Foul-mouthed developers: Which community curses most?

JAXenter Editorial Team
Curse word image via Shutterstock

It’s no secret that programmers like to curse. But which kind of developer curses most? Java-heads? C++ developers? PHP programmers? A study on expletives in programming circles has delivered some interesting results.

Cowboy: Do you have to use so many cuss words?
The Dude: The f**k you talking about?

– The Big Lebowski

It’s a well-know fact that some individuals like to swear more than others. And developers are no different. Bad language and programming languages go hand in hand. But have you ever wondered which one is most prone to expletives?

An analysis of the comments left by programmers on social news site Reddit shows some amusing stereotypes.

Bad programmer language

Tobias Hermann started noticing trends in the way certain programmers speak about each other. He also began paying attention to the tone that was used. He decided to use PRAW and SQLite to collect language written on subreddits and gather data to see if his observation was accurate, a typical stereotype or if it was a personal exaggeration.

SEE ALSO: YOLO-driven development (and other hilarious methodologies)

The results returned some interesting findings. For example, PHP developers seem to be particularly quick to drop expletives into comments, whereas expressions of satisfaction and content are mostly from the Clojure community.
  • Unsurprisingly, the results showed that the biggest programming languages such as Java, JavaScript, C++, Python and PHP were mentioned the most on Reddit.

  • Outside the Java community, Python users speak the most about Java.

  • Scala and Java programmers mention each other equally, as with Java and JavaScript.

  • C# programmers regularly speak about Java, JavaScript, SQL and Python.

  • PHP users often focus on Python, JavaScript and Ruby.

  • C++ Developers seem relatively self sufficient and are the least likely to mention another language but are referenced by all most all other groups.

Reddit commentary on programming languages. Source: Github

There is also an interactive version with Tobias Hermann, where some of the  interactions are made clearer.

Programming language etiquette

In the next experiment words such as “theory”, “hardware”, “awesome”, “cool” and “helpful” as well as curse words such as “crap” and “hate” were analysed.

The results were as follows:

  • C programmers speak mostly about hardware, followed by C++, Lisp, Objective-C and Rust.

  • Expressions of content and satisfaction are most popular with the Clojure Community, followed by Lisp, Scala, Ruby and JavaScript. C#, Java and PHP arrived in last place in this category.

  • To our surprise, PHP users curse the most out of all developers. Java and Javascript users follow close behind, but are still nowhere near as foul-mouthed as those profane PHP developers.

Curse words on Reddit. Source: Github


Is there something in the nature of PHP (or JavaScript and Java) that aggrevates developers? We’ll leave further interpretation of the results up to you.

SEE ALSO: Do trolls run the show at Stack Overflow?

But beware, before you make a rash decision and brand PHP programmers as code bullies, take a look at the GitHub-Commits from back in 2011. Back then, PHP and Python users were depicted as the most civilised and mannerly of all users!

Number of curses on GitHub. Source: Andrew Vos

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