Do you have a Rubber Duck?

Just heard about this thing about coders having rubber ducks. Do you have one and does it help? Or maybe you use something different - what is it?

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I have one, I never talked to it.

The point is not to talk to a rubber duck, it’s to explain the code you are working through in as much details as possible, as often while you try to explain what’s going on and what’s going wrong in a way that someone else can understand, what you have tried and why it doesn’t work, you will get to the solution anyway.

A guide like this can help in writing through a question in such a way


Just thought it a bit weird speaking to a rubber duck but you explained it well. I guess its just a symbolic reminder of what you have to do when stuck. The article is helpful. Thank you.

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For some people it works talking out loud to work through a problem, those may actually talk with their rubber duck or other desk guest, for others it doesn’t :woman_shrugging:


I don’t have a rubber duck, but I do have a plushie of an astronaut (specifically a Jebediah Kerman plush) I sometimes explain my issues to. His grinning face makes the situation much more lighthearted, which is usually needed after yelling at my monitor for a while ;D

Alternatively I sometimes write down notes to my future self to explain what I’m stack at just as a “refresher”, along with the possibility of actually stopping what I’m doing and coming back to it later and leaving the notes as a “starting point”.

The mind doesn’t work in a “straight line” of thought, so its easy to “get lost” in something and miss out on other avenues to success. Its less a “train of thought” and more a web of ideas. Sometimes you gotta get “off the train” and back-track or just come at it at a different angle. Explaining the problem to someone, or something, can help get you off that “train”.


Kinda like the idea that you write notes to your future self, will probably borrow that one, n mayb if I come across a rubber duck I will just get one for the fun of it - or maybe something different, get me in the bandwagon.

I think out loud so that I can hear what I’m thinking with my ears. That way, I’m using more of my senses. In my view, speaking to a thing is redirecting information away from myself towards an unresponsive object that cannot give feedback, rather than towards myself.
I find that asking myself a question gets more reaction than asking a thing that cannot answer. At least if you talk to a pet :cat2::parrot::dog2:‍, you can get its ears to twitch.

Yes, something different. Why copy & paste others’ life choices?

I have a literal rubber duck that was a gift when I got my first “real, grown-up” programming job. I fiddle with it while I’m thinking, but I don’t think I’ve ever actually talked to it. At my work though, when someone gets stuck and asks for help it’s pretty common for people to volunteer to “rubber duck for you” - just giving you a real human to talk through the problem with because it can help get you unblocked.


Yeah, developers often get these in swag. I don’t actually talk to a rubber duck, but the idea of imagining explaining a problem to someone, that is very useful. If you want to focus that on a rubber ducky, go for it. I actually do like having one around because it reminds me to stop and think things through.

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