Note: Lint or Keep Quiet

Feb 20, 2023

Here is a general rule I like to follow, and encourage others to follow, in code review in order to reduce bike-shedding:

During code review, you may not give feedback that could be encoded as a lint rule. If you don’t care enough about the issue to enable/write the lint rule, it’s not fair to ask the author to care enough to update their code.

Advantages of writing your feedback as a lint rule:

  • Ensures that nobody — including you — will ever have to manually write this feedback again

  • Highlights the issue in the author’s editor as soon as they write it, shortening the feedback loop

  • Ensures that the feedback is applied uniformly, including on pull requests reviewed by others and preexisting code

  • Prevents bike-shedding code conventions on unrelated pull requests. If the feedback is contentious, the right place for that discussion is the issue/PR about the lint rule

  • May allow the issue to be automatically fixable