This entry explains why it’s better not to comment code so that junior programmers and newcomers to the code base really try to understand how it works:
If people are given an explanation that covers what they see in front of them, they won’t go off and learn for themselves. If they won’t learn for themselves, they won’t be able to grow and develop. If they don’t grow and develop, they’ll never cease being junior people.
I found this article quite amusing until I realized that robertwd, the author of this entry, was actually serious. He really seems to think that the more obscure your code is, the better it is for your readers.
I can’t even begin to describe how wrong and arrogant this kind of attitude is.
It reminds me of an acquaintance of mine who was also teaching computer science classes. During a lunch, he explained to me that each of his classes was architected so that it would be a little obscure and would fail to explain a few things, in order to “keep a healthy distance between the knowledge of students and that of the teacher”. “This way, you keep their respect, you see?”. He was dead serious.
As seems to be the author of the above entry.
The simple truth is: you don’t make junior people become senior by forcing them to understand the intricacies of your coding style. I am hoping that when robertdw gets to read the uncommented code written by these junior people and he tries to make sense of it, he will start realizing the importance of thoughtful, well-written comments.
Which leads me to my next point: I can tell the maturity (a term I prefer over “seniority”) of a programmer by the comments they write. Not just by the fact that they write comments, but also by the way they phrase them and where they put them.
But this will be the topic of another blog entry. Until then, please comment your code.