The code and the territory

Raluca Barett

I’m going to be brief: I really don’t know what makes binary digits so different from words. In publishing houses or any publishing environment, all over the world, manuscripts are submitted and total strangers pore over somebody else’s words, changing a lot more stuff than commas.

Sometimes a battle of egos starts straight away, at other times it is all muted and slyness is employed to get round a paragraph that needs to go or be rewritten. Every now and then, there is a case of rejection and dejection.

The final product has two names on it: a big-letter one, the author’s, and a more modest one, the editor’s. It is very true that in this day and age, with the self-publishing industry in full swing, texts will be brought to light and actually they should have stayed buried, and very very deep. That’s not the point.

Self-publishing, good or bad, involves authorship and public acknowledgement. So there must be something irksome in the anonymity that goes with writing code instead of words. One creates a new world, big, small, lays the foundation, erects the walls, polishes the silver, and then disappears behind the home page. Not very good for the soul, I wouldsay.

There have been some attempts at making code authorship more visible, but as a rule, lack of recognition seems to have an effect on relationships among coders. Being territorial is a must. Tempers flare at the slightest whiff of criticism. It’s a minefield. Does it have to be this way?

I have no idea. I am not a coder. I like to think though that as virtual worlds start populating every nook and cranny that’s not taken by the physical world, words and binary digits will be treated the same way. They are just vehicles for expression. The territory is the same.


Originally published at raluca.xyz on March 21, 2016.

Raluca Barett

Written by

Revived an old blog as writing practice: lifebyathousandcuts.com. @nonautemmemoria on Twitter.

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