Ideology, while being somewhat of an elusive concept, can be defined as the set of both explicit and implicit beliefs held by an individual or groups of individuals. While often discussed within the scope of politics, cultural history or social cognition, it can also be generalized to the beliefs held by software programmers. Debates about what is the best approach, framework tool or language paradigm to solve a given problem are pervasive in modern software development. One such example that comes to mind is a recent discussion on HackerNews of the relative merits of Go vs. Scala. Flame wars over disputed PR occur periodically in many open source projects and within language communities. The outcome can be oftentimes dictated by whomever possesses the better persuasion tactics, not necessarily the one who is “correct”. This talk takes its inspiration from the work of Slavoj Žižek, a contemporary philosopher who analysed the concept of ideology in some of his works and notably in the thought-provoking documentary film "The Pervert’s Guide to Ideology". I will explore which strategies can be used to go beyond ideology-based or biased thought patterns, going beyond our personal convictions and relying on hard data instead.
Silvia Moura Pina is a software engineer working primarily with Scala. She has studied computer science and psychology and she’s always interested in bringing up topics that intertwine the two fields.