I generally find that talk of “best practices” generally comes from the timid, the clueless, or the management. :-D
As you observe, it very quickly devolves into a quest for affirmation by those who wish to pontificate for one reason or another. If you launch an appeal to “best practices,” presto! ... instant crowd. Nobody really understands what you are saying (nor do you), but at least they are all nodding in agreement because all those “experts” ... they published a book, didn't they? ... said it first.
I think that there definitely are “practices” that consistently show themselves to be fruitful among experienced practitioners, and that there are other practices that clearly don't, but the truly experienced discuss them. Discussions and quarrels of that sort occur here every day. But the practitioners don't “list them and name them and sit around endlessly disussing the list.” The talk among experienced practitioners amounts to what an old-time engineer would call “kinks&rdquo: practical bits of immediately-useful knowledge, passed along around the cracker barrel.
And since we seem to be baring our “pet peeves” here ...
If I do not again hear the word “patterns,” I will be a happy boy. And yet, I sorely wish that I myself had written such an attractive but vacuous book of truisms and sophistry. If I had done so, I probably would not have any further need to write computer-software. Instead, I would instead regularly walk up to podiums in hotel ballrooms while a roomful of upper-managers applauded. I would earn my bountiful living by saying nothing-at-all using just the right words.
(I would not have given any of them anything of value with which to cope with their application-deployment problems; I would only have given them a lexicon by which to name them. But I would be wealthy nonetheless, because I knew they couldn't tell the difference.)
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