[Mailman-Users] My Poor Users Have No Hands

Dan Mick Dan.Mick at west.sun.com
Thu Aug 3 08:09:45 CEST 2000

Chuq Von Rospach wrote:
> At 4:02 PM -0700 8/2/00, Dan Mick wrote:
> >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.
> No, she also needs to be told WHY, in a way that she understands adn
> agrees. Otherwise, she blows you off -- and should. I don't think you
> intended it as such, Dan, but this came across as rather patronizing.

Again: nonsense.  I don't need to know WHY I don't put oil in my gas
tank to know not to do it.  I don't need to know WHY to put my foot on
the brake before shifting into gear.

You're applying ridiculous standards to stand up for The Poor User because
you think I care not a whit for them, and you're overbending to make the point.
You're wrong; I do care about making things as easy as is reasonable or possible
for the user.  But there are some things the user simply must do.
I'm not even trying to claim that dealing with passwords is one of them; I've
said repeatedly that I think it would be good if Mailman didn't absolutely 
require them.  My only argument is "it's not *that* bad to deal with" and
"you don't have to be a computer guru to know how to use a pencil", two
arguments which you are addressing with ridiculously-overblown drama.

> >And it's a trivial task.
> To those of us who do mail lists seriously (or for a living), maybe.
> it's not nearly that easy or obvious for novices. 

Writing a four-character string on a piece of paper and not losing it
is not easy or obvious?

I'm sorry, Chuq, you're just wrong.

> >  >    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.
> yes, you do. You'r ebeing patronizing again.

Why do you need to distinguish between the monitor and the CPU in order to
write a note to yourself using non-computer technology?  And how on Earth
is correcting a non-issue "patronizing"?

I'll tell you who's being patronizing...

> >  >    ...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.
> Why should they, though? All you've said is "because I said so".
> That's a rotten reason.

It might be, but it's the reason for a lot of things in life.  Tough nuggets.
Some things Just Are.  Why do you have to hit a button when you're done typing,
shouldn't the machine just figure that out?  Why, in fact, do you have to type
at all, shouldn't the machine just know what you're thinking?

For Pete's sake.
> >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.
> Then you ought to try running lists where you need the users more
> than they need you. It's very eye opening. but if you run lists where
> you can dictate "do it my way or leave, and I don't care", it does
> save you a lot of hassle...
> I can't.

OK, I'll bite: what sort of lists do you run where you need the users more than they need you,
and why?  And moreover, how do you plan on changing the laws of physics for those users,
since after all, "Because I said so" isn't a good enough reason for anything, according
to the diatribe above?

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