Stack OverflowAnswers you frequently use, yet hate to hear?
[+64] [88] JaredPar
[2008-10-03 20:13:21]
[ polls ]

What's a programming answer you really hate to hear, yet give out yourself on many occasions?

For me, it's got to be "It depends...".

[+317] [2008-10-03 20:23:09] Franci Penov [ACCEPTED]

Works on my machine!

This is just the image from the blog post. Which I stole from Jeff atwood. Credit where credit is due and all that... Ade - Ade Miller
I assumed everybody here knows codinghorror's blog. :-) But you are right, the image is from Jeff's blog post. - Franci Penov
(8) I only find this annoying when it's not used in the following way: "It works on my machine, can you give me any extra info to find out where the bug is?" - Sukasa
(60) I learned to stop saying because my boss enjoyed replying: we're not shipping your machine. - Dinah
[+61] [2008-10-03 20:27:04] Kristopher Johnson

"If you reboot, it should work fine."

oh my, our network engineer always keep on saying that - Rakesh Juyal
I am saying this to ward off tiresome people :-) - nalply
[+59] [2008-10-03 20:21:17] Kristopher Johnson

"Yeah, I've been meaning to fix that."

I'm guilty of this one, multiple times in one day. - R Siefkas
[+46] [2008-10-03 20:28:53] MattGrommes

It fixed itself.

(1) Agreed. It becomes almost impossible to debug something when the symptoms disappear. - Jason Jackson
(2) Especially when you spend all day on the bug, then come in the next day and can't get it sto fail.... Then it shows up 2 weeks later and the process repeats... - Fry
(25) /* magic don't touch */ - fmsf
[+44] [2008-10-03 21:13:28] Sergio Acosta

When asking 'Is it done yet?' for progress report:

"It's practically done. I'm working on some final details, but it is practically complete."

And then find that it is not even code complete, full of bugs, not tested, not documented, not integrated, and probably not even checked into source control.

Of course, on the other side, just asking 'is it done yet?' every couple of days is not the best way of measuring progress.

[+40] [2008-10-09 09:43:20] ilitirit

"That's weird..."

[+39] [2008-10-03 20:20:35] Kristopher Johnson

"That problem isn't in my code. Talk to ..."

(2) I find this answer to be a particular pain point, because I used to work with a developer that said this ALL the time. Unfortunately, he was often wrong ;) - pearcewg
(2) As you noted, the more often a person says this, the less likely it's true. - Michael Burr
[+28] [2008-10-03 20:29:25] Marshall

Are you using Internet Explorer? (for some of our older/contractor developed internal apps)

To be fair, everything kinda is your fault if you're using Internet Explorer. - Triptych
Here's one for you: we have one app that requires FireFox 2, no earlier, no later and yet other apps that require IE. Standards: so many to choose from. - Jesse C. Slicer
[+26] [2008-10-03 22:36:47] Kevin Conner

"I wrote that a long time ago when I didn't know what I was doing."

[+25] [2008-10-03 20:22:14] Fry

"I can't reproduce that error"

(1) Obligatory link - new123456
[+24] [2008-10-03 20:17:32] Optimal Solutions

"It works for me!"

Now with certification: - Michael Burr
I love it! ALL of my code should be certified with that! :-P - Optimal Solutions
Tried that 2nd URL you posted but got "Application Firewall Alert" from I've seen that before - not sure if its my machine or the host's setup.. - Optimal Solutions
What can I say - it works on my machine. ::rimshot:: - Michael Burr
haha! Why did I know you might say that!? :-) - Optimal Solutions
[+21] [2008-10-03 20:18:48] Kristopher Johnson

"It works as designed."

(3) I've gotten this on 4/5 bugs I reported on Microsoft Connect - Robert Fraser
(4) @Robert: Same here. "The program behaves completely differently when optimizations are turned on." " Closed as by design " - BlueRaja - Danny Pflughoeft
Alternative phrasing is "This behaviour is by design". - romkyns
[+19] [2008-10-03 20:27:11] pearcewg

A total classic that a fellow Software Engineer of mine used to say is:

Drum roll please....

Of course it works! But no, I haven't tested it.

Had a coworker turn bright red on one of our testers one day. "IT WORKED UNTIL YOU TESTED IT!" he screamed. - Steven Fisher
[+18] [2008-10-03 21:18:26] Greg

"That's not a problem, that's a feature!"

[+15] [2008-10-03 20:23:10] Robert S.

"We're aware of the problem and it will be fixed in a future patch."

[+15] [2008-10-03 20:22:49] spotcatbug

"It's complicated."

[+14] [2008-10-03 20:36:00] bouvard

"That's going away in a couple years anyway."

Hear it every day at my job.

[+13] [2008-10-03 20:31:29] Kristopher Johnson

"This really needs a complete rewrite."

"This isn't the way I would have done it."

Yeah, the 'I could've done it better attitude' - Sergio Acosta
(3) It's not always that, often there's code that you wrote in a hurry for a limited problem, and has now grown into a monster. "This isnt' the way I'd have done it if I'd thought it was going to stay around" - Mark Baker
what often happens is that the original constraints weren't documented or are no longer valid, and that leads to "WTF was I thinking" moments, when it actually made sense at the time of writing. - Mauricio Scheffer
[+10] [2008-10-03 22:51:10] Brian

This suffers intermittent failures. I have no idea why.

[+10] [2008-10-03 20:20:42] BlueVoid

"Did you read the documentation?" or "Look on Google"

If I hadn't done these already, I wouldn't be asking.

You'd be surprised how many people don't bother to read the doc ;) - Luk
(19) too many times the answer is on the first page of a relevant google search... the thing is, not everybody can search effectively - Mauricio Scheffer
people don't read manuals, its that simple. I mean what percent of the stuff that you have bought, have you ever read the manual for? It not that different with documentation. If its not clear in the code, then its simply not clear at all IMHO. - Robert Gould
Most people would rather ask a dumb question than dig up anything themselves. - Tomalak
Googling for programming questions is often hard, particularly when the obvious search terms are dependant on punctuation which google will ignore - Mark Baker
Sometimes people don't even know that there is a doc. @tomalak: when that happens, I just give them the shortest possible answer and immediately send them a reference to the location in the doc with a "there's some good explanations in there..." - Christopher Mahan
[+9] [2008-10-03 20:30:08] Kristopher Johnson

"Have you installed all the service packs?"

[+9] [2008-10-04 02:54:37] Rich

"Yeah, I haven't had time to finish that yet."

[+8] [2008-10-04 04:24:31] MattMcKnight

"That should be easy" spoken within earshot of a customer upon hearing a new feature request and prior to analysis.

(10) What difference does it make? The salesman's probably already told the customer it'll be easy long before you hear about it. - Mark Baker
[+8] [2008-10-03 20:24:37] Kristopher Johnson

"I can't look at that until you file a bug report."

"I can't start on that until the spec is finalized."

"I can't test until someone sets up a testing environment."

(2) I don't know about you, but when these and like phrases come out of my mouth it is because I was required by management to say them... What a putrid taste it leaves in mouth. - CrashCodes
(8) We force internal folks to file a bug report for a problem, and we like it that way, the tracking alone makes it much easier in the long run. This is particularly the case when you have to hand it off to someone else. - Kris Kumler
Or you don't say that, then you get asked about what you're working on and you say, "No progress on that, but I did fix bug Foo that was bothering tech support all week!" "You weren't assigned to that, it wasn't a priority. Pleas try to focus on Blah." - Zan Lynx
on the bug report: if I know the use is challenged, I'll send them an email detailing what they just complained about, and ask them to confirm. (trail) then I create the bug report for them. If the boss asks why I filed the bug report: I show the email. Users happy. Everybody else ok. - Christopher Mahan
I usually say that so the user bother write something clear about the problem. - e-satis
[+6] [2008-10-03 21:38:58] Mike Brown

It all depends on context. And yes that's also my answer.

[+5] [2008-10-03 23:16:14] Russell Myers

"We don't have time to insert best practice here. We'll tackle this in the next insert sprint, release, iteration here."

As the saying goes, "... you must have time to do it again."

[+5] [2008-10-03 21:06:15] community_owned

Thats the way I was told to program it.

[+4] [2008-10-04 01:00:07] Wedge

Ran into this one just today too:

"I'm not sure how this has ever worked!"

[+3] [2008-10-03 20:33:27] Gripsoft

its not an issue with our software , its an error due to XXX

[+3] [2008-10-03 20:34:22] Mil

"But sales said..." or "You have to use IE."

[+3] [2008-10-03 20:23:24] Gulzar Nazim

Hey!! I am just a consultant. don't have access to the system for debugging.. :)

[+3] [2008-10-03 20:29:15] Gulzar Nazim

Once when I was arguing with a QA guy about a bug, I was surprised by his response..

"You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you...blah blah"

[+3] [2008-10-03 20:18:07] Chris Jester-Young

Focus on clarify and maintainability first, performance later. :-)

I hate to hear it because (even though I recognise the truth of the statement) there's a machine in my brain that just wants to optimise everything. :-)

P.S. I don't know who's been deleting the thread comments, but my point was that I renamed the post to reduce its chances of being closed again. Seriously, JaredPar, I'm doing you a favour. :-)

[+3] [2009-09-14 14:16:56] Timwi

"The behaviour is by design."

[+3] [2010-04-12 22:00:35] Tom

Insert any Yes or No question here


[+2] [2011-08-16 10:33:29] HBublitz

"You didn't use the app the way it was designed to be used... "

In other words: user insufficient ;-)

[+2] [2009-06-28 15:20:37] JoelFan

I'm afraid to touch that code

[+2] [2009-09-11 16:32:55] Lior Kogan

When reporting a bug to the programmer: "Oh... You found it..."

[+2] [2009-09-11 16:49:59] community_owned

"You only have to install X first"

Where X is .NET Framework, Java VM, XNA Runtime, Flashplayer, DirectX Redistributable etc etc.

[+2] [2008-10-03 20:34:23] Kristopher Johnson

"Can you get me a hex dump?"

[+2] [2008-10-03 22:37:21] schonarth

My colleague loves to say "I'm just an intern". Well at least now he's been contracted, he cannot use that one anymore.

[+2] [2008-10-09 08:51:02] djeidot

You have version Your problem was fixed on version

[+2] [2008-10-09 09:29:41] Simon

"You'll have to lay it out with tables"

[+2] [2008-10-09 09:37:28] chryss

"Rebooting the machine fixed the issue."

[+2] [2009-02-21 08:05:54] Schwern

"You have to upgrade. But before you upgrade that you have to upgrade these four other things which need another six things upgraded..."

[+2] [2009-02-21 08:11:26] Rytmis

"I did [something to circumvent a problem] because [some other component didn't work the way I expected] for some reason."

To clarify: it drives me nuts to hear that someone wrote a non-obvious piece of code in response to a problem they didn't even try to understand properly! Even more so when that someone is me. .-)

[+2] [2009-02-21 09:31:18] fmsf

30 more minutes and it should be fixed (over and over again)

(1) I'm guilty of this for sure. "When's that feature going to be available?" Me: "Uhh... I think I should be able to deploy it tomorrow morning." - 2 days later: not done. - SnOrfus
[+2] [2009-03-16 19:49:42] Boydski

That sounds like a classic hardware issue.

[+2] [2009-03-17 13:23:03] Rob Sobers

In response to a reported bug:

"Well, the system wasn't meant to be used that way."

[+2] [2009-03-17 13:28:00] Bob Cross

"I don't know. Try it now."

I get that one any time I make the mistake of calling a helpdesk number.

[+1] [2009-05-07 10:25:12] flybywire

We are still prioritizing that fix

[+1] [2008-10-09 08:59:08] ThatBloke

I didn't ask you to find bugs, I asked you to fix them!

[+1] [2008-10-10 02:25:10] Shawn

Why are you trying to do X ?

[+1] [2008-10-12 21:49:09] Ray Vega

"Go ask on Stack Overflow [1] first and then talk to me"


[+1] [2008-11-11 09:04:46] JXG

"It's not enough to be right. You also have to be smart."

(Can be used for office politics or any other reason :)

[+1] [2009-02-21 07:31:55] Nescio

In response to a team member whose code wont compile...

Try restarting your IDE...

Sadly, this actually works 50% of the time.

(2) Is that IDE Visual Studio? - JCasso
Or maybe Eclipse? - Andrei Rinea
[+1] [2009-02-21 07:59:16] Adam Hawes

"it's not our product, it's your environment"

Unfortunately that much is true so much of the time, particularly when interfacing to MS protocols and then some charming sysadmin installs the latest beta crap and it all stops working.

[+1] [2008-10-04 03:27:24] Graham Lee

"that's a legacy issue" is my particular worst offence.

[+1] [2008-10-09 08:43:48] vaske

Could you restart the program, should works then.

[+1] [2008-10-04 11:51:04] MikeJ

Don't blame me. The guys over in building D changed the spec and didn't think of the consequence it would have.

[+1] [2008-10-03 23:05:39]

"Did you try a full rebuild?"

[+1] [2008-10-03 21:18:57] Erin

Do you have steps to dupe. If not come back when you do.

[+1] [2008-10-03 20:21:21] Maxime Rouiller

"It doesn't compile on my machine" -"But... it works on mine."

[+1] [2009-09-11 16:39:51] Pascal Thivent

Check The Top Ten Lies of Engineers [1] by Guy Kawasaki.


[+1] [2009-09-11 17:05:28] vobject

"There is no such thing as 'clever/beautiful code'."

Programmers have no sense for aesthetics ;-)

[+1] [2009-09-11 17:08:13] Aaron Daniels

On an existing code base...

The person who wrote this should have done it this way, but don't change it.

[0] [2010-04-12 21:53:25] kamasheto

Hands down: "I'm almost done."

[0] [2010-07-13 12:25:07] Praveen S

"It can be fixed"

[0] [2009-09-11 16:44:25] dverespey

"That should take about a day to do."

[0] [2009-09-11 16:45:10] community_owned

"It depends..."

[0] [2009-09-11 16:48:38] djangofan

When they say: "As designed."

[0] [2009-09-11 16:57:46] vobject

"It works as specified."

...where "specified" means "The spec does not specifically mention this".

[0] [2009-09-11 16:39:07] JB King

A few of my classics:

  • "That should still work"
  • "You want to do WHAT?!?"
  • "What do you mean by..."
  • "Could I show you this..."

[0] [2008-10-03 20:18:46] Optimal Solutions

Or, even worse: "jist getter done"

[0] [2008-10-03 23:01:06] Slace

It only happens on environment X.

I hate environmental issues :(

[0] [2008-10-03 20:35:47] MattC

"Ask the Internet"

[0] [2008-10-03 20:37:26] GSerg

"Yes, but..."

[0] [2008-10-03 20:30:07] fiveprime

"That will have to go on a separate work order. It's not in the functional specs."

I always hate to hear this for small and easy to add additions to apps - but I say it too.

[0] [2008-10-03 23:13:42] Lucas Goodwin

"Did you Google It?" Or "Just Google it."

[0] [2008-10-03 23:20:20] rramirez

Bug? That's a feature!

[0] [2008-10-04 03:12:04] Ben Collins

My favorite/worst:


[0] [2008-10-04 16:39:43] community_owned

"I wrote it in Java"

[0] [2008-10-04 11:47:13] MikeJ

The end user changed the defualts in web.config and it broke....

and its sister...

Dont change the default value, if we wanted it changed we would have made THAT the default value....

[0] [2008-10-09 08:58:42] community_owned

Without having to tink about it: "It works on my machine". That drives me crazy !

[0] [2008-10-09 09:08:17] community_owned

It can't be done with that language, you need to use [C++/ASM] instead.

...we work with .Net mostly and am frequently asked to make some piece of legacy hardware work which only has Windows 3.1 drivers or some such.

[0] [2008-10-09 09:10:46] naspinski

That's not a bug, it's a feature...

[0] [2009-02-21 09:36:51] Tim Post

What did Valgrind say?

[0] [2009-02-21 08:41:13] FerranB

"It's not a bug, it's a feature!"