Stop Using Metaphors

I have been getting frustrated recently by the overuse of metaphors to describe concepts. I admit that in each context the concepts being portrayed are complex and require some gentle introduction. Recent articles and weblog entries by Bruce Tate, for example, are very entertaining and the metaphors used liberally are both an enabler for further discussion on the technical topic and a discussion point in themselves. Some metaphors can be extreemly useful, like Martin Fowler's Strangler Application, which makes use of a metaphor to introduce a difficult to describe concept.

But in general I read the latest books and articles and I find the metaphors distracting, incomplete, inaccurate and usually unsubstantiated in the remaining text. I would rather plough through a page of mathematical equations than try and make sense of a number of strange allusions. Most of the time it seems like the metaphors are added to pad out an article, disguise the lack of substance or even make it famous through a sensational reference.

See Stop Using Metaphors.

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