ConcurrentDictionary Pitfall – Are delegates factories from GetOrAdd and AddOrUpdate synchronized?

Yes, you are right, the user delegates are not synchronized by ConcurrentDictionary. If you need those synchronized it is your responsibility.

The MSDN itself says:

Also, although all methods of ConcurrentDictionary are
thread-safe, not all methods are atomic, specifically GetOrAdd and
AddOrUpdate. The user delegate that is passed to these methods is
invoked outside of the dictionary’s internal lock. (This is done to
prevent unknown code from blocking all threads.)

See “How to: Add and Remove Items from a ConcurrentDictionary

This is because the ConcurrentDictionary has no idea what the delegate you provide will do or its performance, so if it attempted lock around them, it could really impact performance negatively and ruin the value of the ConcurrentDictionary.

Thus, it is the user’s responsibility to synchronize their delegate if that is necessary. The MSDN link above actually has a good example of the guarantees it does and does not make.

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