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I do not understand about google at this time
October 18, 2007 1:11 PM   Subscribe


 
Related: Maury Povich.
posted by brownpau at 1:13 PM on October 18, 2007 [7 favorites]


Sad & funny & sad. To a MUCH lesser extent, my blog became the #1 Google hit for the personalized M&M's promotion at some point last year & I got four or five comments from strangers wanting to order customized M&M's from me.
posted by jonson at 1:17 PM on October 18, 2007


That's just sort of surreal.
posted by sycophant at 1:17 PM on October 18, 2007


Cancel MetaFilter
posted by hermitosis at 1:18 PM on October 18, 2007


My wife was helping someone a few years older than her do something on the computer. They went to google at her suggestion. Then in the search box they typed in "www thing I'm searching for."
posted by drezdn at 1:22 PM on October 18, 2007 [2 favorites]


Wow. Perhaps some of those folks have the Google file indexer installed and it's not just the web page they are complaining about?
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 1:23 PM on October 18, 2007


"canel cancel cancel this cursed Google"

"Out, damned spot! out, I say!"
posted by ericb at 1:23 PM on October 18, 2007


You know what? I first hit the link and thought "Well, WTF? That's the site name, and that's a google headline, so google is working as intended!"

It took me literally a second viewing after coming back to realize the comments were the point.

So, because the comments are so wonderful, and because I'm apparently part of the club since I didn't get the point at first, I submit a Picard facepalm.
posted by cavalier at 1:24 PM on October 18, 2007


Definitely surreal. I can't imagine how some of those people deal with day-to-day life. Having a problem with google? Well sure, just search for "cancel google", click on the first web page that comes up, don't even bother reading anything and post a comment demanding google to be removed from the computer. Simple, right?

Got a flyer from a company you don't want to deal with? Simple as well, scream the company name at the top of your lungs, shove the flyer in the hands of the first person you see, and demand they take care of it.

I would be willing to bet a lot of these internet-challenged people (to use a mild expression) are managers.
posted by splice at 1:25 PM on October 18, 2007 [22 favorites]


Reading Metafilter prevents me from joining Pogo Bridge games.
posted by inqb8tr at 1:26 PM on October 18, 2007 [1 favorite]


I bet Hotmail changed some kind of setting on their ISP's servers, causing that cursed Google to takeover! All they need is some special code to somehow send to the ISP's servers. Right?
posted by ericb at 1:28 PM on October 18, 2007 [7 favorites]




please take me off all mailings, for trash, etc. information in regards to products, promotions, etc. ALL!!!!!!! and do NOT allow send me informaton on MY POINTS REWARDS
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 1:29 PM on October 18, 2007 [1 favorite]


splice: actually, they appear to be elderly, for the most part.
posted by bobot at 1:29 PM on October 18, 2007


also, I'm totally calling it MOVEOVER from now on.
posted by bobot at 1:29 PM on October 18, 2007


WebTV veterans, I bet.
posted by trondant at 1:30 PM on October 18, 2007 [1 favorite]


I bet Hotmail changed some kind of setting...

Oh, mustn't forget the priceless MeTa related to that Hotmail AskMe.
posted by ericb at 1:31 PM on October 18, 2007


Remove my name from your list NOW. I don’t and won’t be a part of a left wing liberal operation like yours. You can sign up all the MOVEOVER.Nuts your want but leave me out.
posted by drezdn at 1:31 PM on October 18, 2007


I wonder if anyone called and helped Frank?
posted by MikeKD at 1:31 PM on October 18, 2007 [1 favorite]


Google will Fry!
posted by drezdn at 1:31 PM on October 18, 2007


Your comment is awaiting moderation.

Damn, the world needs to know about how Google is disrupting my PC's purity of essence!
posted by delmoi at 1:32 PM on October 18, 2007 [2 favorites]


Googling Swinburn make your Yahoo slower. I will not pay for this.

Please remove it.
posted by mistersquid at 1:33 PM on October 18, 2007


Dear Jeeves:

Who asked you?

Sincerely,

Melvin Lumpkin
Sacramento, CA
posted by Atom Eyes at 1:33 PM on October 18, 2007


unsubscirbe
posted by cortex at 1:33 PM on October 18, 2007 [10 favorites]


Google will Fry!
posted by brownpau at 1:34 PM on October 18, 2007


I wonder what proportion are intentional performance.
posted by a robot made out of meat at 1:34 PM on October 18, 2007


bobot: Yes, managers sometimes write in a style that is reminiscent of someone with diminished mental faculties. Having dealt with them, however, I am quite convinced a lot of the posters are managers.

I would expect an elderly person to be momentarily confused and subsequently ask the help of someone they know. Conversely, managers will send off a (often very terse and badly written) missive to just about anyone, demanding the problem to be fixed, and expecting that whoever received it will take care of it for them. After all, they are managers, not lowly peons.

Maybe I'm just disillusioned...
posted by splice at 1:36 PM on October 18, 2007 [2 favorites]


thank you for this!!!
posted by yeahyeahyeahwhoo at 1:36 PM on October 18, 2007


The funny thing is that all the comments seemed like jokes made by MeFi members and I was laughing heartily. But they were real people saying real things.
posted by sneakin at 1:37 PM on October 18, 2007 [1 favorite]


Google is preventing me from leaving my home.

I am so scared. Please help.
posted by CitrusFreak12 at 1:37 PM on October 18, 2007 [1 favorite]


Sometimes the best advice is the simplest and involves the proper application of a loaded 45 to oneself.
posted by substrate at 1:37 PM on October 18, 2007


I am computer literate! I have 22 years in computer systems engineering and operation. Now, can you tell me how to remove "your software" that you acknowledge you provided free of charge? I consider this "hacking". I have no fear of the media, in fact I welcome this publicity.
posted by Roger Dodger at 1:37 PM on October 18, 2007


With a little effort, this thread will be the new top Google hit for "cancel google". I trust cortex will lift the 30-day thread closure rule for this one page.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 1:38 PM on October 18, 2007 [6 favorites]


cancel google
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 1:39 PM on October 18, 2007


Perhaps old people in the 1930s did something similar. I'm picturing secretaries at companies that bought radio spots opening the days mail to find reams of angry and confused screeds, each pleading to have the tiny people who used to live in their magic box put back in after their grandchildren evicted them by twiddling the dials.
posted by bunnytricks at 1:39 PM on October 18, 2007 [1 favorite]


*sigh* If only this were surprising. Or new. Or unique.

Great find though.
posted by Skorgu at 1:41 PM on October 18, 2007


Doesn't work anymore :(
posted by divabat at 1:43 PM on October 18, 2007


Site seems to be unresponsive.
posted by Kadin2048 at 1:45 PM on October 18, 2007


Google MeFi-bombed.
posted by ericb at 1:45 PM on October 18, 2007


Mirror. I think we canceled it.

Reminds me of the sad Metafilter story of fred.
posted by ALongDecember at 1:46 PM on October 18, 2007 [8 favorites]


With a little effort, this thread will be the new top Google hit for "cancel google". I trust cortex will lift the 30-day thread closure rule for this one page.

To really pull it off, Cortex needs to also make this thread open to non-members.

Come on cortex, Cancel Google.
posted by drezdn at 1:47 PM on October 18, 2007


Rage, rage against the dying of the light.
posted by felix betachat at 1:47 PM on October 18, 2007


Please remove
google from my Yahoo

I don't know why, but...I love this. Is it because it sounds like partially finished haiku? Is it because he took the time to capitalize "Yahoo" but not "google"? Is it because of the oddly-placed line break?

Please remove. wait, wait, shit...I'd better specify...
google from my Yahoo

posted by damnthesehumanhands at 1:49 PM on October 18, 2007 [4 favorites]


Ha ha, the ignorant users are funny. But the truth is computers are way too complicated.

I sympathize with folks who say "Google is breaking my shopping because of the popup blocker". Yeah, if they were just a bit more computer savvy they could figure out how to turn off the popup blocker or unstall the thing entirely. But they're not. Fortunately, Google also spends time trying to figure out how to make it easier for folks to do stuff. Hopefully next year the popup blocker will be that much easier to remove or, alternately, work well enough you don't need to remove it all.

Part of the confusion in these comments is that folks don't understand what software is on their computers or how it works. Google tries very hard to be honest about software installs, but even so it's confusing.
posted by Nelson at 1:53 PM on October 18, 2007 [1 favorite]


One of my favorite pastimes was checking out the guestbook for Briney.com. Yes, Briney. It was some family homepage, but it was filled with kids posting about how much they love Baby One More Time and asking how Justin Timberlake was doing. It's a domain placeholder now, but here's archive of it.
posted by ALongDecember at 1:54 PM on October 18, 2007 [4 favorites]


if i cancel now, do i still get to keep the football phone?
posted by Atom Eyes at 1:58 PM on October 18, 2007


Most of these dummies are Comcast customers. Just sayin'.
posted by Mister_A at 2:07 PM on October 18, 2007


Bless.
In my dream world, young script-kiddie types would in fact be prowling the Internets in search of seniors in distress, hacking in when needed, fixing what ails them, wiping their feet and leaving. Those poor commenters probably won us a world war you know! Or started one. Whatever.
posted by Abiezer at 2:11 PM on October 18, 2007 [6 favorites]


Oh, this is so, so very sad. My dad, who is an intelligent guy and has been around computers since the '60s, still does stuff like this. Ok, not quite as bad, but "how did this software get on my damn machine? I just want it to keep working the way it used to, but something changed it and now I don't know what to do." There's a real disconnect; he doesn't get something very fundamental about web-apps and continuous updating, and he doesn't have the "ok let's play around with a few settings and see where that gets us" mentality that is needed. I feel terrible for these people; it's so frustrating when things that should be utilitarian suddenly don't work and you can't figure out why.
posted by LobsterMitten at 2:14 PM on October 18, 2007 [6 favorites]


iam want photo of briney
posted by oncogenesis at 2:15 PM on October 18, 2007 [1 favorite]


To really pull it off, Cortex needs to also make this thread open to non-members. --drezdn

Not really. Want to cancel google? That'll be $5 for membership to the MeFi Google Cancellation page. In fact, if you can't be bothered to sign up for an account, you're more than welcome to send your name, credit card number, and the words 'cancel google' to the e-mail address in my profile and I'll personally remove our software for you.

We here at MeFi Google.com recognize the plight of busy executives and are here to serve you!
posted by Bugg at 2:24 PM on October 18, 2007 [2 favorites]


Through some freakish PageRank calculation, my shitty old blog is the top Google hit for "cool mac stuff." I had to disable the comments form on that page because I would get people constantly asking for recommendations.
posted by danb at 2:25 PM on October 18, 2007


WHER THE FUCK IS THE FUCKIN ANY KEY??!!11!?
posted by Mister_A at 2:27 PM on October 18, 2007


Please remove
google from my Yahoo


"Hey, you got your Google in my Yahoo!"
"You got your Yahoo in my Google!"
[together]"Mmm, delicious!"
posted by Horace Rumpole at 2:33 PM on October 18, 2007 [4 favorites]


Man, I love the "iam want photo of briney" request. I imagine briney as some sort of pickle company mascot. Or a pirate.
posted by bepe at 2:37 PM on October 18, 2007 [3 favorites]


I work on a helpdesk. I think some of these people literally believe their computers work by magic. I sometimes want to know what the inside of their heads looks like.
posted by empath at 2:45 PM on October 18, 2007 [5 favorites]


god bless briney.
posted by Astro Zombie at 2:51 PM on October 18, 2007


All I get here is a 500 internal server error.

But the google cache of it seems ok.
posted by hexatron at 2:54 PM on October 18, 2007


Leave Briney alone!
posted by brownpau at 2:55 PM on October 18, 2007 [5 favorites]


This reminds me of the earnest discussions I had with fellow co-op board members about our website. They were convinced that someone would comment on the website, and that we'd get sued, even if we turned off commenting.

My father and I joke about selling them "internet insurance."
posted by klangklangston at 3:02 PM on October 18, 2007 [1 favorite]


LOLDUMBUSERS!!!
posted by Bovine Love at 3:09 PM on October 18, 2007


sorry i was made these post because a error...

administrator!!! please hope me!
posted by mr_crash_davis at 3:27 PM on October 18, 2007 [2 favorites]


Please remove
google from my Yahoo


Oh god, we're going to get Yahoo/Google slashfics now.
posted by Verdandi at 3:36 PM on October 18, 2007 [1 favorite]


“Please remove
google from my Yahoo”


Actually, they sound like a couple's pet names for their genitalia.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 3:39 PM on October 18, 2007 [5 favorites]


This makes me cry.
posted by liquorice at 3:42 PM on October 18, 2007


Its too easy to laugh at these people, but in reality the google toolbar is embeded with pretty much any free software and non-savvy users end up getting it installed without really asking for it. Then when they visit some websites the pop-up blocker causes them all sorts of headaches. I think this is a telling testimony against google's aggressive bundling and how the idea that people dont need tutorials or training and will figure things out turns out to be pretty wrong when dealing with the LCD.
posted by damn dirty ape at 3:43 PM on October 18, 2007


And considering the huge racket that is IE toolbars, I cant blame these people for being pissed. Im sure theyve had to uninstall many a toolbar, probably paid some neighborhood geek a fair amount of money each time.
posted by damn dirty ape at 3:44 PM on October 18, 2007 [1 favorite]


I work on a helpdesk. I think some of these people literally believe their computers work by magic.

Ding.

Exhibit A: While working at a large dot com as a sales rep a few years back, on more than one occasion a customer's opening question was "Is this the internet?" After I got over the shock, I put on my best booming Wizard of Oz voice and responded that, yes, in fact this was the internet. I was the internet to someone, if only for a short time.

Exhibit B: Just yesterday, I was talking to a stranger when the conversation of work came up. I now work for a different dot com, and when I told him this his eyes lit up, and he asked me how he could keep MySpace from getting on his new computer. He'd heard bad things about it on the news. I explained to him that MySpace is a website, and all he'd have to go to the website to see it. He couldn't understand, he thought he'd be tucked in bed, fast asleep and computer off, and the dreaded MySpace would crawl through the intertubes and onto his machine and never leave. Or something.
posted by rollbiz at 3:52 PM on October 18, 2007 [5 favorites]


i am very unhappy with Google being on my page of the Microsoft Internet Explorer.

gOOGLE SUDDENLY SHOWED UP, i did not order it, nor did I want Google.

Please remove it. You are Phishing.

Sincerely,

Brenda J. Parker


Everything about this comment makes me smile. From the random and unfixed uppercase typing, and the equally random accusations of phishing, to the formal correspondence end of 'Sincerely'.

Fantastic stuff, this.
posted by quin at 3:52 PM on October 18, 2007 [7 favorites]


Some of the commenters give their personal homepage as "http://foxnews/".
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 3:59 PM on October 18, 2007 [1 favorite]


I'd be terribly amused by the link if it weren't for my sure knowledge that one day technology will surpass my understanding, and I, like the commenters, will be helplessly yelling into the void for assistance while younger, more savvy people point and laugh.
posted by lekvar at 4:09 PM on October 18, 2007 [9 favorites]



I work on a helpdesk. I think some of these people literally believe their computers work by magic.


I kind of believe that. I mean, I understand a bit more about computers than these poor cancelgoogle people do. But it's not really clear to me how you get from a series of on/off switches to the internets without some kind of magic involved.
posted by yarrow at 4:29 PM on October 18, 2007 [2 favorites]


But how do you even know what 'phishing' is without having some borderline competence at using computers and knowledge of jargon?
posted by ardgedee at 4:36 PM on October 18, 2007 [1 favorite]


Fox News.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 4:40 PM on October 18, 2007


Also, she clearly doesn't know what Phishing is.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 4:40 PM on October 18, 2007


I want to get me some of that google cache I heard tell 'bout.
posted by hal9k at 4:47 PM on October 18, 2007 [1 favorite]


Please stop commenting on my MeFi. I did not order it. You are Phishing.

Sincerely,

msq
posted by mistersquid at 4:47 PM on October 18, 2007


lekvar: Make hay while the sun shines. The next generation won't be so forbearing.
posted by pompomtom at 4:57 PM on October 18, 2007


I'm not at all ashamed to say that some years back I made a fair amount of cash from a lot of these people. Then I went corporate and made many times that....from many of the same people.
posted by nevercalm at 4:59 PM on October 18, 2007


I WANT TO TAKE GOOGLES OFF OF MY HOME PAGE
posted by bicyclefish at 5:18 PM on October 18, 2007


My grandmother called me in a panic a few weeks ago to say that Yahoo had taken her MSN off her computer and she didn't know how to get it back. It took an entire hour for me to understand that she was having trouble receiving e-mails through Outlook Express. (WTF?!) But she thought that repeating "Yahoo took my MSN off" over and over would make me understand.

Next time I visit I'm just setting up a VPN. There's obviously no fucking way I can talk them through it over the phone. I've previously printed out screenshots and sent them via postal mail, to no avail.
posted by desjardins at 5:28 PM on October 18, 2007 [1 favorite]


I WANT TO TAKE GOOGLES OFF OF MY HOME PAGE

Now there's a lolcat waiting to happen....
posted by Afroblanco at 5:29 PM on October 18, 2007


Google is the front door of my conscience. I am regretting the Google. Am Google me it? For wanting no Google, simply Google “no Google”.

Second thought, this whole site looks like someone's AI experiment gone wrong.
posted by Afroblanco at 5:31 PM on October 18, 2007


What would be funny is if one of these folks was Googled by human resources after applying for a job.
posted by desjardins at 5:37 PM on October 18, 2007


People are dumb.
posted by killdevil at 5:52 PM on October 18, 2007


Bill wrote: 8 Aug 2007


"Please remove
google from my Yahoo"
posted by sponge at 5:55 PM on October 18, 2007


That's exasperating and funny and depressing in roughly equal thirds.
posted by CheeseburgerBrown at 5:58 PM on October 18, 2007 [1 favorite]


Next time I visit I'm just setting up a VPN. There's obviously no fucking way I can talk them through it over the phone. I've previously printed out screenshots and sent them via postal mail, to no avail.

Fog Creek Copilot<>
posted by delmoi at 5:59 PM on October 18, 2007 [3 favorites]


ACH! YOU HAVE GOT ME RIGHT IN MY GOOGLES!
posted by blacklite at 6:25 PM on October 18, 2007


No, no, no. The correct response was, of course:

THE GOOGLES THEY DO NOTHING!!!
posted by yhbc at 6:48 PM on October 18, 2007


oh my god. joan swinburn rules.
posted by wreckingball at 7:02 PM on October 18, 2007


Jesus fucking Christ. Yes, this is funny, but even if you're a douchebag user experience designer you are still a fucking user experience designer. If your users can't figure out how to work your blog, it's because you are a failure as an interface designer.

Again, idiot users are funny, but leaving up what was intended to be private correspondence from a confused 87-year-old woman with her name attached is fucking tacky. You want to make it funny? Scrub the data. Talk about how we, as a discipline, have fucking failed at making computers a usable tool for some of the people who most need the information the Internet can provide and highlight the hilarity of the anonymized comments as examples.

What an asshole.
posted by stet at 7:08 PM on October 18, 2007


I'm not seeing how this is "intended to be private correspondence". The commenters could read other people's comments, so it must have struck them that other people would be able to read their comments too. Unless they happen to be a Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal of course.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 7:29 PM on October 18, 2007


I'm thinking Joan Swinburn was a phony. Four comments in a row, escalating anger and corresponding incoherence, and use of numeric keys all seems more like what someone would do to parody an agitated, confused, elderly person rather than the real thing.
posted by yhbc at 7:37 PM on October 18, 2007 [1 favorite]


But maybe I've just been reading what you people come up with for too long.
posted by yhbc at 7:40 PM on October 18, 2007 [1 favorite]


"gogel ples stop readng all the websits i writ thigs and put them on the interrnt wich ar PRIVATE and do not want others to reed them by SEARCHING the wrods of the thins i writ i am 87 YEARS YOUNG an want just a litl PECE and QWIET"

It's obvious that this user did *not* understand what was happening with the comments and that it did not strike her that her own comments would be visible. It strikes us because we are experienced users of blogs and the internet. That the system, as designed, did not provide adequate feedback and set the user's expectations correct is accepted, within the field of UI design, as a failure of the designer, not the user.

Or, to put it another way, when you test your prototypes, do you laugh at the test subject who can't figure it out or do you laugh at the UI designer who fucked up their metaphor?

I'm clearly a little cranky about this, but I see an awful lot of IA/UX/HCI-types who are very big at talking sanctimoniously about user needs and design systems that work exactly like their favorite tools. It grates.
posted by stet at 7:40 PM on October 18, 2007


actually I'm pretty sure that one's a joke, stet
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 7:42 PM on October 18, 2007


Cancel Google.
posted by lostburner at 8:20 PM on October 18, 2007


When my friend's mom was new to the internets, he would receive from her several e-mails, spaced a couple of minutes apart, with slightly different wording.

Her explanation was: "Well, I typed the message to you, hit the 'send' button, and then the message disappeared. So, I typed it again...."
posted by neuron at 8:30 PM on October 18, 2007 [6 favorites]


Please turn the internet off. I don’t want it any more.
posted by sir_rubixalot at 8:48 PM on October 18, 2007


"Hey, you got your Google in my Yahoo!"
"You got your Yahoo all over my Google!"
[together]"Mmm, delicious!"


Didja ever notice in the ad, it was always a dude carrying the gigantic Google, colliding with a chick carrying a wide-open Yahoo?

Never a dude with a Yahoo, never a chick with a Google, and never two chicks with two Yahoos?

:)
posted by bugmuncher at 8:56 PM on October 18, 2007


Could you please send me the sheet music for Dueling Banjos
posted by plant at 10:52 PM on October 18, 2007


A few months ago I was chatting with an office depot employee while waiting for some copies to be made. Just small talk. They asked me what I did, and I mentioned that I designed web applications. The employee paused, then asked me with a serious tone: "There is something I have been thinking about, maybe you can answer it for me. What happens when the internet is full? How close is it to full now?"


That aside, most of those comments on the cancel google page read as fake to me.
posted by Nothing at 1:23 AM on October 19, 2007 [1 favorite]


Nothing: you know, if they meant number of computers, that's a valid question... though I suppose I'm being overly wishful...
posted by blacklite at 3:06 AM on October 19, 2007


Dear Gogol,

I am afraid that my soul-purchasing plan was poorly conceived. I am writing to ask if you would perhaps like to repurchase some of your dead peasants. I am willing to sell at half of the price I gave you.

Sincerely,

chichikov@gmail.rus


Winner by a nose.
posted by Sparx at 3:38 AM on October 19, 2007


hahaha, the Dead Souls one is great!

Unfortunately, most of the new comments make cluelessness and parody more and more difficult to tell apart, draining it of any humor.
posted by rottytooth at 5:53 AM on October 19, 2007




gogal is beeming into me from out of spass saddalit. how to cansil?
posted by quonsar at 8:38 AM on October 19, 2007


how is babby formed
how girl get praegnet
posted by desjardins at 9:09 AM on October 19, 2007


BREAKING: There are still plenty of morons on the internet, although they have managed to escape the confines of AOL. Film at 11.
posted by drstein at 9:18 AM on October 19, 2007


never underestimate ignorance of technology. There's a dialup provder in seattle (nocharge)
that makes all their money by having a 900 number for tech support. No ads, no spying on your traffic, just a whole lot of dealing with those cancel google people, on the phone.
I don't think I could stand working there. But i sure love them when my comcast goes down, thanx to some lady and her hammer.
posted by nomisxid at 11:12 AM on October 19, 2007


I used to have a personal site whose layout would feature random celebrities I was fond of, and when I had Clay Aiken as my layout I received SO MANY emails asking if I was him.

Now on my alternative education blog, I have people thinking I *am* GreenPeace or I *am* the United Nations or I *am* the program I am trying to promote. One time, in a post about a UN youth conference, I got an email from a bunch of Laotian refugees in Thailand asking for assistance with registering. (They never showed up at the conference unfortunately.)

I think people just search for certain terms on Google and post on whatever looks vaguely relevant. It may be a country-by-country issue too: I can guarantee that if I post about the United Nations or World Bank, I get a whole bunch of Africans and South Asians thinking I'm the organizer (though the girl that thought I was GreenPeace was American).

Is there anything I can do on my blog to make it clear that I am *not* the organizer of the programs I'm promoting?
posted by divabat at 2:16 PM on October 19, 2007


“Now on my alternative education blog, I have people thinking I *am* GreenPeace or I *am* the United Nations or I *am* the program I am trying to promote.”

A few years ago I wrote a blog entry about a young woman who was horribly disfigured as a teen in an alcohol-related accident in Austin, where I lived. She later appeared on Oprah. Suddenly my blog started getting comments addressed to this young woman, telling her to get well soon, that people were praying for her, etc. It was weird.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 2:23 PM on October 19, 2007


I get a fair amount of traffic from COLEMAK enthusiasts on this one blog entry I made a while back. Apparently ever posting about it at all on the internet makes a body something of an expert witness.
posted by cortex at 2:47 PM on October 19, 2007


This reminds me of a dear old granny I went to help when I used to work for a go-to-your-home-to-fix-your-computer helpdesk. Amongst several of her problems stemming from her computers-work-via-magic-pixies attitude was a great one.

Her: I'd like a new internet please.
Me: errr... can probably do that. Could you give me a bit more detail on what's wrong with this one? Are you not happy with your current provider?
Her: this one is a bit dull. My friend has a much better one.
Me: do you know who her provider is?
Her: She uses BT.
Me: Hmm. your computer account is also with BT.
Her: No, I'm not.
Me: (after several minutes demonstrating that she is definitely using BT internet as her ISP, including using a BTinternet email address)
Her: But her internet is different than mine.
Me: OK. Perhaps you could show me your internet?
Her: *Clicks on internet explorer, goes to BT home page, clicks around a few links* See? There's not much here. She can get different news and everything on hers.
Me: *goes to msn.com*
Her: Ohh, that's it! That's her internet! Can I have that internet instead please? How did you do that?
Me: Ahhhhhh. *Sets homepage to msn.com*

Bless. She simply didn't realise you could go to any other page on the internet by putting the address in the white box at the top. She only understood clicking through links from the default homepage. I did try to explain it, but I don't think she got how to do it. She was happy with msn as her new internet, same as her friend, so I left her to it.
posted by ArkhanJG at 5:32 PM on October 19, 2007 [1 favorite]


I kept trying to favorite some of the comments. I'm spending way too much time here.
posted by Deathalicious at 5:46 PM on October 19, 2007


Oh, and stet: half-valid points about ridiculing poor hapless octogenarians aside, exactly how is this a usability error? In my opinion this is 100% a "turn brains off when using a computer error" and there's no way to get around it, except maybe:
NOTE: Before posting to this blog. You must read and type out this agreement in full before you are allowed to post here. AGREEMENT: I understand that this page is a page for a webcomic, an private non-commercial page that has funny pictures on it. If I am commenting here, it is because I want to talk about something that the webcomic talked about, or that the author wrote about. I understand that anything I type here can be viewed by everyone, and that I will probably not get a response from the author of the page even if I ask for one. I understand that if I am discussing a problem, it will not be resolved; if I am asking a question, it will not be answered; and if I am making a complaint, it will not be addressed. I can always search Yahoo or Google or MSN for the answer to my question, but this is not the place for it.
Would that make you happy? Are we supposed to put that on all of our websites?

Oh, and again, because people don't read informational notices, you'd have to require them to type it out, word for word. On the bright side, those who know anything about the internet can just cut and paste it.

The honest truth is that the computer is unique in making people think that it is magical, and maybe us geeks are partly to blame for it. We need to educate people on the stupidity of the computer, about how few things actually link to each other, and how things that happen to you on a computer are often rarely planned or considered but are just random occurrences that are entirely unrelated. Splices's example is pretty solid: basically these people came across the first thing that "matched" what they were looking at and struck, without pausing to make sure it was the right page.

If there is a usability error, it's that the page doesn't say what it is clearly enough, but do we really want to make that a requirement, all the time? Sometimes just a page with a link on it should be enough...
posted by Deathalicious at 6:14 PM on October 19, 2007


Dear Google. How do I shot Web?
posted by kindall at 10:39 PM on October 19, 2007


An elderly guy I know just managed to pay $14 for Adobe Reader. I think he clicked on the first link that came up on Google, which was of course a "sponsored link".
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 8:46 AM on October 20, 2007


The comments are pretty funny until the Metafilter Komedy Krew come in and decide to liven them up with their "hilarious" additions.
posted by Legomancer at 11:55 AM on October 23, 2007


The honest truth is that the computer is unique in making people think that it is magical, and maybe us geeks are partly to blame for it.

You know where else this happens?

Reading.

Plain ordinary everyday reading.

You and I can do it; little kids can't. To little kids, the grown-ups just Know Stuff completely by magic.

You can explain to a little kid until you're blue in the face that the words you're speaking are written on this paper here, and you're not just making them up, and they will grab the paper and look at it and just see funny squiggles and put your explanation down to Just One More Weird Thing Grownups Say and just completely ignore it.

And it doesn't matter how long you leave a little kid alone playing with stuff that has the funny squiggles on it - they are never going to Get It until somebody who already Has It takes the time to explain it to them, in the order they need it explained so they understand it, and in bite size chunks that are small enough to digest, over the course of about a year. Then they take to it like ducks to water. But the thing is, there's a lot of groundwork to cover, and until a fair amount of it has been covered, the kid's not going to get much out of the experience.

Some kids just jack up and refuse to play, and some just aren't lucky enough to find somebody patient enough to keep steering and cajoling and helping them along, and some just get plonked in front of the TV and left to their own devices, and they're the ones that end up with really poor reading skills.

Teaching an adult to use a computer, to my way of thinking, is a lot like teaching a little kid to read - and runs into exactly the same difficulty: there are some kids who just think that extracting words from funny squiggles is a good game, where the rules are: (1) look at squiggles (2) say whatever pops into your head. It takes a long time for a kid like that to realize that the rules are way more complicated than that, and even longer to accept that the real rules are actually worth learning.

Computer-naive and computer-phobic adults find themselves surrounded by people sitting in front of screens and keyboards who are apparently easily able to make them Do Stuff, yet find that when they sit down at the keyboard they just have no clue at all. They end up feeling like little kids who can't read, and it makes them cranky and aggressive, or whiny and fearful, depending on temperament.

Using a computer effectively, just like reading, requires internalizing a certain minimum of irreducibly complex knowledge. That's just how it is. I don't think it's geeks' fault that people have trouble rising above See Spot Run competence levels with computers; I blame the marketroids. Computers are not easy to use; they're just not, and selling them to the naive with the promise that they are is just flat lying.

I also have very little sympathy with Teach Yourself To Do Stuff books and entry-level computer courses that immediately leap into How To Drive Your Word Processor, completely bypassing any learning about important stuff like (a) what's a file? (b) what's a program? (c) what's a folder? (d) what's a hard disk? (e) what's the relationship between those little pictures on my screen, and files and programs and folders and hard disks? (f) when I save something, where does it go? (g) where is the computer I am using right now?

It makes me sad that most of the entry-level computing courses I see people paying good money for have exactly this kind of deficiency. Of course, there are solid marketing reasons for that: most people don't want to know how their computers work, because the sales people assured them they didn't need to bother spending time picking up any of That Geek Stuff - hell, you just take it home, switch it on, and right away you will be emailing movies to your friends!

It's as if a generation of little kids had been sold the idea that all they really need to know in order to pass high school is how to parrot Hop On Pop.
posted by flabdablet at 11:58 PM on October 26, 2007 [13 favorites]


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