I'd give short-but-descriptive variable- and function-naming a much
higher priority than something that not really affects

And i'd insist on doing all names and comments in english, even if
it's broken english.
It makes code much easier to be taken over by someone of another nationality.
If i'm paying for code, it would be on the top of my list of demands.

After that, i'd insist on the (beginner) programmer properly
commenting his code; "explain the code you're about to execute as you
would do in a brief manner to a layman/child, but let proper function
& parameter naming take care of as much of the "explanation" as
Cryptic code = BAD code, imo.
My comments (per loop of about 50 lines) are almost never longer than
3 lines of 80 chars. Mostly just 1 line.

So if i had to work with a beginner programmer, i would not give them
hassle over not closing their PHP tags.

On the other hand, i wouldn't really trust a mid- to advanced-level
programmer if he/she wasn't able to close their tags and make sure
there's no whitespace behind it. That kind of laziness/clumsiness will
lead to time-consuming mistakes elsewhere while building even
moderately complicated code.

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