Software Craftsmanship 2010

Apparently there will be one. Excellent! For all my growing distaste for the This Movement and That Manifesto and what all that's springing up around the parts of the industry that I see most closely, a place that happens to be of the same name as one where people can come together and share an enjoyment of good code and coding is a fine thing.

Jason says that he's "banning talks, presentations or any other kind of session that doesn't involve real live coding" I appreciate the gesture, but I'm not sure that's quite right. I found that Ade's session on mapping personal practices particularly valuable—although it could have benefited from another hour or so. None–the–less a programmers' conference with programming as its core topic illustrated through programming is a too–rare thing and Jason is to be commended for making one happen.

Both of the sessions that I ran there involved real coding by attnedees and even though I wasn't coding myself I learned plenty from the reactions of those who were, such as Gojko's on the TDD session. I've not come across a better forum elsewhere for that kind of discussion on that sort of scale than the SC conference, so having another one seems like a very good thing.

Fallacy as tool

In the comments to this post regarding the level of debate regarding climate change in certain circles Pithlord has this to say:
Most fallacies aren’t really fallacies when you reinterpret them as Bayesian reasons to give an idea more credence rather than iron-clad syllogisms. Without [...] the “ad hominem fallacy” [...] you’d give all your money to Nigerian spammers.
That's a very nice formulation of the idea that the "fallacies" of logic are amongst the tools of rehtoric. This is an notion that has fasinated me ever since I first read Zen and the Art of Motorcyle Maintainance. The rhetorical apporach may not demand agreement (in the way that a sound and valid argument would) but it does tend to persuade. And the answers given by fallacious arguments are not neccessarily wrong, just uncertain.

Many folks in the IT industry seem to want to bludgeon their interlocutors into agreement with something that looks a lot like a proof (mea culpa). As I get older the gentle art of persuasion seems more and more attractive.