Robert Arkwright Makes websites the old-fashioned way, with courage and Vim. Enjoyer of React and Redux. Vegan. He/him. Jun. 02, 2018 1 min read

Can we start a trend?

In every code review, make sure to say at least one nice thing about the person's work. People tend to provide almost exclusively criticism, because praise feels awkward to deliver. But it becomes easy with practice!

A couple of tips for tricky situations.

Sometimes you can't identify a piece of code that feels worthy of praise. If this happens, compliment the approach, or the effort, or the problem being solved.

"So glad somebody is taking care of this!"

You can praise entire files:

"Thanks for remembering to write tests!"

Make sure to read your compliment using different tones, to check for sarcasm. The above can sound sarcastic. Here's my second attempt:

"Thanks for adding tests for this! πŸ˜€πŸ₯‡"

Text does not need to lack tone, but emoji make it easier. Liberal use of emoji is now a professional requirement. The days of perfect, typewritten, bureaucratic communications are over. Being extremely liberal with the cheer lets people know you're a human who cares! 🎢🎷

The exclamation mark is your friend.

The exclamation mark is your friend!

The exclamation mark is your friend!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

It can take time to develop an eye for small details to praise. It helps to focus on things we might ordinarily take for granted. Praise isn't just for mind blowingly innovative code.

"Great description on this PR! Saved me a bunch of time! πŸ†β±"

Consistent, frequent positive feedback is necessary for lifting people's spirits, fighting imposter syndrome, and making people feel comfortable and included. Just think of how you feel when somebody tells you that you did a great job. Awesome, right? πŸš€πŸŽ‰πŸ˜€


You can follow Robert Arkwright.

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