The other day I was implementing a relatively simple feature in one of Jellyvision’s products: an FAQ display with a hideable answer. The answer becomes visible when the user clicks a “show” button, which can also hide the answer if clicked again. I chose to take a different approach to toggling the different UI elements in order to set up related pull requests to follow, but at first glance the mismatched approaches seemed peculiar. When it came time to put my feature up for review, one of our most senior engineers, Dan, made this comment:

Why do we explicitly mix manipulating the class with calls to show and hide?

A fair question. But notice the third word: we. In the context of a direct critique, it completely changes the tone of the question or comment! Because of Dan’s word choice, I don’t feel that I need to defend myself or my coding choices, but rather help to clarify something we are collaboratively trying to achieve together. It’s pretty simple to change “you” to “we” for a significant benefit.

My takeaway from this is to make word choices in PRs that don’t put someone on the spot, and instead instill a sense of camaraderie among my teammates. It makes a big difference when we’re in it together.