coding style – Why would you ever want WET code?

In my view, the principal reason why people Write Things Twice is shortsightedness.

Software ‘engineering’ is in many ways a much less structured activity than real engineering, but it does share an important property with highway or utility engineering: almost every decision you make involves a trade-off between two mutually incompatible goals (e.g. cost vs. reliability, strength vs. completion time, etc.)

Since writing software is a more abstract task than erecting a bridge, our trade-offs tend to be more abstract than the obvious ones that you can measure with your wallet and your calendar. Very often, copy&paste of a piece of codes that is known-good allows you to achieve one particular task with great speed and low risk. The trade-off here is that of a plus in immediate speed of achievement of one task against a slight minus in the maintainability of the entire code base. Because the minus is hypothetical and lies in the future, it is very easy to overlook it altogether and assume that it is negligible.

In general, I believe that if people had a proper grasp of the entirety of the project to which they contribute, they would see that copy&pasting code is a net minus. But as long as a contributor measures his success only by how fast the task at hand was completed, it can look very much like a plus. Understanding this requires long personal experience, or more faith into colleagues with more experience than the typical junior programmer can muster.