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hidden flag

hidden flag in Technology

(scientific computation) An extra option added to a routine without changing the calling sequence. For example, instead of adding an explicit input variable to instruct a routine to give extra diagnostic output, the programmer might just add a test for some otherwise meaningless feature of the existing inputs, such as a negative mass. The use of hidden flags can make a program very hard to debug and understand, but is all too common wherever programs are hacked in a hurry.
[Jargon File]

The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing, © Denis Howe 2010
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