I recently opened an issue in a repository for a package I’m working on to think about potential footguns and how to avoid them. That word “footguns” got me thinking; does using phrases/metaphors for a certain topic in a way lend credibility to it? For example, we use a lot of sports metaphors in the US, especially baseball (swing for the fences, anything related to bases, curveballs, heavy hitter, etc.), and that says something about the place of baseball in our culture.

So with that I asked on mastodon for ideas:

Any replacement for the “foot guns” saying for code?

The ideas were:

  • self-sabotage
  • own-goal
  • power tools can injure
  • hoisted by their own petard
  • fire hazard
  • segfault
  • tripwire
  • landmine
  • stumbling block

The person that suggested own-goal also linked to this question on English Language & Usage stack exchange with some additional ideas, none of which I particularly liked so am not including here.

Of the ideas above I liked stumbling block the most, and was ready to use that moving forward, but then realized/remembered that that phrase is also sort of the translation for the word Stolperstein, physical concrete cubes as memorials for victims of Nazism. I don’t think it makes sense to use stumbling blocks then.

After all that, I’m not sure what to use moving forward. :shrug: