Exhibit 1: A commit message from last year. The commit looks innocent enough. The title says “Fix linter issues”. The commit changes line breaks and white spaces to pass the linter in the GitLab pipeline. So what’s wrong with that?

Screenshot of commit

The problem is my attitude. I’m not the only one who has written a commit like this. The commit message implies that I’ve done some changes to the linter itself. Changes which fix a bug of the linter. For example, a bug which made it crash when it encountered a non-ascii Unicode character. However, this is not the case here. The commit fixes issues with my code. It improves the code style to the point where the linter says it up to the standard. The commit message should have read “Improve code style”.

This kind of commit message makes me look like I have a subconscious aversion of linters. As if the problem was not with my code: I just need to do a few random changes to the code to please this arbitrary linter entity.

I hope this is not the case and my subconscious mind agrees with my conscious mind that linters a very useful tool and an important ingredient to highly maintainable software projects especially when many developers are involved.