Developers should look forward to code reviews, not dread them

Don’t be a jerk

Developers need to submit code free of preventable mistakes

  • A properly configured linter, supplemented with custom rules if necessary
  • An agreed upon style guide. Defer to an established standard like Google, AirBnb, Sun/Oracle to avoid battles of opinions
  • A common formatting configuration for IDEs (like editorconfig)
  • An automated code formatter using a git hook (like husky/lint-stage/prettier)
  • Documentation for known anti patterns
  • Documentation detailing what to look for in a code review. (e.g: scope, correctness, design and style, in that order. This is from CS50)
  • Unit tests with adequate coverage

Reviewers should be helpful and meaningful

  • In an international context, use simple global English, free of idioms and cultural references.
  • When possible, reference official documentation and established best practices.
  • Emojis are useful to convey context in the absence of body language.
  • Comments should be meaningful. I once left a comment that was just one line of code in a pull request. This degenerated in a full blown debate on whether to use map or reduce. After about half a dozen comments from my team mates, I ended the conversation by explaining that the point of my comment was to show the developer that their for loop was not necessary and could be replaced by a call to an Array method. I obviously failed to make my point. My comment should have been “You can shorten this code by using reduce” with a link to the MDN documentation.
  • Comments are not meant to be conversations. Use your phone/slack/corporate instant messenger/email. If you’re in the same office, walk over to that person’s desk. Value human interactions.
  • Remember the golden rule, don’t be a jerk, don’t be condescending, don’t be pedantic and don’t be patronizing.
  • Learn how to give and receive feedback: assume positive intent, be clear, be helpful, think about a time where you may have given/received similar feedback, etc…
  • Comments can be used to give praise!




Previously Paris and Geneva, currently New York. Can also be found at

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Arnaud Dostes

Arnaud Dostes

Previously Paris and Geneva, currently New York. Can also be found at

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