A Favorite Fallacy of Developers

As you might know, one of my favorite sayings that does not involve colorful metaphors, is I’m not perfect; I’m just better than you. I use this riposte whenever a developer or designer or someone whose work I scrutinize catches me in a typo or sometimes in an outright error. Let’s face it, I may be persnickety about grammar enough to use capital letters, punctuation, and full sentences in instant message conversations, but sometimes I slip up a bit. Who doesn’t?

Then a developer pounces with glee. A-ha! You’re no better than the rest of us! Why should I listen to you when you tell me that the right combination of events causes my application to dump a stack trace after charging $2,000,000 to a random credit card number in the database when you cannot even remember to include the to in every infinitive instance.

Ha! Just kidding. Developers don’t know what infinitives are. They do catch some mistakes, though, and then accuse QA of being imperfect.

That, my friends, is the ad hominem fallacy known as tu quoque. Whereupon every issue logged is ignorable because the person who logged it is infallible.

Nice try, developer, and I know that logic isn’t something you’ve learned anywhere, but the fact that I, flawed being, point out that something is wrong doesn’t make it any less wrong. And you will fix it, or you will face my flawed being wrath.

That’s today’s Latin lesson, kids. Remember the words tu quoque and whip them out the next time a developer taunts you for a mistake. If you pronounce them just right, they sound almost like you’re swearing in Spanish.

And remember, you’re not perfect. You’re just better than they.

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