Thanks: the biggest missing feature in coding culture

For coders a little thanks can go a whole lot further

Glitch: Praise Built-in

At Fog Creek the importance of giving thanks is something we’ve made sure we remain mindful of by making it a company value. We’ve built praising others into the way we work, taking the time to show our colleagues, peers, and collaborators that we’re thankful for their efforts.

Praise and gratitude are things we think are sorely lacking in Tech in general, but especially in developer culture and development tools. Some dev platforms have been around for almost a decade but still lack the ability to directly thank contributors and creators.

With Glitch, we made sure giving thanks was one of the first things we built.

Some Much Needed Warm Fuzzies

Encouraging a more positive, more appreciative community, goes to the heart of what we want to achieve with Glitch.

Aww, thanks!

It’s an essential part of our Help feature. The only thing you can do to establish a reputation on Glitch is help people, represented by the thanks you’ve received. And thanks is so important to coding because it can be such an emotionally vulnerable, yet unforgiving pursuit.

Nothing is quite so relentless in demanding absolute perfection as a programming language. Whether compiled or interpreted, at some point, your code is going to get checked. And it’ll spew all kinds of funky error messages, and produce weird behaviors for end users, should you have gotten so much as a period in the wrong place, or some logic muddled.

Working code is the expectation we set for ourselves, which can make anything else feel like a failure.

And programming is personal. The code we write is important to us. It’s how we approach solving a problem, which is an expression of ourselves.

Combine these things together, and it can mean the environment for a programmer is a harsh one. One that starves us of the warm, fuzzy things we need to keep going.

A little thanks goes a long way, and this is especially true in software development because it’s rarely something we remember to do. The prevailing culture doesn’t encourage it, and our tools and processes don’t help.

Take code reviews for instance. They’re very often approached from a critical perspective — set up to find issues, not things to praise. Our tools, like compilers, and development platforms, might warn us of issues and help join us together, but they don’t proactively encourage us to create positive interactions.

We need to do better, and with our thanks feature, we’re hoping we can start to do that. When you’re remixing and creating things on Glitch, you too can give thanks to those who have created things that you’ve found helpful. So that together, we can help make coding that little bit more warm and fuzzy.

One clap, two clap, three clap, forty?

By clapping more or less, you can signal to us which stories really stand out.