Based on this comment over on CRPG Addict:
No adventuring party is complete without a ten foot pole.
Jason, but WHY? In God's name, WHAT IS IT FOR?!
What is a 10 foot pole used for (its perceived affordances in a game) and why has it become such a persistent trope?
An additional comment notes:
Okay on 10-foot poles: I do get what they're ostensibly for. What I don't get is a) why they have to be 10 feet. Wouldn't that be awfully hard to carry? When I have to carry even 8-foot 2x4s through my house, I inevitably put holes in walls, hit the ceiling, knock over vases, etc. Are dungeons more spacious than my house? b) why you couldn't just use a sword or staff to accomplish the same things.