The Documentation Gods are angry…

Do you remember that code you wrote last year? Yeah, that super great algorithm that you developed that did the Crazy-Hard thing. So, now there’s a problem that’s really similar and it would be great to reuse that code. Only, you can’t find it.  No, that’s no fun. Instead lets say that you DO find it in your well organized folders. Score!

Then you open the god-touched-code-of-awesome-ness and start looking through it, prepared to make use of all your hard work from last year.  But, despite your perfect plan, nothing in the code makes sense. It dawns on you that despite all the warnings that previous grad students have given you, you have no idea what anything does because you didn’t. comment. your. code.


Because at the time, you know, when you were working on the code for 6 hours a day, you thought, “I’ll always know what the user defined variable clim_y_max_kinda means!” I know, we’ve all been there. You should have written down your process, made a few notes so that when you look back you can follow the breadcrumbs of your project!

In business, this type of documentation is vital and necessary because the company never knows when you might leave. But in business, a lack of documentation might be called an oversight… but in grad school, I call it Hubris.

Hubris means extreme pride or self-confidence. When it offends the Gods of ancient Greece, it is usually punished. -Wikipedia

You have offended the Documentation Gods!


And then you stumble upon it.  The elusive and yet commonly used “pizza” variable. And while you have no idea what “pizza” stands for, you can remember being very hungry that day and getting amazing Pizza Luce on your way home…

About Samantha from SocialMath

Applied Mathematician and writer of
This entry was posted in Communicating Math, Learning and Teaching Math. Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to The Documentation Gods are angry…

  1. I’m going to go out on a limb and guess that any variable with “kinda” in it is going to need further explanation at some point.

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