[Mailman-Users] A Vote Against Passwords

Dan Mick Dan.Mick at west.sun.com
Thu Aug 3 01:02:30 CEST 2000

> -> Those [non-technical] people don't remember their phone number?  
> -> They don't have an SSN?
> 1) Phones have been around a hundred years, my grandmother knows what that
> is.  She does *not* know what a password is (in computing terms).

She doesn't have to know.  She's been told she needs it, and to
save it, in no uncertain terms.  That's all she needs to know.
And it's a trivial task.

> 3) Most people don't know how to file their emails.  They have enough
> problems using the backspace key.

I don't believe that.  I deal with a huge cross-section of users,
and less than 1% are that stupid.  (Yes, stupid.  You have to be
as sophisticated to drive a car as to file a copy of an email.)
> 	I'm thinking of the network appliance and IMac users, here, not
> Unix sysadmins such as the people subscribed to this list.  It's very easy
> for us to forget that the general public can't distinguish between the
> monitor and the CPU.

You don't need to do that.

> -> It's trivial to save a four-character password, [...]
> 	...not for my grandmother (or even my mother)....

Nonsense.  They have notepads, and know how to use them, if they
insist on not learning that basic function of the computer.

> -> and it's reasonable to expect a mailinglist member to do it.
> 	Depends on the mailing list member.

OK, I'll fall back on the Standard Mailman-Users response: any
mailing list member I'm interested in supporting will find some
way to store, using a computer or a notepad or a wallet or a Daytimer
or a memory or a pen on the back of the hand, a password.
> 	May I suggest a self-improvement exercise?  Volunteer some time at
> your local library, helping newbies with computers.  Observe how people
> have problems understanding the correlation between mouse-movement and
> cursor-movement.  Observe how people don't understand terms like
> "scrollbar", "button", "window", or "click".
> 	Then try to imagine having to explain passwords to these people.

Those people aren't on mailing lists, because they can't find the
keyboard to subscribe.

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