything fits together in their contexts unless you are writing satire or comedy or 
such in which case you are deliberately aiming for the resulting absurdity. Etc, etc.

And you don't get that from being told about it. You have to do it. And you have to revise it. And you 
have to be humble about it, too. Taking criticism on board in on of the hardest things from any writer.

But that's how it works.

Wesley Parish

> But the guild/craftsmanship metaphor just doesn't work for me.
>  - Dan C.

"I have supposed that he who buys a Method means to learn it." - Ferdinand Sor,
Method for Guitar

"A verbal contract isn't worth the paper it's written on." -- Samuel Goldwyn

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