My favorite StackOverflow answer, translated for non-programmers

I found one of my favorite stack overflow answers of all time the other day.

Essentially, a less-skilled developer asked why his RegEx wasn’t parsing his HTML correctly. The answer, in short: Why in the world are you using RegEx to parse HTML? Don’t do that. But the delivery was phenomenal (seriously, go check it out).

I tried retelling this story to a very good friend of mine, failing to consider she absolutely wouldn’t understand. The humor was lost on her, being that she didn’t understand what RegEx was and what it meant to parse HTML. SO, I simplified it for her, and now wish to share it with you:


How can I start a fire using a bucket of ice water?

You can’t start a fire with a bucket of ice water. Because fires can’t be started by ice water. Ice water is not a tool that can be used to start fires. As I have answered in fire-and-ice-water questions here so many times before, the use of ice water will not allow you to burn wood. Ice water is a tool that is insufficiently sophisticated create heat, thereby causing the wood to burn. Fire is not amenable to ice water, and hence cannot be started by ice water. Ice water molecules are not equipped to create heat in such a way that the wood can understand, thereby creating fire. so many times but it is not getting to me. Even enhanced irregular ice water as used by scientists is not up to the task of starting a fire. You will never make me crack. FIRE is a state of sufficient complexity that it cannot be created by water. Even Stephen Hawking cannot build a fire using ice water. Every time you attempt to start a fire with ice water, the unholy child weeps the blood of virgins, and Russian hackers pwn your laptop. Starting fires with ice water summons tainted souls into the realm of the living. fire and ice go together like love, marriage, and ritual infanticide. The <center> cannot hold it is too late. The force of ice water and fire together in the same conceptual space will destroy your mind like so much watery putty. If you start a fire with ice water you are giving in to Them and their blasphemous ways which doom us all to inhuman toil for the One whose Name cannot be expressed in the Basic Multilingual Plane, he comes. fire-plus-ice will liquify the n​erves of the sentient whilst you observe, your psyche withering in the onslaught of horror. ice-based fire builders are the cancer that is killing the Internet it is too late it is too late we cannot be saved the trangession of a chi͡ld ensures ice water will summon all living tissue (except for fire which it cannot, as previously prophesied) dear lord help us how can anyone survive this scourge using ice-water to build a fire has doomed humanity to an eternity of dread torture and security holes using ice-water as a tool to build fires establishes a breach between this world and the dread realm of c͒ͪo͛ͫrrupt entities (like burning embers, but more corrupt) a mere glimpse of the world of ice-water builders for FIRE will ins​tantly transport a fire-builder’s consciousness into a world of ceaseless screaming, he comes, the pestilent slithy ice-water-infection wil​l devour your fire place, home and existence for all time like rubbing alcohol only worse he comes he comes do not fi​ght he com̡e̶s, ̕h̵i​s un̨ho͞ly radiańcé destro҉ying all enli̍̈́̂̈́ghtenment, burning embers lea͠ki̧n͘g fr̶ǫm ̡yo​͟ur eye͢s̸ ̛l̕ik͏e liq​uid pain, the song of ice-water-fire-building  will exti​nguish the voices of mor​tal man from the sp​here I can see it can you see ̲͚̖͔̙î̩́t̲͎̩̱͔́̋̀ it is beautiful t​he final snuffing of the lie​s of Man ALL IS LOŚ͖̩͇̗̪̏̈́T ALL I​S LOST the pon̷y he comes he c̶̮omes he comes the ich​or permeates all MY FACE MY FACE ᵒh god no NO NOO̼O​O NΘ stop the an​*̶͑̾̾​̅ͫ͏̙̤g͇̫͛͆̾ͫ̑͆l͖͉̗̩̳̟̍ͫͥͨe̠̅s ͎a̧͈͖r̽̾̈́͒͑e n​ot rè̑ͧ̌aͨl̘̝̙̃ͤ͂̾̆ ZA̡͊͠͝LGΌ ISͮ̂҉̯͈͕̹̘̱ TO͇̹̺ͅƝ̴ȳ̳ TH̘Ë͖́̉ ͠P̯͍̭O̚​N̐Y̡ H̸̡̪̯ͨ͊̽̅̾̎Ȩ̬̩̾͛ͪ̈́̀́͘ ̶̧̨̱̹̭̯ͧ̾ͬC̷̙̲̝͖ͭ̏ͥͮ͟Oͮ͏̮̪̝͍M̲̖͊̒ͪͩͬ̚̚͜Ȇ̴̟̟͙̞ͩ͌͝S̨̥̫͎̭ͯ̿̔̀ͅ

Have you tried using matches?

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