Jeff Atwood

Jeff Atwood is a software developer, author, blogger, and entrepreneur. Jeff is famous for his programming blog Coding Horror. Together with Joel Spolsky, he founded the question-and-answer website Stack Overflow and the Stack Exchange Network. On The Pastry Box Project, Jeff will publish a digest of his tweets to highlight his thinking.

Jeff tweets @codinghorror.

Published Thoughts

When Alex approached me to write for The Pastry Box, I replied with this image


and asked if I could present one thought from my Twitter for each month of the project.

He thought I was joking.

I wasn’t.

The Internet is a wonderful thing, but it also means every living human being now has a bully pulpit to type words that anyone in the world can read. Probably on Facebook. At any given moment, for the first time in human civilization, it’s possible to immerse yourself in social interaction with other human beings all over the planet, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.

Sometimes I just get tired of all these people, telling me all these things, sharing their opinions about everything and anything that happened in their day.

I have a message for all these people.

Shut the fuck up.

Now I mean this in a gentle way, with great tenderness. Imagine I’m holding you in my arms, we’re both cradling warm cups of tea with a soft down blanket enveloping us both, watching Nights in Rodanthe on DVD… and l lean down, nuzzling your cheek a bit as I slowly whisper in your ear…

Shut the fuck up.

Not every thought should be shared.
Not every opinion needs to be voiced.
The world does not benefit from yet more unconstructive, random chatter.

This is why there is a growing Don’t Read the Comments movement. Which I find profoundly sad, because I love human communication and I love comments. But too many people engage their mouths long before their brains are in gear, and fill the world with the worst kind of noise.

Which is why I love Twitter.

The 140 character limitation may be the best thing that’s ever happened to general human communication. We don’t have to suffer through long tirades, or boring exposition, or a bunch of blah blah blah happy talk before getting to the freaking point. There’s only room for the point! If you can only write one thing, you write the most important part, the title. Make it an interesting title that explains what’s going on. Boom. Done.

Which is what you’re supposed to do in good writing anyway. The great accidental genius of Twitter is that it demands good writing. It presents a small, simple box which implicitly says: Be interesting. Be succinct. Be clear. Or you will be ignored.

So when I submitted 11 Twitter posts to The Pastry Box, it wasn’t some kind of bizarre performance art. It wasn’t me cheating my way out of writing 11 monthly pieces. (OK, it was maybe that a little.) But mostly, it was me taking my own advice, and … shutting the fuck up.

You’re welcome.

If some people don’t hate what you are doing, it probably sucks.

Originally posted on Twitter, on October 24th, 2013.

“Don’t post anything you wouldn’t want attributed to you in a court of law, quoted on the front page of the Times, or read by your mother.”

Originally posted on Twitter, on September 12th, 2013.

Sometimes I think “I’m going to complain about this” then I wonder “can I do something to help fix this?” and I go do that instead.

Originally posted on Twitter, on September 9th, 2013.

So much of programming is repeatedly slamming your head into a wall until it is bloody. That’s always why I thought dudes liked it more.

Originally posted on Twitter, on August 19, 2013.

90% of the feedback we get is crap. But not yours, your feedback is excellent.

Originally posted on Twitter, on July 1, 2013.

The TL;DR web is becoming the TL;DW video web.

Originally posted on Twitter, on June 9th, 2013.

“Algorithms are for people who don’t know how to buy RAM.” I’m just sayin’.

Originally posted on Twitter, on May 22nd, 2013.

When your CEO says “I see a limited future for tablet computers”, I hear “fire me before I can do any more damage.”

Originally posted on Twitter, on April 30th, 2013.

In case you were wondering how geeky BitCoins are, “Mt.Gox” means, literally, “Magic the Gathering Online Exchange.” For serious.

Originally posted on Twitter, on April 16th, 2013.

When you say “Every server comes with free MySQL and PHP!” what I hear is “My server has herpes!”

Originally posted on Twitter, on March 2nd, 2013.

I like to go out during the Super Bowl and pretend I am the only survivor in a post-apocalyptic wasteland.

Originally posted on Twitter, on February 13th, 2013.

I wish we had all been this pissed off about Aaron Swartz’s bitterly unfair government charges when he was still alive.

Originally posted on Twitter, on January 12th, 2013.

You know what? F**k you, second amendment. Maybe we needed guns in the 1700s to have a voice or security. Not any more.

Originally posted on Twitter, on December 14th, 2012.