Re: Nasty Old Coders and Unappreciated Scribes

Subject: Re: Nasty Old Coders and Unappreciated Scribes
From: JIMCHEVAL -at- AOL -dot- COM
Date: Thu, 12 Nov 1998 02:39:41 EST

[Hey, I didn't change the subject - there WAS no subject!]
In a message dated 98-11-12 01:58:34 EST, ssudhir -at- OPTUM -dot- COM writes:

<< All they care is that they write code and you
don't. And that hurts. >>
At the risk of having my Strunk and White stripped from me, I'd have to say
that, having been a code-cruncher, I have to sympathize with the esprit de
corps which unites those in the trenches, somewhat to the exclusion of others
in the process (users and writers both, ofttimes).

When you're writing code, you have a particular form of pressure that is
unlike anything I have experienced anywhere else - except perhaps certain
performance situations*. Code doesn't just have to LOOK correct - it has to
function in an immediate way that a well-written document does not. Yes,
documentation can ultimately affect the success of a project, but it's rare
that one sees its success or failure instantaneously in the way that one sees
the result of a bug.

Combine the quirkiness of some programming tools (which make Word 97 look
downright stable) and the intense interest managers and users often show in
the daily progress of a programming effort (interest far rarer in regard to
documentation) and the pressure can be suffocating. And the programmers
correspondingly united in pride at surviving it.

I remember while I was on a project at a major bank their ATM's suddenly
started debiting deposits rather than crediting them. This was such a big
deal that it made the evening news in New York. All I could think, as I
watched a major executive from that bank explain to millions of viewers that
this glitch was quickly being repaired, was that somewhere was some poor SOB
(or, as likely, DOB who'd put one minus sign instead of a plus sign somewhere
in thousands of lines of code. And now there it was on the evening news...

Rare indeed that writers have to deal with that kind of pressure - as I was
glad to acknowledge from my safe haven as a writer at that moment. If that
pressure leads to a slightly exclusionary attitude on the part of some
programmers, I don't think we should take it personally. Just make our
contributions as positive and visible as possible so that - loathe as they may
be to admit it - they're glad we're there.

Jim Chevallier
North Hollywood

Now appearing as Gorgibus in Moliere's "Les Precieuses Ridicules" at the Globe
Playhouse, 1107 North King's Road, in West Hollywood - tix (323) 933-5664

From ??? -at- ??? Sun Jan 00 00:00:00 0000=

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