Talk:Rubber duck debugging
|WikiProject Software / Computing||(Rated Start-class, Low-importance)|
|WikiProject Psychology||(Rated Start-class)|
|This article was proposed for deletion by 18.104.22.168 (talk · contribs) on March 10, 2009 with the comment:
Created spuriously (tinyurl.com/arcyxw), not notable
It was contested by 22.214.171.124 (talk · contribs) on March 10, 2009 with the comment:
(no reason given)
The inventory of Rubber Duck Debugging, unmasked!
Really? An apocryphal story of an unnamed expert? I know who the expert programmer was! It was... wait for it... Ernie! https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ernie
In the show(s), Ernie regularly explains things to his rubber ducky, like why Bert organizes his paper clips or why you should be extra careful when clipping your nails.
I leave it as an exercise to the reader to find documentation of this sufficient to include it in the article.
"The name is a reference to an apocryphal story in which an unnamed expert programmer would keep a rubber duck by his desk at all times, and debug his code by forcing himself to explain it, line-by-line, to the duck." — Preceding unsigned comment added by 126.96.36.199 (talk) 05:21, 13 May 2012 (UTC)
A better way to describe it
The lede for this article seems to imply that the inanimacy is part of the magic. This is not the origin of the idea, the origin is when you ask a coworker for help, they sit next to you, and while you are explaining the set up, you realize what your error is. You say "thank you" to them, and they say "I didn't do anything". The substitution of an inanimate item is to save the trouble (and a bit of the "boy do i feel stupid" feeling). We used the term while coding professionally in the 1970's in a different way, and we called it "teddy bear" rather than rubber duck. We used that term to describe the 2nd human being: "could you come be my teddy bear for a minute" with the full expectation that the answer would probably emerge during the initial phase of the conversation, and if it didn't, the other person would be prepped to actually help. I don't add this to the article because you'd call it original research... of course, original research is how everything of value is discovered, so I guess you'll have to wait for me to publish. The team I worked on at that time came out of MIT's Draper Labs doing factory automation, if somebody is inspired to actually research this origin. 188.8.131.52 (talk) 14:41, 20 August 2012 (UTC)
- It's pretty clear that this idea has come about independently in at least half a dozen places. The idea that when you review some code with someone, they typically glaze over and the value of it comes not from them making comments but from you slowing down and explaining something and thereby seeing the problem in a new light. That leads many of us to think "Why did I need a real person to explain this to?"...and from there we get the idea that talking to a rubber duck, a teddy bear, a cardboard-cutout, a dog or (in one memorable case) a blow-up sex doll. The wide variety of choices of inanimate object strongly suggests an series of independent inventions rather than one key idea that spread. But this is mostly programer lore - and as such doesn't get notable enough to show up in WP:RS. SteveBaker (talk) 14:58, 20 August 2012 (UTC)
- I don't agree with you that the idea necessarily came about independently, the world of computer programmers was a lot smaller back in the day, it would be easy for an idea to flourish from a single origin. But in any case, I'm not arguing that my information be included, I just put it in as a point of interest. I'm arguing that this article is incorrect to suggest that explaining something to an inanimate object is somehow different than explaining to a person. And I point out that when I first heard it it was actually used to describe people, not objects, "you could have figured that out by talking to your teddy bear". The article is misleading currently. 184.108.40.206 (talk) 21:39, 20 August 2012 (UTC)