Three Bug Stories

Short Form


Learn to write better code by hearing interesting ways that code has gone wrong!


Learn to write better code by hearing interesting ways that code has gone wrong!

In this session, I’ll tell the stories of three of the most interesting bugs I’ve encountered in my past 15 years as a programmer. For each one, I’ll share as much detail as possible, including:

  • How we found the bug.
  • How we discovered what caused it.
  • False steps and wrong guesses on the way.
  • How we fixed the bug.
  • What we did to ensure it wouldn’t happen again (or what we could have done).

In the process, you’ll learn some techniques for collecting and sharing your own bug stories, as well as for making sure they all have happy endings.

Why tell bug stories?

We like to pretend that software engineering is all about understanding a few general principles, but many of the most interesting problems we encounter are shaped by their most minute details. By seeing the details that made a difference in past situations, we can learn to be mindful of the ones that might matter in the future. Also, hearing about gnarly bugs is a lot of fun!


debugging, testing, stories

Speaking experience

I've talked about Haskell at Open Source Bridge 2014, about Pair Programming at the Agile Conference (2010 and 2012) and the Agile Games conference, and about a handful of different topics at the Boston Software Craftsmanship meetup.


  • Biography

    Moss lives in Boston, MA, where he works for Luminoso as a Python developer. His particular passion is working to make code so readable it invites people to use and change it. He has a growing interest in teaching development skills, and in finding ways to make the art of programming more inviting and accessible to newcomers.