“You are not your code” is offensive

“You are not your code” is a popular saying in developer circles with the idea being that the code you create is just code, and you shouldn’t be offended if someone points out faults, makes jokes, or is pessimistic toward it.

In order to spend weeks, months, or years building something you have to have an enormous​ amount of passion for it. This intensity​ is what drives you to wake up day after day to work on it. It’s not just “code” to you. It’s a part of you. It’s a love affair.

To me, it relates back to school projects. If you put in the work and really tried then received a bad grade it’s personal. If you are lazy, don’t care, and just turn in the minimal who cares if you get a bad grade because you are not the work you put in. Maybe that is the difference between why the saying is offensive to some and not others?

Take this guy who built his own log cabin by hand:

If you were invited to come see it as his guest would you start pointing out the flaws in his work? If you did would he want to punch you in the face? Or would he say, no big deal it’s just nails and wood? You and I both know he’d be offended.

When you put yourself out there through any creative endeavor you are being vulnerable. You are sharing a part of you that isn’t natural and to be slighted is like taking a dagger right in the gut. It hurts.

Unless feedback is specifically asked, it’s best to point out the positives and keep your complaints to yourself.  As the old saying goes, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all”.

Agree? Disagree? Sound off in the comments below.