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I think the value of knowing arcane language-lore is not in its utility when writing but in its utility when debugging and refactoring (i.e., when reading). Yes, you can look up some obscure construct and figure out what it does fairly quickly. On the other hand, some constructs do not appear to be obscure but can have unexpected features anyway (the map vs. for example, for instance).

Most (if not all) of the places I've worked have somewhere some old scary code written by someone who wasn't very experienced at the time. I want people who can read it and know what it really does, not just what it looks like it's doing or what the comments say it's doing.

Knowing the arcane can also reveal a passion for the subject.

Pretty much every conversation of strange constructions or obfuscated code that I've been in has included someone saying, "but writing that would be a bad idea anyway." If I'm talking to a candidate who doesn't say that, it makes me wonder. If I ever talk to a candidate who says, "I'll have to use that feature," that's almost certainly disqualification.

In reply to Re^2: Evil Interview Questions by kyle
in thread Evil Interview Questions by kyle

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