Coding addiction and the "Code Mode".



  • Today I would like to talk about bad coding. Not the kind where you write bad code. The Soviet Russian kind. Where the bad code writes you. badly.

    I despise this kind of code. Normally code has to be inside a medical device of piece of critical equipment to kill you. This kind will try it's best if it's in an ASCII art tic tac toe game.

    This kind of bad code is what you are doing when you are in the "Code Mode"

    What is the code mode?
    (compiled from myself 5+ years ago, horror stories and random anecdotes, and forum postings)

    The code mode is 7:30 AM after 18 hours coding.

    The code mode is anytime you regret an act of coding.

    The code mode is struggling to explain the useless project you call "fun" to others when you secretly know you would rather be doing something else(programming or not)

    The code mode is a walk through nature rudely interrupted by a thought of the next great feature in your program which consumes your thoughts for the rest of the day.

    The code mode is when someone notices you seem distant and distracted, and you realized you were coding in your head,

    The code mode is that book you want to read but can't because you are busy coding and can't stop.

    The code mode is when code directly or indirectly makes you cry real tears, and a lack of backup software wasn't involved.

    The code mode is when you rush and hurry to finish a hobby project when there is no deadline.

    The code mode is feeling like you have to finish a project you hate, when you are the only one who even knows about it.

    The code mode is tearing your hair out and feeling like the code is quicksand and you are digging yourself in.

    The code mode is when it feels like you are in prison, and the cell is wallpapered with your code.

    The code mode is when you wonder if there is a rehab for code addiction.

    The code mode is when you actually stay home to code instead of going out.

    The code mode is when you don't have a life, and suspect code might be to blame.

    The code mode is when you take a break and the whole world seems like a better place.

    Don't get in the code mode. The code mode is evil and wants to kill you. Code all you like. Code 8+ hours a day for a living and have multiple hobby projects.

    Code useless stuff just for fun. Code whatever you want. Just stay outta that code mode. The code mode will only lead to pain.



  • At first I thought it was something about emacs but sadly I can relate to many of your points. It's Sunday and I am hacking with gstreamer...



  •  Here.



  • I just can't deal with CLI editors. I'll use nano every once in a while if i'm SSHed into a raspi or something but the leaning curve on vim/emacs is way high for GUI lovers.



  • @EternityForest said:

    The code mode is when someone notices you seem distant and distracted, and you realized you were coding in your head,

    Is this something that happens to people?



  • @blakeyrat said:

    @EternityForest said:
    The code mode is when someone notices you seem distant and distracted, and you realized you were coding in your head,
    Is this something that happens to people?

     

    Blakey, I don't really see the humor in the original post.  Either it needs more Godzilla Head or I'm humor imparied today.



  •  Code mode has got me. It is3:57 AM and I am going to want home now.


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    @Medezark said:

    @blakeyrat said:

    @EternityForest said:
    The code mode is when someone notices you seem distant and distracted, and you realized you were coding in your head,
    Is this something that happens to people?

     

    Blakey, I don't really see the humor in the original post.  Either it needs more Godzilla Head or I'm humor imparied today.

    I don't think it's meant to evoke laughter so much as empathy. For some of us coding is more of a compulsive habit.

    It's probably somehow related to a preference of CLIs and textual representations of source code, in way that lizard men and laypeople will never be able to comprehend.



  •  Another thing I have noticed about the code mode. Taking a break from coding does not seem to help. You have to actually stop thinking about coding as well. Otherwise, well, you are still in the code mode's icy grip.

    It's interesting that so many people seem to resonate with the idea of the code mode and programming addiction.



  • @EternityForest said:

    so many people seem to resonate with the idea of the code mod
     

    Like, two.



  •  And a bunch of people I know in teh meatspace, and myself of course.

    But yeah not everyone seems to be affected.



  • @dhromed said:

    @EternityForest said:

    so many people seem to resonate with the idea of the code mod
     

    Like, two.

    My fiancee pointed out to me last night, that when I am faced with a difficult programming problem that i can be in the middle of a completely different conversation and suddenly the "answer" comes to me and I will rush back to my desk.

    But I don't think I am in "Code Mode" when that happens.  I think I gave up on the problem conciously and handed it off to my sub-concious to deal with.  Maybe?

    For me "Code Mode" is when I have all the answers and logic worked out, either in my head or on paper or some combination, and can sit down and just CODE for a couple of hours.  No thinking, thats all done, just transferring the work I've done in my head into the IDE (or notepad++).

    But, then again, I think in terms of a geometric proof when problem solving.



  • @EternityForest said:

    And a bunch of people I know in teh meatspace, and myself of course.

    But yeah not everyone seems to be affected.

    I dunno; I was probably like that when I was 14, but I think it's something you're supposed to grow out of.

    I can almost guarantee anybody who spends time in "code mode" as you describe it is writing shitty software. Programming's about collaboration, design, and solving problems, not obsession. The actual code is almost incidental to the process.



  • @blakeyrat said:

    Programming's about collaboration, design, and solving problems, not obsession.
     

    Tell that to Newton. Fucking math-obsessed asshole, he was.



  • @dhromed said:

    Tell that to Newton. Fucking math-obsessed asshole, he was.

    Yeah but he didn't build bridges. Programming is construction, not theory.



  • @blakeyrat said:

    Yeah but he didn't build bridges. Programming is construction, not theory.
     

    That's a good point.



  • @blakeyrat said:

    I can almost guarantee anybody who spends time in "code mode" as you describe it is writing shitty software. Programming's about collaboration, design, and solving problems, not obsession. The actual code is almost incidental to the process.

     

    Totally agree here. Even solo projects turn to shit when code mode is involved but especially goup projects. I don't get into "code mode" very often anymore mostly because to me it's a depressing state not at all like the exiting creativity and collaboration that programming is supposed to be. But the first warning sign for me 5 years ago when I did 10 hour binges pretty often(coincedentally, I was in fact 14) was shitty code. 250-700 line files with deep nesting and no comments were usually the result.

     I think its partly because of the hurriedness and the fact that even though it looks like you are really focused on the code, code mode can be very "solve this annoyance and get it over with" oriented, which leads to trying to literally "fight" the bugs by "attacking" with random changes and hacks.

     @Medezark said:

    But I don't think I am in "Code Mode" when that happens.  I think I
    gave up on the problem conciously and handed it off to my sub-concious
    to deal with.  Maybe?

     

    Yup, thats what I have learned to do to avoid getting stuck in the coding quicksand. It's odd how one can spend less time obsessing about it, but solve problems faster.

     



  •  I can understand "being in the zone", but that's not what you're talking about is it?


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    @Medezark said:

    My fiancee pointed out to me last night, that when I am faced with a difficult programming problem that i can be in the middle of a completely different conversation and suddenly the "answer" comes to me and I will rush back to my desk.

    I always solve the most difficult problems when I am nowhere near a computer. It's just a sudden epiphany about something I didn't consciously realize had been gnawing at me. Or sometimes it's just a much better/more efficient solution than the one in place.

    @Medezark said:
    For me "Code Mode" is when I have all the answers and logic worked out, either in my head or on paper or some combination, and can sit down and just CODE for a couple of hours.  No thinking, thats all done, just transferring the work I've done in my head into the IDE (or notepad++).

    For me it's the project or feature I can't stop working on even after making a conscious effort to stop. It's like watching the program build itself as I work like a man possessed. The end product usually comes out higher quality than the usual toil of work produces as well.

    I'm not convinced it's a bad thing, just a crazy tic that I need to be cognizant of and manage.



  •  

    I am an aspie and i allways feel like that!   Welcome in my world =)

     

     



  • Code Mode is a project that is dragging and I've become bored with, but still have a deadline to meet and have to code more than my Daily Recommended Output (tm). Which invariably means 14 to 16 hours coding on energy drinks and other caffeinated beverages, the next 2 to 4 hours thinking about what I have to code tomorrow, and then balance dreaming about writing code with such clarity that I really believe I already did it when I wake up the next day - which is very disconcerting when I look at the source and wonder where all those bits have disappeared to.

    And don't get me started on "hobby projects" ... I've got three personal money-making websites still half finished, a javascript / SVG Flash renderer on hold, a socket based MMO I'm playing with because I read something about web sockets the other day on Slashdot, a new image compression algorithm still looking too damn blurry ... and I'm thinking about those in parallel with the actual project that pays the bills, leading to some very interesting flights of fancy my client really doesn't need.

    I'm way too addicted to coding for my own good.




  • The last three nights I've fallen asleep planning refactoring on the various code-bases under my domain. I wish I could make it stop without copious amounts of wiskey.


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    @mikeTheLiar said:

    The last three nights I've fallen asleep planning refactoring on the various code-bases under my domain. I wish I could make it stop without copious amounts of wiskey.

    You'd think Gs would be enough to distract you.



  • @mikeTheLiar said:

    The last three nights I've fallen asleep planning refactoring on the various code-bases under my domain. I wish I could make it stop without copious amounts of wiskey.
     

     Some refactoring got me pretty hard the other day... Started getting OCD about this one file of bad code that I just had to clean up...


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    @EternityForest said:

    @mikeTheLiar said:

    The last three nights I've fallen asleep planning refactoring on the various code-bases under my domain. I wish I could make it stop without copious amounts of wiskey.
     

     Some refactoring got me pretty hard the other day... Started getting OCD about this one file of bad code that I just had to clean up...


    We have a few hundred code files from overseas that badly need to be fixed up. But I am avoiding it because if I clean up one file I will be compelled to fix them all. And I can't invest that much into it. Also, the bad code makes me angry.



  • @joe.edwards said:

    @mikeTheLiar said:
    The last three nights I've fallen asleep planning refactoring on the various code-bases under my domain. I wish I could make it stop without copious amounts of wiskey.

    You'd think Gs would be enough to distract you.

    She was watching TV.


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