This is a short parable I came up while discussing linters, in response to someone asking if I think it’s good to be inconsistent.

Let’s imagine that Hammer Man has a hammer, and he uses it consistently.

Need to drive in a nail? Hit it with the hammer. Need to break a rock? Hit it with the hammer. Need to cut some wood? Smash it apart with the hammer. Need to beat some eggs? Stir them with the hammer. Need to turn off the TV? Throw the hammer at it.

He might look at his neighbour who uses a saw, a whisk, and a TV remote, and think that the neighbour is inconsistent. All these different tools take time to learn, and cost money, and take up space, when a simple hammer could have been used instead. That’s all true.

But the mistake is in assuming that consistency is always good, and inconsistency is always bad. Hammer Man is being over-consistent, which is bad, and the neighbour is being appropriately inconsistent, which is good.