The Worst Comments

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This editorial was originally published on Mar 13, 2015. It is being republished as Steve is on vacation.

I was watching a presentation recently on refactoring C# code and was amazed by some of the comments that the speakers showed in the code. The example was a real application that had been obfuscated and simplified a bit for the talk. The comments, however, had only been changed when they might disclose a specific person or company. The speakers pointed out a few of those changes, but also noted that most of the comments were verbatim from the original code.

Comments like "Dave changed this from the old way"  or "Bug 445: as per the operations group" were good examples of bad comments. These items don't really help a developer understand the code. The comments in application code should be there to add to the code itself, helping someone understand a reason for the code, not an obscure reference or an obvious statement ("this code adds two balances together).

With that in mind, I'm sure many of you have come across some comments in code that have evoked a wide range of emotions. I'm sure you've been frustrated, annoyed, or something else. Perhaps even from your own comments. With that in mind...

What are the worst comments you have found in code?

I hope you don't have examples in your current application, but perhaps you do. Perhaps you have even committed your own code recently without really taking the time to accurately describe the change. Maybe you want to go look in your VCS and see what you've entered lately.

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