One of the stupidest things ever

Started by TehBorken, Mar 24 15 10:32

Previous topic - Next topic


A Bechdel Test for programming? A thoroughly stupid and pointless idea.

via slashdot:

In order for a movie or television show to pass the Bechdel Test* (named after cartoonist and MacArthur genius Alison Bechdel), it must feature two female characters, have those two characters talk to one another, and have those characters talk to one another about something other than a man.  A lot of movies and shows don't pass. How would programming culture fare if subjected to a similar test? (

One tech firm, 18F, decided to find out after seeing a tweet from Laurie Voss, ( CTO of npm, which explained the parameters of a modified Bechdel Test. According to Voss, a project that passes the test must feature at least one function written by a woman developer, that calls a function written by another woman developer.

'The conversation started with us quickly listing the projects that passed the Bechdel coding test, but then shifted after one of our devs then raised a good point,' read 18F's blog posting on the experiment. (

'She said some of our projects had lots of female devs, but did not pass the test as defined.' For example, some custom languages don't have functions, which means a project built using those languages would fail even if written by women. (Starting to see the 'stupid' here?)

"Nonetheless, both startups and larger companies could find the modified Bechdel Test a useful tool for opening up a discussion about gender balance within engineering and development teams."

1) If you can substitute the term "white male" into your premise and suddenly find it offensive, then was actually racist/sexist all along.

2) Seriously, this is the dumbest thing ever. Just make the code work. I don't care if there were women involved in writing it or not. There are so many issues that actually matter, and this isn't one of them.

3) You won't find any real programmers (male OR female) wasting their time culling through the code base, compiling statistics, looking for some form of bigotry. Instead, he or she will call your functions if they work regardless of what you look like.

*The Bechdel test is, quite literally, a joke. It started as a joke in a cartoon (see below), and it remains a joke because it is utterly useless as a measure for anything at all. This new test, from the description above, is no better.
The real trouble with reality is that there's no background music.