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Cargo Cult Programming

James Bach proposes a fancy word in the same thought-space as what I call “Cargo Cult Programming”. How often have you heard somebody say “My program didn’t work, but {the local guru|the Javadoc|MSDN|a Google search} told me that if I sprinkled some extra lines of random code, the problem would go away.” Then, on the next system, it turns into “I had to sprinkle these random extra lines on my last project to get it working, so I’ll pre-emptively sprinkle the same lines on this one, even though I still have no idea what they actually do.” Then the next project gets “{My co-worker|A consultant} put this magic code in a previous project, so I’ll put it in this one.”

James Bach’s Blog » Blog Archive » Sapient Testing Rules

I’m still waiting for people to pick up on my other coinage: mythomemetic, which is an adjective meaning “not informed by experience or wisdom, but rather hearsay and wishful thinking.” I’ll use it in a sentence: “The speaker peppered his talk with mythomemetic cliches such as ‘you can’t control what you can’t measure’.”

(Of course, I also like the fact that he’s taking a shot at the culture of arbitrary measurement)

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