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How to Argue About Code

05.19.2013
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How to Argue About Code from Øredev Conference on Vimeo.

None of us would be very good developers if we never had arguments about The Best Way to Do Things. But I've had enough silly arguments about tabs-versus-spaces to last me the rest of my life. When should we stop arguing and start writing code?

The rules of diplomatic debate apply just as much to code as they do to anything else. I'll try to identify what separates useful debate from useless debate, and I'll share specific tactics for keeping these arguments evidence-based, respectful, and drama-free.

Questions we'll consider:

1. How, and why, do technical arguments get derailed? What can we do to prevent it?

2. What's the difference between persuasion and propaganda? What can we do to keep the focus on the code?

3. What can we learn from scrutinizing the dumb arguments we've had in the past?