This Is How You Drive Programmers Nuts

This is one of those pranks for someone who's enough of your friend to not murder you afterwards, but also kind of deserves a little pain. The Mimic script changes characters in a code file to alternative characters that look the same to human eyes, but completely screw up the syntax. I pity the victim.

You can find the script on Github.

The idea was based on a tweet a while ago, referencing a Greek symbol which looks like a semicolon. Mimic extrapolates on that idea to include many characters.

The creator has a few ideas on what you can do with it:

Fun games to play with mimic:   Pipe some source code through and see if you can find all of the problems   Pipe someone else's source code through without telling them   Be fired, and then killed

My goodness, just look at this:

Of course, if the prankee decides to backspace a few times and rewrite any section of code, that'll fix it. And if it works on one line, it'll work on the others. That's kind of a good thing, though -- you wouldn't want them to actually be stumped all day on it.

It could even let you continue the joke later on, without it getting old. Imagine a recurring situation in which everyone in the office can see the problem, except that one person. "Can't you see the problem here? You have to rewrite this bit, this bit, this bit..."

Is there a term for programmer gaslighting?

Image via Shutterstock