Strong Opinions, Weakly Held

I haven’t read the whole critique, but so far I’ve agreed with everything he said, with the exception of the part you boldfaced. I don’t really think you are trying to set yourself up as some kind of super-expert. At least not any more than you did in the past when you had a day job.

I have to say that its rare I don’t have some kind of major issue with something you said on a topic I know anything about. That does not bode well for the topics I don’t know anything about.

However, the comment section fixes that nicely. If he’s missed the fact that the comments are typically the best part of any entry here, I think he’s missed the entire point of this blog.

…at least that’s the way I see it.

The “strong opinions, which are weakly held” position is fantastice. Words to live by… at least until some better philosophy comes along.

We like the way you write.
We like the way you organize your thoughts.

Keep on blogging. I will mourn the day you give it up (as Joel did).

Nice said.

Even if some people dislike you in a loud way, that 120k on the Feedburner icon can’t be that wrong when it comes to you having read-worthy posts :slight_smile:

I fail to understand the criticism to be honest. Surely what you do is no different from any other blogger. I don’t see it any different to me teaching somebody junior to me.

Jeff, well said.

Personally I usually disagree with most of your “Everything About (your favorite technology) Sucks. Seriously.” posts, but that’s exactly why I read this site. I’m a Java developer you’re a .Net developer, this by itself makes us sworn enemies, but because of that your posts offer a different view than I can get from my professional Java peers. The discussion on this site is incredible, and the “strong opinion weekly held” is exactly why. Keep up the great work!

I really can’t see any reason for writing a “critique” like that without it being motivated by jealousy. He can claim what he wants but it’s hard to justify it any other way. He’s trying to “enlighten” people to your blogs true value.

Seriously, not learning C has given him a serious hit to your credibility? So nobody can have a credible opinion about programming unless they have learned C. That sounds extremely arrogant, short sighted, and something i’d expect to hear from a “dinosaur” of the industry. Any credibility he would have had with me just jumped out the window with that statement. I don’t tolerate arrogant dinosaurs.

It may be fair to say that a so called expert programmer should have C in his tool kit, however an expertly skilled programmer and a programmer with an opinion worth listening to are definitely NOT one and the same.

I found the comment that you haven’t had code snippets posted on your blog to be completely irrelevant as well. I don’t come to your blog to read code snippets. I come to read you opinion on things like best practices, new technologies, old technologies etc.

I think he is missing the point that a popular blog must be informative AND entertaining. I love this blog because you write about topics that I find very interesting, and I find your writing style very entertaining.

Regardless, I think you just did his blog the biggest favor it’s likely ever been done, his readership i’m sure will take at least a huge temporary jump :slight_smile:


The reason I read your blog is that you discuss broader issues around programming and you write well. Not enough programmers think about broader issues and of those that do, few can articulate their thoughts clearly. I imagine you’re a great programmer, though that’s not why I read your blog. I read because you have good ideas.

OK. I went and read his whole critique (and another he linked to).

Those 4 examples he provided where he thinks you blew it? Two of them happen to be a couple of the rare areas where I agreed with you completely.

If he’s drunk the cool-aid on XML and markdown, fine. But those are both eminently arguable points. If he demands that bloggers he reads agreee with him on arguable points, he’s eventually going to write an article like this one about every blog.

One of the remaining two happens to be one of those topics I know nothing. Throwing that one out, that doesn’t add up to a very good average for him.

On the Free Software post, yeah you kinda blew it. But you aren’t an expert on Free Software, and don’t pretend to be. As a Free Software developer (and fan), the meer fact that you are thinking about it I take as a positive thing. There’s always the comment section to clear the record. Any chance we have to enlighten someone who is actually going to listen tickles us pink. :slight_smile:

What I truly dislike about you going pro, is that instead of increasing the volume of posts, you have increased the length of the posts.

I really liked the way you were able to present the essence of a subject in a smaller post, now I have to set aside time to read your posts.


Hey Jeff: I may disagree with some things you write, but you are always worth reading and I find your stuff thought-provoking. Judging by your writing, you are a smart, thoughtful person with opinions on a variety of subject.

One thing I do admire is your courage in standing up and exposing yourself to criticism. That’s what happens to popular blogs. I don’t care if you are right or wrong, I can judge that for myself. What matters is that you have something to say. I do care when carping and non-constructive criticism discourages genuine debate.

It actually doesn’t matter if you “learned C” or not. Since I graduated in 1980 I have never “learned” a programming language systematically - it’s all been learning by doing and learning by example then discovering the more esoteric stuff. (Most of my collection of several hundred books about programming have only been partly read by me. Sometimes skimmed though, sometimes dropped after 100 pages.)

It is arguable that I am a better maintenance programmer because of it. That may not be a heroic role, but refactoring is what it is called now and it is almost respectable. I can certainly grok code faster than anyone I know. I think I can pick up new tools, languages and techniques quickly because I am not socked so deeply into the massive amount of library code that most languages develop over time.

There is still a role for the generic “programmer” as a smart person with ideas. Programming is about communication and ideas, isn’t it? We are communicating with the machine and to those that follow us.

In short, I think the guy’s blog post was a successful troll :slight_smile:

I agree, I’m still only a student with my minor understanding of c++ and yet I’ve learned some much from this blog. I’ve not learned specifics about programming langugues but actually I’ve learned more about the finished product of programming, like all other professions there is more to programming then writing code, and that is something i think Coding Horror stands for. That said “Coding Horror” is a bit of miss leading title given the lack of actual Horrors (queue some clever remark about how the site is coded). But then a Title is what you make of it and here I think Coding Horrors applies not to bad code but to bad Programming and bad Programming practise, those mistakes that are made after all the codes been put together. Like the recent examples of poor bug reporting etc.

Keep it up Jeff

I would like start by saying that I whole-heartly enjoy your blog. I pretty much read your any of your new post whenever I see it on my RSS feed in opera. That being said I don’t agree that you made yourself out to be a expert on any field, from everything that I see your doing exactly what you said you meant to do. For instance your post on Open ID opened my eyes to a new login procedure that I didn’t know existed. I now know that I have another option other than membership and roles when I’m creating a side project (The company that I work for makes insurance/finance applications so I can’t trust OpenID for something like paying your insurance). I find most of your post insightful and if anything opens my curiosity to something that I might’ve not learned about. I would also agree with the above post that the comments are a big reason to read your blog.

“Strong opinions, weakly held” echoes Nietzsche:

“A common error: having the courage of one’s convictions. Having the courage for an attack on one’s convictions is truly noble.” (more-or-less)

You don’t know C?!?! GASP!!! THE (CODING) HORROR!!! Seriously… that can be remedied in a couple of months. But why? I know C, but haven’t touched it in years and don’t care to. Just like I don’t use a slide rule, either.

Coding Horror Fan

I read both posts, and also I’m reading your blog for years now. Personally I fed up with heavy tech blogs and looking for blogs which talking about more theoretical stuff, basics etc. I’ve got lots of disagreement with your posts but this does not invalidate your awesome posts, to be hones not even invalidate posts that I disagree.

In this stage it doesn’t matter you are Dr. Knuth or a javascript developer in my high school if you can give me an idea, explain your enlightening opinions clearly that’s more than enough.

As someone else already said “Keep bloggin’ mate, you are doing it so goood!”

NEWS FLASH! Jeff is human!

Did Alastair just figured out that you’re human? Understandably he’s upset that he didn’t figure this out earlier. Perhaps he’s jealous of your success because it could have been him.

If Alastair read (re-read) Personal Character (Chapter 33) of Code Complete I think he’d get “it” - it’s about being part of the conversation, promoting discussion, encouraging ongoing personal development, invoking curiosity, and being intellectually honest. Coding Horror covers these bases. If Alastair’s blog post isn’t a troll, then we can expect him to put his money where his mouth is and take his blogging to the next level - a level that gets “it”, a caliber similar to this site.

I find the smack down model effective. This model might upset the odd reader, but when it does it often results in the reader doing more research as they attempt to counter your claims. It’s a win-win, people doing more research for themselves contributes to a more enlightened world.

It probably hasn’t sunck in yet, but you certainly have gone professional - “engaged in an activity as a paid occupation rather than as an amateur”. As such, perhaps some people expect you to raise your game.

Despite your poor understanding of MVC, Open-Source, and certain programming languages (Java) there is still plenty in your blogs for me to enjoy.

By the way, when I heard you and Joel struggling to work out how OpenID was to make money, I thought of the quote on the OpenId site itself:

“Nobody’s planning on making any money from this…It benefits the community as a whole…”

Yeah it was definately a traffic bait post.

It might have been a mistake to post it here and give him the traffic. :slight_smile:

You might also point out that 75,000 subscribers does not equate to 75,000 disciples who agree with everything you say; only 75,000 people who are interesting in hearing what you say. :slight_smile: