Talk to any programmer and they will tell you that programming makes them swear. Don’t worry, I am not going to list the swearwords here (*wink*). But did you know that African developers’ swearing commit count is way higher than others?

Umm… okay, I won’t release the teasers like that.

I will get to the point.

So, one fine day, our data scientist thought of analyzing data between the years 2017 and 2018.

Why so, you ask?

Well, he was inspired by the swearing commit count of developers at our office and wanted to know if this is our office thingy or developers around the world swear by swearing (*pun intended*).

I was extremely enthralled by his idea and gave him a heads-up.

Just so you know, we ended up analyzing tons of data from 857,147 users and studied 104,445,423 different commits. Yes, all this hard work for you.

As expected, the results were intriguing, and the findings even more interesting.

So How Did We Do It?

To investigate the swearing behavior of developers, we fetched commits from a range of internal and external sources. For starters, a commit adds the latest changes to a part of the source code in the repository in a version control system where they reside indefinitely.

To ensure that the code repository has the latest version, each developer after adding a commit also adds a commit message to help the future developers know what this addition/modification was all about so that they can make a well-informed decision.

But it just doesn’t stop here. It goes to the extent of swearing messages, and this is what we were curious about.

While a lot of developers say that the use of swearwords helps them get rid of stress, there are others who do it for fun or out of habit.

Whatever the reason is – the findings are definitely appalling.                  

Let’s have a look.

The Results

Average swearing commit count

First, let’s check how many developers actually love swearing while writing commit messages.

North American developers wrote the most commit messages in the year 2017-18, close to 140 commit messages. They were quickly followed by developers belonging from Europe, and Oceania region. This reveals that these three regions house the most active developers.

The least inactive developers in our study belonged to Asia, South America, and Africa, with Africa at the bottom.

So what will you expect?

According to the general rule of thumb, you would say that the developers who wrote most commit messages are more likely to have a higher swearing commit count.


This is when the results took us by storm. Although the average commit count per developer in Africa is close to 80, the average swearing commit count on the continent is close to 0.20. On the other hand, the continent with the highest average commit count, North America, accounts for ~ 0.1 average swearing commit count per developer.

The inference – African developers swear the most even when they commit the least!

What do they swear?

Okay, this one is interesting.

Naturally, when we found that swearing is highly prevalent among developers than what we expected, we thought of digging deeper.

Shit! – This was the most used English swear word in commit messages shared between 2017 and 2018. The word was used more than 15k times.

You get no brownie points for guessing the next swear word. Fuck was used a little bit more than 10k times.

Other words like WTF, fucking, Crap, Damn, Hell, Screw, Ass, and Suck were also used prominently.

And you thought that developers are the most innocent ones? Haha – no comments on this! (*laughs*)

But this doesn’t mean that all developers use swearwords!

No, not at all! Our further calculations revealed that 3.5% of developers use swearwords in their commits at least once.

This means that around 30,000 developers out of our total sampling size used swearwords at least once.

What’s more, we found that around 0.067% of all messages contain at least one swearword. This means that 6,997,863 messages contained at least one bad word!

Undoubtedly, this is a pretty huge figure, keeping in mind that the research is based on 875, 147 users. If we do simple mathematics, this reflects that an average developer around the globe used at least 8 swearwords in their commits in 2017-2018. Wow, this is getting interesting.

But what makes African developers swear the most?

Well, this is one question we wanted to find the answer to. Therefore, we dug deeper.

Believe us, this was a curious case.

We found that 73% of all swearing commits came from a single user, who accounted for 1,861 swearing commits. Next to him was a developer with only 290 swearing commits.

So as it turns out – just a few users made Africa top the list.


All in all, it is not wrong to conclude that developers use swearwords in their commits. Some of them use these more often. Although African developers topped the list, this was all thanks to the single user.

Overall, developers from all around the word use swearwords, and we strongly feel that this has something to do with the programming language that they code in. Like a certain programming language makes developers swear more when compared to others?

What do you think about this? Are you a developer? Be honest – how likely are you to swear while writing commit messages?

Do share your views in the comments below.


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