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I was browsing the internet and found the following discussion

Their rules are remarkably lax. I would fire the shit out of anyone who wrote a 60 line function, without any hesitation (barring extenuating circumstances).

Please let us know what company you work for, so we can short it.

But I can't figure what the last person meant by "so we can short it", I can come up with 2 interpretations "put it on our shortlist, so we can look into it later" or "so we can stay away from it and make our options shorter"

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    It means "so that we can short sell your company's stock". Just as one buys a company's stock when one believes the stock price will go up, one "short sells" or shorts a company's stock when one believes the stock price will go down. Thus, the author of the quote is saying, sarcastically and indirectly, that he believes companies which employ programmers who write 60-line functions will eventually go out of business. In other words: it's a joke.
    – Dan Bron
    Jul 21, 2015 at 21:01
  • What @Dan said. Dunno about open-access online dictionaries, but the full OED has definition 8: Comm. To sell (a commodity, stock, etc.) short (see short adj. 11). Jul 21, 2015 at 21:08
  • This quote warms my heart. Jul 22, 2015 at 2:37
  • The way the quote is rendered makes it seem as if it's a quote by one person, but from what follows the two sentences were from two different posters? Jul 22, 2015 at 8:48

1 Answer 1

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In this context, "short" is an abbreviation of "sell short".

Just as one buys a company's stock when one believes the stock price will go up, one short sells or shorts a company's stock when one believes the stock price will go down.

From Investopedia:

DEFINITION OF 'SHORT SELLING'

The sale of a security that is not owned by the seller, or that the seller has borrowed. Short selling is motivated by the belief that a security's price will decline, enabling it to be bought back at a lower price to make a profit. Short selling may be prompted by speculation ...

Thus, the author of the quote is saying, sarcastically and indirectly, that he believes companies which employ programmers who write 60-line functions will eventually go out of business.

The joke is that if you work in a company which employs 60-line-function-writing programmers, the author would like to know your company's name, so that he can profit from its inevitable doom.

Disclaimer: I have written 60-line functions. But maybe that's why I hang out more on EL&U than SO...

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  • I'd like to support my overall interpretation by quoting a hilarious Dilbert comic (or maybe something Scott Adams said directly?) I remember reading once, which employs this joke, but now I can't find it. Argggh..
    – Dan Bron
    Jul 21, 2015 at 21:11
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    Is this dilbert.com/strip/2002-06-18 what you're looking for? Jul 21, 2015 at 21:57
  • @WhatRoughBeast Close! Thanks. I'll keep looking for the specific one I was thinking of (which was more snide, along the lines of OP's original author).
    – Dan Bron
    Jul 21, 2015 at 21:58
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    You misunderstood the original quote. The second speaker would like to profit from the inevitable doom of a company that immediately fires anyone who writes a 60-line function.
    – Dan Getz
    Jul 22, 2015 at 5:48
  • @DanGetz I think it was my fault. I didn't give enought context the coments come from this post on lifehacker lifehacker.com/… Jul 22, 2015 at 11:43

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