I couldn't imagine using terminology like "code smell", scrum "chickens", "pigs" at my workplace. These types of terms just wouldn't fit in to my environment. My co-workers would look at me, and tell me to grow up, or stop being offensive or similar.

Does anyone else find terminology used on this site, or other related terminology uncomfortable to use at work?

  • Oh come on man, why can't you keep it real! – Job Feb 6 '11 at 2:01
  • 3
    If I ever hear someone use "code smell" in "real life", things could get ugly. – MetalMikester Feb 6 '11 at 2:02
  • 8
    Seriously, "code smell"? Every time I see this, I imagine a bunch of monkeys throwing feces at each other. – MetalMikester Feb 6 '11 at 2:06
  • 3
    I don't think anybody actually uses those terms in "daily conversation". They're really only useful in meta discussions when talking about the software development process itself. When referring to "chickens" and "pigs" in my actual job, I don't call them "chickens" and "pigs", I call them by their names. – Dean Harding Feb 6 '11 at 2:20
  • 3
    If it does not work for you, use something that does. Nobody says that this kind of terminology has to be cast in stone. – quickly_now Feb 6 '11 at 2:26

It depends on your audience.

If you have a young (in-spirit :-), vibrant development team who are avid internet users and follow trends, terminology like epic FAIL (anything that went spectacularly, or publicly, wrong), Pokemon exception handling, 'All your base are belong to us' (deployment/security FAIL), ninja-coding ( bleeding-edge code) etc, are fun to use and help the working day along through humour.

Some team members just might not read all the same resources and there's a risk they'll feel left out/not with the in-crowd. In that case, someone needs to translate or highlight what matters and what's just office banter.

A lot of words and phrases fall out of fashion after a while, so one has to keep up in order to understand and be understood. This can be an effort in itself.

If you're in a senior position or one with project management or budget responsibilities, you'd need to get a feel for the language of the business before saying "there's too many chickens and not enough pigs in this project - no wonder the code smells", which might confuse as pigs are smellier than chickens IRL.


Does anyone else find terminology used on this site, or other related terminology uncomfortable to use at work?

When I was in my University, for a project with related to Embedded Systems, the term male port and female port is some what problematic when I have to deal with female co-workers.

enter image description here

  • 8
    +1 for the picture. But I don't see how that's really that bad, unless you're giving the girls a creepy look while slowly plugging the two connections together, I don't think it's something that would normally be of concern. lol. – jmort253 Feb 6 '11 at 8:13
  • Oh........ lol, hee hee.. – Abimaran Kugathasan Feb 6 '11 at 8:18
  • Not to mention what to call an RS-232 adapter that allows two equal-formed connectors to connect. – Vatine Feb 6 '11 at 10:05
  • Male/Female connectors is not restricted to computing - it's an electronics thing. – JBRWilkinson Feb 6 '11 at 18:15
  • @vatine, I usually call the same sexed connectors either lesbian connectors or gay connectors. I'm sure there is a better term that doesn't offend someone, but those terms are clear enough that everyone understands what it is. – Tangurena Feb 6 '11 at 18:46

While some terms have silly names, their usefulness speaks for itself. As waiters say "BLT", "Blue plate special" etc to remain less verbose...devs which recognize the importance of time, say "code smell" instead of "any symptom in the source code of a program that possibly indicates a deeper problem." or "factory pattern" instead of "concrete class selector with the following UML diagram...which yes I can turn into code..."

  • +1 - The shorter names are just another version of an abstraction designed to encapulate complexity, except in the English language instead of code. – jmort253 Feb 6 '11 at 9:47

meh. Lisp is a speech impediment, Prolog is a concise backstory, Python is a snake, Scheme is a disreputable plan... Just don't talk to normal people about these things.

  • The question is about talking to coworkers who, to use your definition, aren't normal people. – Adam Lear Feb 6 '11 at 3:05
  • 4
    @Anna: (1) you are assuming that the co-workers in question are all programmers, which was not stipulated in the question and (2) it's a joke; reboot your sense of humor and retry ;-) – Steven A. Lowe Feb 6 '11 at 3:08
  • Jokes belong in comments. – Andy Mikula Feb 6 '11 at 4:12
  • @Andy: or management. – Steven A. Lowe Feb 6 '11 at 4:19
  • Yeah, but don't you feel the tiniest bit funny about referring to software development roles as pigs and chickens? It's not like we're playing Angry Birds, after all. – Robert Harvey Feb 6 '11 at 4:29

It isn't offensive, except possibly for pigs. That might be a problem because the pigs are 1) being eaten and 2) eating pigs isn't Kosher. Other than that, it is better terminology than "master/slave", which I can see people having trouble with.

There are strange terms, but if they aren't offensive, they are many better things to worry about.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.