Stop Ranting, You Moron

Everybody loves ranting! At some point in our life, each of us was frustrated with a particular thing and internet is a wonderful platform to share all those feelings.

While the Coding rants are quite famous (I have come across a hell lot of these, maybe because I am a developer), there are lots of other categories which are favourite targets for people like India.

There are coding rants wherein the person makes a lot of sarcastic comments about the things which are wrong but tells nothing specifically. These types are a wonderful read as they are meant for humour and not for serious business. On the other hand, the rants wherein the person specifically points out the wrong things going on, get pretty serious and you can definitely see the frustration in that article. I am pretty sure that if you do a semantic analysis with the fancy IBM Watson APIs, the article will show as negative.

Well, one might have guessed where this article is leading, right?

I am at that point of my life, when I am frustrated about the people making serious rants. Yes, I hate serious rants and that is just because they are quite ill-written maybe because the author was frustrated himself when he wrote it and it is clearly visible, or whatever might be the reason, the point is serious rants if ill-written, are disgusting.

The humorous ones are extremely amusing on the other hand, and you will have a smile (or even better, a laugh) by the time you end up reading.

I will take two examples in describing the different between the two.

Humorous One

Fuck You Startup World is a very good example of this category written by Shem Magnezi. I can bet that after reading that article, you will definitely have a good laugh but I will still advice to finish off this one before moving on to that. But I will just give you a peak into that article.

Fuck your drinking culture too. Please stop celebrating every fucking imaginary milestone with whisky, beer, or pizza and beer. Like, every ‘cool’ company has a bar now? Oh, OK, I’ll come work for you because you have the Glenlivet 17 and not the 15. That’s why I show up to work every day.

As most of you might be knowing that a few startups actually have a free and open bar in their office spaces, but well who knows why? If you are someone like me, you would actually turn up to office and still work late just to have a good drink or not. The best part about this is that, the author leaves the judgement to the reader thus being on the “safe side” and on top of that, people just take this lightly.

Serious but ill-written one

The Indian Startup Ecosystem - Something Isn’t Right definitely belongs to this category written by Nishant Rao. If you read this although again, I will strongly advice you to do it after reading the current article, it will just leave you with disgust without even providing a solution.

Don’t get me wrong, I do agree with all the points raised in the article and I too believe the same thing, but the reason I don’t go ranting about it is the thought that comes to my mind, “What good will you do by ranting about it?”. One extract from the article:

It is interesting to note that most of the first generation startups in the US and also in China were bootstrapped. That played a huge role in their successes. Why? Because it is human nature which drives us that extra bit when our own money is involved.

This is a true fact and I totally agree with this. But, why point it out? Are the VCs going to stop funding those startups just because you said it? Do they not know about this problem? How do you propose to solve this problem? What good did it do to you or anyone who reads it, except acknowledge about the existing problem?

I strongly believe if you are spending your time doing something, there should be something good out of it, otherwise it is waste of everybody’s time and time is precious, darling especially the one which isn’t yours.

Instead what should he do is write about the problems and also do a proper analysis by breaking it into pieces and telling where exactly did it broke and even better, provide a solution.

Serious but nicely written one

An email thread on the kernel mailing list by the famous-for-ranting Linus Torvals.

Here is the frustration point of linus:

In other words: the choice of C is the only sane choice. I know Miles Bader jokingly said “to piss you off”, but it’s actually true. I’ve come to the conclusion that any programmer that would prefer the project to be in C++ over C is likely a programmer that I really would prefer to piss off, so that he doesn’t come and screw up any project I’m involved with.

In this paragraph, he rants about the problem just like Nishant did but in a more aggressive way. But the good thing is that, he also describes what specifically is the problem here:

C++ leads to really really bad design choices. You invariably start using the “nice” library features of the language like STL and Boost and other total and utter crap, that may “help” you program, but causes:

  • infinite amounts of pain when they don’t work (and anybody who tells me that STL and especially Boost are stable and portable is just so full of BS that it’s not even funny)
  • inefficient abstracted programming models where two years down the road you notice that some abstraction wasn’t very efficient, but now all your code depends on all the nice object models around it, and you cannot fix it without rewriting your app.

This guy actually cares about giving explanations about why the problem exists in the first place. Again whether it is correct or not, is just his and readers’ opinion. He also goes ahead and gives a solution to the problem (which actually works no matter how absurd it might sound to a guy who orgasms on Object Oriented Programming and claims how it has helped him to be the “Greatest coder” which placed foot on earth):

In other words, the only way to do good, efficient, and system-level and portable C++ ends up to limit yourself to all the things that are basically available in C. And limiting your project to C means that people don’t screw that up, and also means that you get a lot of programmers that do actually understand low-level issues and don’t screw things up with any idiotic “object model” crap.

At this point of the article I would really like to clarify that while mentioning about these articles, I am not validating the truth of what you have written, instead I am focusing on How did you deliver it. The reason Linus is well respected in the community despite of his extreme rude behavior, is his ability to convey his ideas properly in a systematic manner which makes the reader think that his time wasn’t wasted. If you are writing a humorous one, make sure your reader has a good laugh at the end, if you are writing a serious one, make sure you reader actually gains something out of it.

My Rant

I wrote Writing Kickass READMEs some time ago. This was I think GSoC period where I was just browsing through the repositories and at that time it struck me that the READMEs they have are mostly ill-written and one ends up wasting a lot of time. Pissed off from that, I wrote a rant about it wherein I also explained how it could have been made better. After reading this article you will definitely keep these points in your README and more people will see and contribute to your code.

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