Comment On We Burned the Poop

Erik was in his robe, brushing his teeth and getting ready for bed when the doorbell rang. As he walked downstairs to see who it was, he was thinking that it was odd to have a late-night guest, especially on such a rainy night. [expand full text]
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Re: We Burned the Poop

2008-08-28 11:05 • by ObiWayneKenobi
The Real WTF™ is that nobody found this bug before releasing it... although that happens all the time, so maybe it's not a WTF after all.

Re: We Burned the Poop

2008-08-28 11:05 • by Sanity (unregistered)
I'd think it's an object lesson in best practices -- like actual testing, version control, issue tracking, etc -- rather than a lesson in not using "poop".

After all, if the button had said "This is a test", would it have been any better to waste thousands of CDs on?

Re: We Burned the Poop

2008-08-28 11:08 • by dkf
And there I was thinking it was something to do with piracy, and the burning of poop decks

Re: We Burned the Poop

2008-08-28 11:09 • by Vechni
poop!! lawlz! i didn't even need to read this article.

Re: We Burned the Poop

2008-08-28 11:12 • by Kermos
214671 in reply to 214670

Re: We Burned the Poop

2008-08-28 11:18 • by Code Dependent
...and that's the poop on that situation.

At least he had the good taste to choose a palindrome, instead of some unbalanced junker like "shit".

Re: We Burned the Poop

2008-08-28 11:21 • by sir_flexalot (unregistered)
We had a debug boolean variable called boolsh** (without the censorship) show up printed on a production website at the top of the screen... and it was equal to true.

Alex, are you just being polite?

2008-08-28 11:22 • by Keving (unregistered)
You sure they didn't write "shit"?

Re: We Burned the Poop

2008-08-28 11:22 • by akatherder
214678 in reply to 214667
Sanity:
I'd think it's an object lesson in best practices -- like actual testing, version control, issue tracking, etc -- rather than a lesson in not using "poop".

After all, if the button had said "This is a test", would it have been any better to waste thousands of CDs on?


It depends what the button was used for. I would sacrifice the "About Us" button to say "This is a test" if the alternative was paying $30,000. Most users wouldn't click it, and they'd just get a little chuckle about the stupid developer who goofed up. It's a bit harder to just ignore "poop" though.

Re: We Burned the Poop

2008-08-28 11:23 • by Lincoln (unregistered)
what does his boss expect him to do with a box of used cd's?

Re: We Burned the Poop

2008-08-28 11:24 • by DDF (unregistered)
I don't think that is quite as bad as the "You should never see this message" type errors which are proof of either the programmers arrogance, lack of skill or both - not just his poor memory.

Always pretend as if it's going to be looked at from your mother.

2008-08-28 11:26 • by ClutchDude (unregistered)
I was a layout editor for the college paper. The writers and section editor would never get their headlines done in time for me to finalize the layout, so I'd always throw some crazy gibberish like "President dismisses entire college staff." I figured there is no way they'd forget to change it.
Then, one week, a headline "Giant Lizard Flattens Campus" made it into the paper.

Somehow, it gotten through the section editor, the editor-in-chief, the writer and even the President and Dean of students who happened to meeting with the editor-in-chief as she sent the proofs off to printing. Needless to say, I got a minor scolding and told to just read the article and make something up for future papers.

A retraction was printed the next week stating that "XXXXX College was not flattened, contrary to other claims."

Re: We Burned the Poop

2008-08-28 11:32 • by phleabo (unregistered)
I once worked at a place that cranked out desktop DB apps. One of them was a client management app for a local AIDS non-profit, which got delivered with the test data still in the db. Which wouldn' t have been a problem if it hadn't had client names like "Barney Buttfucker," in it. Believe it or not, the client was less than pleased.

And if you're reading this, hey Jamie. Still writing VFP apps?

Re: We Burned the Poop

2008-08-28 11:48 • by Some guy (unregistered)
Hah! I was fired for almost the exact same thing. Except it was on a website and a worse word than "poop".

Re: We Burned the Poop

2008-08-28 11:49 • by mister (unregistered)
Poop happens

Re: Always pretend as if it's going to be looked at from your mother.

2008-08-28 11:51 • by D0R
214689 in reply to 214682
This is quite a WTF. I'd rather have used some headline like "TODO TODO TODO" or "YYYYYYYYYYY" which is easy to spot at first sight as a temp headline.

Re: We Burned the Poop

2008-08-28 11:57 • by Chris (unregistered)
The best debug message that I have seen that made it into production was "shoot the puppy". I think that this was a indication that the app was in a bad way and should be closed...

This was by the same developer that added the self documenting function HavingItHardcore.

Re: We Burned the Poop

2008-08-28 11:59 • by Rocketboy (unregistered)
Same type of thing happened when I worked shipping and recieving. One guy's job was to match the box with the paperwork. One guys' job was to log in the box/paperwork as fast as possible (that one was my job). Then someone would place the paperwork back in the box, marking the box. Next someone would have to pull the box (double checking the paperwork vs the box), and stage it to be shipped. Then the driver was to match his paperwork (which was a copy of the first set of paperwork) with the staged boxes, then head off to Canada.

I was given the wrong paperwork for the wrong box.

Nobody caught the mistake. I was specifically just to write things up.

I got in trouble for it.

Long story short, no matter how many times something is to be checked, even if it's your job not to check, don't fuck up. 'Shit' in a dialog box is a fuckup.

Everyone else who didn't catch it is a fuckup.

But poop rolls downhill.

Even valetudo branded poop.

Re: We Burned the Poop

2008-08-28 12:00 • by Rocketboy (unregistered)
214693 in reply to 214680
Lincoln:
what does his boss expect him to do with a box of used cd's?


Remind him to stay regular, what else?

I don't think you understand the gravis of the situation, or the gravis of the Captcha.

Re: We Burned the Poop

2008-08-28 12:00 • by Victor (unregistered)
Yup, I learned that lesson too:

I was tracking down a bug in this web app so I put an exception code to see what was going on in our dev server

Throw New Exception("Shit Happens: " + debugvars)

Later that day somebody decided to deploy a new version of the app to production...

After that incident I became a strong advocate of build processes where a branch of the code is what is deployed to test/production.

Re: We Burned the Poop

2008-08-28 12:07 • by Similar, but less serious story (unregistered)
One day I was developing software that had to do with "assignments" so I had an "ass" variable that held the current assignment.

Everything was great.

Until the day some unepexpected error popped up with a stack trace referencing "ass" popped up on a screen. It sais something like "Null pointer in ass." or some other slightly-offensive phrase. I got a good talking to about that. Luckily, we hadn't shipped the product yet so there was time to both fix the bug and change the variable name.

But I learned an important lesson to even make sure my variable names didn't have potentially offensive language.

Re: We Burned the Poop

2008-08-28 12:08 • by JDeepBeep

Re: We Burned the Poop

2008-08-28 12:09 • by Erzengel
214699 in reply to 214681
DDF:
I don't think that is quite as bad as the "You should never see this message" type errors which are proof of either the programmers arrogance, lack of skill or both - not just his poor memory.

It's not arrogance, it's a statement. "You should never see this message" is shorthand for "You should never see this message, if you do, then someone made a mistake. Unless this someone was you (using some windows functions to view incomplete windows, for example) please let us know how this happened. Thank you."

Arrogance would be using, and processing, the string "CrashComputer()". You should never see it, so your computer should never crash, right? Right?

Re: We Burned the Poop

2008-08-28 12:11 • by TopCod3r
214700 in reply to 214667
At my company, one of the many things that our IT department does right, is we have guided the business to continue to use CD-ROMs instead of a website for advertising our products. When I was asked to make the business case for this decision, it was simple:

1. If you have a web site, there are too many browsers and incompatibilities with javascript, etc. So distributing a CD-ROM solves this problem because it will work on any Windows PC that has a CD-ROM drive, which is all of them.

2. If you have a web site, anyone can view it, so even your competitors can gather intelligence about your products. Now, we are able to see our competitors website, but since we don't send CD-ROMs to them, they are in the dark!

3. If you have a web site, you have to worry more about security and being hacked. How many news stories are there out there about companies who have exposed customer data. I have guaranteed that will not happen to us.

4. If you have a web site, you have to hire web developers. With a CD-ROM application, you can use VB developers, who can create a more graphically rich experience for the customer.

It really is quite simple to execute. On the last Wednesday of the month, everyone who has a CD-R drive (which includes all IT employees) has to burn their share of the CDs that have to go out the following Monday. So we assign a quota so to speak, and how to do in regards to your quota goes into your 360 feedback session later in the year.

Anyway, it has worked out well. A tried and true approach.

Re: We Burned the Poop

2008-08-28 12:18 • by SomeCoder (unregistered)
I've added popups and exceptions like "FUCK YOU!!!" when trying to find bugs. Mostly this is only after hours of banging my head against something and not being able to figure it out.

Luckily, none of these ever made it into production but these days I'm a bit more careful (I put stuff like "TESTING!!" and "testing more stuff!" if I have to add a popup to try and figure something out)

Re: We Burned the Poop

2008-08-28 12:19 • by Bobble (unregistered)
Why am I starting to get the feeling that corporate fiction is going to end up as a motivational seminar that my company is going to force me to sit through?

Re: We Burned the Poop

2008-08-28 12:22 • by anon (unregistered)
214704 in reply to 214700
Hillarious

Re: We Burned the Poop

2008-08-28 12:24 • by cellocgw (unregistered)
214705 in reply to 214700
TopCod3r:
At my company, one of the many things that our IT department does right, is we have guided the business to continue to use CD-ROMs instead of a website for advertising our products. When I was asked to make the business case for this decision, it was simple:

1. If you have a web site, there are too many browsers and incompatibilities with javascript, etc. So distributing a CD-ROM solves this problem because it will work on any Windows PC that has a CD-ROM drive, which is all of them.

2. If you have a web site, anyone can view it, so even your competitors can gather intelligence about your products. Now, we are able to see our competitors website, but since we don't send CD-ROMs to them, they are in the dark!

3. If you have a web site, you have to worry more about security and being hacked. How many news stories are there out there about companies who have exposed customer data. I have guaranteed that will not happen to us.

4. If you have a web site, you have to hire web developers. With a CD-ROM application, you can use VB developers, who can create a more graphically rich experience for the customer.

It really is quite simple to execute. On the last Wednesday of the month, everyone who has a CD-R drive (which includes all IT employees) has to burn their share of the CDs that have to go out the following Monday. So we assign a quota so to speak, and how to do in regards to your quota goes into your 360 feedback session later in the year.

Anyway, it has worked out well. A tried and true approach.

Believability Factor: zero.
Nobody bothers to rifle thru a couple dozen CDs that showed up inthe office junk mail.
And.. you really think none of your competitors know everything they want to know about your product?

Ooops, never mind -- you were just trolling in the first place. My bad.

Re: We Burned the Poop

2008-08-28 12:25 • by Bob N Freely (unregistered)
MS has an internal tool they have to run on any project that will be released to customers. It looks for this kind of stuff in the code. It has a database of offensive words in dozens of languages, so sometimes you get unexpected results.

Re: We Burned the Poop

2008-08-28 12:26 • by Steve (unregistered)
I was reviewing one of our team's code and came across this:

if (somecondition)
{
//can never get here
GenerateError("something is f***ed");
}

I quickly pointed out that when something "can never happen", it is almost always guaranteed to do so at the most inopportune moments. Begrudgingly, he changed his error message to something more benign as "unexpected error caused by somecondition"

Sure enough, within two weeks of our release, we had a bug report come in from a customer with that exact error message

The basic lesson: Never be a wise ass in your messages, either in debugging or in sections of code that you deem to be unreachable, because eventually, the customers will see it.

Re: We Burned the Poop

2008-08-28 12:26 • by TopCod3r
214708 in reply to 214705
cellocgw:

Believability Factor: zero.
Nobody bothers to rifle thru a couple dozen CDs that showed up inthe office junk mail.
And.. you really think none of your competitors know everything they want to know about your product?


I didn't say we didn't have a contact info web site. We have a web site that has out phone number and contact information for example, after all it is 2008. This is also how they can request a CD-ROM, by filling out a simple form that I wrote.

One best practice that we developed in order to make sure the customer sees the CD-ROM is for our sales staff to personally call them to make sure they received it, and if not send another one.

Re: We Burned the Poop

2008-08-28 12:27 • by Anon (unregistered)
Could have been worse, it could have said "MFD".

And the real lesson here is not to tell your co-workers where you live.

Re: We Burned the Poop

2008-08-28 12:27 • by Matt.C
Tch! When that happens, make it an acronym.

Prepare Object-Oriented Packet.

Re: We Burned the Poop

2008-08-28 12:30 • by Code Dependent
When I saw the title of this one, I thought it was going to be a variation on the old "burning bag on the porch--ring the doorbell and hide" routine.

Re: We Burned the Poop

2008-08-28 12:31 • by UriGagarin
A developer working on an interface for our new CRM system ( this was back during 2000 or so) put in a error message for when the record was really mangled. 'Record fucked' was the error message, although it was pretty accurate , it was felt that something less direct was probably better .

Re: We Burned the Poop

2008-08-28 12:33 • by Kermos
214715 in reply to 214700
TopCod3r:
At my company, one of the many things that our IT department does right, is we have guided the business to continue to use CD-ROMs instead of a website for advertising our products. When I was asked to make the business case for this decision, it was simple: <snip>


You are kidding right? Please do tell me you are kidding. If you aren't, I seriously hope you don't ever by some odd and random chance need to send me your advertising. The only place that CD is going to go is straight to the trash.

The very last thing you'll ever see me do is insert a 3rd Party unknown and untrusted advertisement CD into any one of my computers. What do I know what all sorts of crap and garbage that software on that CD is going to do on my system?

As far as the "more graphically rich experience for the customer", here's a hint: When I go look at information about a product that I potentially want to use / buy I want data, specs, and facts. Not fancy little graphical bullshit animations that serve no purpose but to waste my time.

The best way to make me not consider a product is to make me wade through excessive amounts of useless advertising clutter. Give me a plain white sheet of paper with the information I need plainly written on it in simple black and white however and you stand a pretty good chance.

Edit: I just realized who I replied to...that explains things...

Re: We Burned the Poop

2008-08-28 12:40 • by jkupski (unregistered)
214716 in reply to 214700
TopCod3r:
It really is quite simple to execute. On the last Wednesday of the month, everyone who has a CD-R drive (which includes all IT employees) has to burn their share of the CDs that have to go out the following Monday. So we assign a quota so to speak, and how to do in regards to your quota goes into your 360 feedback session later in the year.


Whiskey Tango Foxtrot!

Surely you realize that a multi drive duplicator would probably pay for itself in a month, two months tops, right?

Re: We Burned the Poop

2008-08-28 12:44 • by Linux admin (unregistered)
214718 in reply to 214700
TopCod3r:
1. If you have a web site, there are too many browsers and incompatibilities with javascript, etc. So distributing a CD-ROM solves this problem because it will work on any Windows PC that has a CD-ROM drive, which is all of them.


I agree with all of your other points, but I have to disagree with this one. I use Linux and I know at least one other person who uses Linux. And I think Apple is still out there, right? You might want to think about creating different copies for different operating systems. You could probably even fit three different versions on the same CD! If not, maybe think about switching to DVD.

Re: We Burned the Poop

2008-08-28 12:45 • by shadowman
Erik's company had scored a project for a multinational software company called "The Big M" around the office.


Novell?

Re: We Burned the Poop

2008-08-28 12:46 • by iToad (unregistered)
214721 in reply to 214681
DDF:
I don't think that is quite as bad as the "You should never see this message" type errors which are proof of either the programmers arrogance, lack of skill or both - not just his poor memory.


I use the more politically correct phrase "Internal Error", followed by an error code. Yes, I have seen them pop up later.

Re: We Burned the Poop

2008-08-28 12:58 • by akatherder
214723 in reply to 214721
iToad:
DDF:
I don't think that is quite as bad as the "You should never see this message" type errors which are proof of either the programmers arrogance, lack of skill or both - not just his poor memory.


I use the more politically correct phrase "Internal Error", followed by an error code. Yes, I have seen them pop up later.


We did that too. We started assigning sequential errors to the code "Internal Error: E001", "Internal Error: E002", etc. It was a mild pain in the ass to figure out what the latest error number was, so someone decided to just hammer on the keyboard "Internal Error: 2873JD83HJD". Eventually we ended up with "FUK" in one of the error codes. The person who call it in said "Hey I got a 194 f*ck error".

Re: We Burned the Poop

2008-08-28 13:00 • by Doesn't matter (unregistered)
214725 in reply to 214718
Note to everyone:

TopCod3r's posts always have his tongue firmly in his cheek.

That is all.

Re: We Burned the Poop

2008-08-28 13:02 • by Pecos Bill
"You big hairy ape!"

...appeared on the customer's computer here at my company. I heard about this after joining my team. The contractor had put that into her code as a reminder but alas it made it to production. So much for QA. The internal (thankfully all ours are) customer was VERY unhappy to be insulted and wasn't quite mollified after it was explained and apologies were cast about. My then-boss didn't like losing face either so the contractor didn't stick around much longer. I've taken that to heart and thankfully haven't suffered that fate.

Pretty funny if you think about software insulting it's users. Some deserve it :-) Others on my team have wanted to wire up electroshock behavioral therapy.

Re: We Burned the Poop

2008-08-28 13:07 • by Zap Brannigan (unregistered)
214728 in reply to 214725
Replying to to TopCod3r is a lot like being punk'd.

TopCod3r, never give up, never surrender!

Re: We Burned the Poop

2008-08-28 13:08 • by Jason T (unregistered)
214729 in reply to 214725
In my rookie year I got pulled into the Boss's office to explain why our Employee Bonus Calculation function said 'Hello' to the customer's controller.

The code was in Paradox 5 and had passed some limit in terms of code size, that the debugger would no longer trace code so I was left to use message box techniques to see where the code was running.

Sure glad I took out some of the message boxes I had earlier, I remember I had something like:

...
MessageBox("Why")
...
MessageBox("doesn't")
...
MessageBox("this")
...
MessageBox("*******")
...
MessageBox("****")
...
MessageBox("work??")
...

That was my wakeup call on using profanities in debugging code. Thankfully I never 'poop'ed on the customer.

Re: We Burned the Poop

2008-08-28 13:09 • by xtremezone (unregistered)
Am I the only one that hoped this article was announcing the cancellation of MFD? :-/

Re: We Burned the Poop

2008-08-28 13:14 • by rpjs (unregistered)
Been there.

At my last gig a colleague put some (very mild) profanity into some test data that made it into production: on the e-commerce site for a major mobile telco a phone had "My arse" listed as one of its features 8-)

The client went ballistic and demanded that we fire the perpetrator. Although my colleague had owned up to us, we ended up telling them we were unable to figure out who had done it. I doubt the client believed us but they had calmed down a bit and let it go.

Re: We Burned the Poop

2008-08-28 13:15 • by meznak (unregistered)
214732 in reply to 214678
It depends what the button was used for. I would sacrifice the "About Us" button to say "This is a test" if the alternative was paying $30,000. Most users wouldn't click it, and they'd just get a little chuckle about the stupid developer who goofed up. It's a bit harder to just ignore "poop" though.


Especially if it was the "About Us" button...

Re: We Burned the Poop

2008-08-28 13:16 • by snoofle
214733 in reply to 214710
Matt.C:
Tch! When that happens, make it an acronym.

Prepare Object-Oriented Packet.

(C)ommon
(R)untime
(A)nalytics
(P)rocessor

(C)ustom
(L)ibrary
(I)nternalizing
(T)ransactions
(O)n
(R)egistered
(I)nternal
(S)ystems

For a clbuttic filter:
(F)ind
(U)nnecessary
(C)urses
(K)eenly
(Y)et
(O)rdinarily
(U)ttered

Re: We Burned the Poop

2008-08-28 13:17 • by CynicalTyler (unregistered)
214735 in reply to 214680
Lincoln:
what does his boss expect him to do with a box of used cd's?
Clearly you're too young to have remembered the free AOL CD days. You can play frisbee, use them as coasters, fix wobbly tables, make a suit... the possibilities are endless! I wish I worked for a company with as great a benefits package as "all the screwed up CD prints you can carry"!
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