this post was submitted on 18 May 2024
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https://arxiv.org/abs/2404.10002

Abstract (emphasis mine):

The concept of a 'Ballmer Peak' was first proposed in 2007, postulating that there exists a very specific blood alcohol content which confers superhuman programming ability. More generally, there is a commonly held belief among software engineers that coding is easier and more productive after a few drinks. Using the industry standard for assessment of coding ability, we conducted a search for such a peak and more generally investigated the effect of different amounts of alcohol on performance. We conclusively refute the existence of a specific peak with large magnitude, but with p < 0.001 find that there was a significant positive effect to a low amount of alcohol - slightly less than two drinks - on programming ability.

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[–] [email protected] 64 points 1 month ago (5 children)
[–] [email protected] 55 points 1 month ago

The concept of a 'Ballmer Peak' was first proposed in 2007

where do you thnk it was proposed?

[–] [email protected] 39 points 1 month ago

I'd argue that this is for the XKCD, not the other way around.

[–] [email protected] 15 points 1 month ago* (last edited 1 month ago) (1 children)
[–] [email protected] 4 points 1 month ago (2 children)
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[–] [email protected] 8 points 1 month ago

Posted Oct. 1 2007.

"first proposed in 2007"

I wonder if Randall has seen this?

[–] [email protected] 7 points 1 month ago

Lol that is Fig 1. In the paper :)

[–] [email protected] 35 points 1 month ago (1 children)

The Inebriati strike again.

[–] [email protected] 30 points 1 month ago (2 children)

I've found that the best way to utilize alcohol when programming is to code sober and comment drunk. It's a wonderful way to make commenting both fun to write and to read later.

I have tried coding under the influence, but I can't do it. Even small amounts of alcohol makes it really hard to do anything complex. But if it works for you, good on ya.

[–] [email protected] 9 points 1 month ago

Also works for customer service. Have a ridiculously minor issue that really doesn't matter but still irks a small part of you and you're too much of a wimp to speak up about? Check your sent folder in the morning after a night of drinking.

Protip: [email protected].

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[–] [email protected] 26 points 1 month ago (1 children)
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[–] [email protected] 23 points 1 month ago* (last edited 1 month ago) (1 children)

Knew a guy in university that looked like a young Prince Charles that would pop half a tab of LSD whenever he ran into an issue he couldn't solve. Somehow that worked.

This was in the late 90s early 00s, well before Randall made the comic about The Ballmer Peak

[–] [email protected] 10 points 1 month ago* (last edited 1 month ago) (1 children)

Microdosing LSD is a common thing nowadays in the tech world. It definitely increases your creativity and mental energy, so it makes sense. Your friend was probably ahead of the curve. I'm not sure if the idea was as popular back then.

[–] [email protected] 9 points 1 month ago (2 children)

The rest of use were tending towards macro dosing. He may have known about it, but he didn't really talk about it that much. Certainly wasn't encouraging other to try it.

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[–] [email protected] 19 points 1 month ago (1 children)

I once worked in IT for an MSP that kept beer on tap in the office for this exact reason. Techs were encouraged to have a beer or two when stumped on an issue. It worked surprisingly well.

This did result in a few years of struggling with alcohol issues tho.

[–] [email protected] 19 points 1 month ago

#1544 - I can no longer code without drinking at least 3 glasses of beer, am I becoming an alcoholic? - [Duplicate] [Won't fix]

[–] [email protected] 17 points 1 month ago (5 children)

I absolutely know this is case with my writing. Really helps you enter a flow state. Not to be trifled with, Mitchell and Webb did a sketch on it actually and they also went with "just under two drinks".

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[–] [email protected] 16 points 1 month ago (4 children)
[–] [email protected] 6 points 1 month ago

Welcome to the Knights Tipplar.

[–] [email protected] 4 points 1 month ago

I came to post this, but I’m happier to see that it’s already here!

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[–] [email protected] 15 points 1 month ago (1 children)

The idea that drinking helps has been around a lot longer than 2007. Since basically the discovery of alcohol. Yes, it can help with nerves a little bit, but none of your skills are improved, and most are impaired.

[–] [email protected] 9 points 1 month ago

Maybe it depends upon the person.
I have difficulty programming properly while listening to music so maybe I'd find it hard to do so with alcohol too.

In my case, it's probably because I tend to keep as much of the context as possible into my current memory, which gets reduced if I'm distracted by sounds (whether music or noise). The ADHD Relief music tracks tend to work well though, since they aren't very distracting and help get rid of other peoples' noise.

[–] [email protected] 15 points 1 month ago

Alcohol is considered a performance-enhancing drug in darts.

For programming, it works the same way as playing music: your focus narrows. Your brain can't do other stuff, either because it's busy moving your neck in time with Meshuggah, or because it's been lightly poisoned by delicious ethanol.

[–] [email protected] 8 points 1 month ago (5 children)

In my experience I can write more code after a few drinks. However I usually find that the code is of low quality when I check it the next day…

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[–] [email protected] 8 points 1 month ago

This also works for pool. Don't ask me how I know.

[–] [email protected] 7 points 1 month ago

I have written brilliant code while drunk that I didn't understand the next day. I doubt I could have even solved the problem sober.

[–] [email protected] 7 points 1 month ago (1 children)

I cannot code unless sober from all stimulants except coffee.

[–] [email protected] 14 points 1 month ago (1 children)

Alcohol is not a stimulant.

[–] [email protected] 3 points 1 month ago (1 children)

Fine, depressant or stimulant.

[–] [email protected] 6 points 1 month ago

Depressant or stimulant (except that one stimulant)

[–] [email protected] 6 points 1 month ago (1 children)

This applies to a lot of physical activities as well. I have a friend who's a really good bowler, and every one of his 300 games (perfect score for you non-bowlers) has been when he's had exactly 2 drinks. He can't do it with less because he gets too nervous - and more means he gets too sloppy and loses his edge.

We joke and call beer "bowling juice".

[–] [email protected] 5 points 1 month ago

I've also found another peak somewhere after 6, I lost count. I couldn't stand straight but I went like 34 kills to 6 deaths in a vr shooter.

[–] [email protected] 6 points 1 month ago (9 children)

I think this may be true for many things.

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[–] [email protected] 6 points 1 month ago

Surely that's work worthy of an IG Nobel prize?

[–] [email protected] 5 points 1 month ago (3 children)

The Unity office in Bellevue used to have beer on tap in the cafeteria. Idk if it still does what with all the fuckery going on... Maybe one day I'll actually go into the office and I can report back

[–] [email protected] 3 points 1 month ago

If you walk around Microsoft's office buildings, you'll see several people's personal offices with full bars in them.

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[–] [email protected] 3 points 1 month ago* (last edited 1 month ago) (2 children)

I tried coding while 420 once. Could not think straight.

[–] [email protected] 4 points 1 month ago (1 children)

I can imagine being that old would make it difficult to think straight, tbh. What's your secret?

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[–] [email protected] 4 points 1 month ago

Use your time travel abilities more wisely friend.

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