This Is Why You Shouldn't Interrupt a Programmer

Programmer, Interrupted

Since @kevin_rudds_cat suggested it, I also made a two-column A4 sized PDF version.

Update: So after being retweeted several hundred times and being posted to Reddit, HN, the DailyWTF and so on, my poor website melted down a little. So I apologise to anyone whose carefully crafted comment was eaten by a 503 error page. If you want to share the image some more and this site's still being flaky, feel free to link directly to this tweet or any other mirrored copy of it (same goes for the two-column PDF).


Lukas Eder's picture

THIS! This is the best rendition I've ever seen of what it feels like. Awesome drawing :-)

Robin's picture

Uh, yeah... maybe use a better example than a single-character comparison with a resulting single-command body, like a case of serious programming logic that actually takes some time to get in and out of when being disturbed.

Lukas Eder's picture

Meanwhile, everyone else coming here from HN enjoyed the subtle humour in this strip. But not Robin, the troll.

Fortyseven's picture

Wow, you can almost smell that wet blanket aroma!

Slackergrrl's picture

Haha hahaha. Awesome.

JohnDoe's picture

The point is to show that a simple piece of code can lead to a whole complicated mess of thoughts. It's also easier for non-programmers to understand, which is basically who this comic is mainly for.

andy's picture

Uh, yeah... maybe use an avatar that doesn't look like a big black cock.

Ben's picture

The penis is purple, not black. Ever been checked for colorblindness?

Bryan's picture

No it's not; it's transparent with a purple outline.

rocketshipman's picture

Its not even a penis. Its a rocket ship duh

penishspaceshuttle's picture

^ Says rocketship man.
Oooh, got fl4m3d im leet. gellis much?

Patrick's picture

The brown is rgb(0x44,0x40,0x36), and the yellow is rgb(0xcd,0xda,0x48). There's no purple. Really, there's two browns.

U_Mad_BRO's picture

LOL!! Thanks a lot! Just made me smile for the first time this year! Amazing!!


That's sad bro...

Blake Petersen's picture

You're so smart, I bet you make friends wherever you go. I am beyond jealous...

Blake Petersen's picture

Replied to Robin, not sure why it's indented for Andy...

Sam's picture

That's the whole point: That even a single, innocuous line can have far reaching and intricate implications. I would make a derogatory comment about your experience not enlightening you that some of the most basic changes require major insight in complex systems, but you've done it for me :(

richard's picture

I refuse to take 1 bit of advice from some 2-bit troll whose avatar resembles an 8-bit cock

Scott's picture

"8-bit cock" ftw. I want the tshirt.

Spanky Quigm,an's picture

Best response of all. You win.

Spanky Quigm,an's picture

That was supposed to be a reply to Richard's original comment, not the t-shirt response. Although I agree, I'd probably buy the t-shirt as well!

Jason Gordon's picture

Robin, if this is a joke, it's one of the funniest I've seen. This thread is genius, T-shirt worthy. Hope for ur sake it was a joke!

Robert Sullivan's picture

serious programming logic

Yadayadayada - reminds me of a friend's kid brother who told his mom he was a real surfer and
that real surfers don't eat vegetables.

Anyway, I'm working on search logic, parsing, (not Google, but you get the idea), and this example resonated with me 100%. Awesome, thanks!

Craig's picture

The first stick figure should be wearing headphones. It rarely works, but it's the universal programmer sign for "I'm thinking right now."

Coleman's picture

"it rarely works" and "universal" are orthogonal concepts.

Mark's picture

Coders often put on headphones to block out the sound from all the other people in the shared office space. To think and not be distracted.

People ignore this, and interrupt them (us) anyway with useless conversation.

It's universal - it rarely works.

dave's picture

Yep. One time someone came in and quietly stood by my desk until I noticed him. Literally just stood there. I ignored him for a little bit hoping he'd think "oh, Dave's in the zone" but no dice. After pausing my music, removing the headphones, and asking what I could do for him (without sounding as annoyed as I felt), he asked if I got the ticket for a report request he sent moments before getting up to walk to my desk on his way to the break room. A lot of tongue biting was had that day. The sales/marketing staff always seemed to be worse than managers and their impromptu "lightning session status meeting" before they punch out 6 hours into the work day.

JB's picture

You can augment the headphones with this to improve the disturbance ratio.

Swanand's picture

Dude, I can totally relate.

Bouillon Logic's picture

I've actually had headphones on, chat disabled, and a sign on my desk saying "No Interruptions Please" and still had some clown interrupt just to ask how it's going.

Javascript Jedi's picture

I'm sure it's your own fault for being too friendly when you are not busy

The Bear's picture

That's why I'm known by my avatar's name around the office here.

MadHattr's picture

The link for the PDF is broken. And I need this to show my boss what he's doing every time he pops in for an hourly 'status update'. NEED.

Jason Heeris's picture

I updated the PDF link to point to Ubuntu One for now, since my webserver seems to be partially melting down...

Brett Warner's picture

This is missing the final slides where you don't even remember why you were looking at the problem in the first place. Then reflexively check your email and get sucked away into other peoples problems for the rest of the day, only to remember the needed fix 5 minutes before you're going to leave.

alain57's picture

hum alzheimer and programming is not a good idea you know...
if after one interruption you lost focus ok
but if you lost the reason ..... then it is really bad

Michael's picture

I find this happens to me when I'm trying to solve a problem in Tab #7, but I was in Tab #2 looking for what a particular function did when I get interrupted. By the time I go back to my code, I can't remember for the life of me what Tab #2 had to do with anything.

Steve's picture

Your PDF appears to not be working...

The requested page "/sites/default/files/ProgrammerInterrupted.pdf" could not be found.

Jason Heeris's picture

I updated the PDF link to point to Ubuntu One for now, since my webserver seems to be partially melting down...

Carol's picture

Oh yes!!! Perfection!!!

Bob Spline's picture

This is also unfortunately very true for Infrastructure and network engineers. Oof. HATE being interrupted when debugging network anomalies, or working out optimization on new hardware, for new use cases. It has the same effect. POOF

The Bear's picture

and sysadmins, etc. And the interuption is always, "So, how long till we're back up" or something similar.

FYI: the answer is "It'll be back up when it's back up!"

ChickPea's picture

I've used: "The back-up time is currently slipping at 60 seconds per minute, due to PICNIC interrupts."

Phaygo's picture

Holy damn, never have I seen a truer representation of how disruptive it is to interrupt a programmer, awesome! There have been studies that show it takes ~15 minutes to begin to be as productive as you were before being interrupted.


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