Sunday, September 26th, 2010...1:27 am

Excursions in Stupidity

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Sarah PalinA popular quote goes along the lines of “There is a constant battle between engineers and the universe; engineers are constantly finding new ways to make technology more idiot friendly – the universe is finding new ways to make bigger idiots. Currently the universe is winning” Welcome to the world of the ID-Ten-T.

And indeed, it’s very true, it would seem that no matter what you do, you constantly get idiots who fail to use stuff properly, fail to read instructions and fail to communicate their issue. So, during my time, I’ve built up a classification of idiocy and the forms it comes in. Of course there will always be people who have difficulties and those who do and communicate it succinctly are not the people I am referring to, but there are a seemingly disproportionate number of those who seem to either knowingly or unknowingly make themselves difficult to support.

  1. The Indignant Idiot – this type of moron loves to scream “IT DOESN’T WORK” (typically in all caps) or give disparaging one liners such as “Crap” or “Useless” with no effort whatsoever to justify or explain the problem. I’ve found the best way to deal with this type of twerp is to offer help and simultaneously rebuke them for their aggressive non-constructive attitude, if they persist, just tell them you’ve no interest in receiving more of their abuse. Naturally, their grasp of written English tends to vary, although it’s worth pointing out that those who have English as a second language are rarely offenders of this category.
  2. The Waffling Idiot - this person is someone who is very gifted at writing several paragraphs without revealing any information about their problem, or alternatively, offering such a convoluted description that it requires several reads to work out the basic gist of their problem, if their grasp of grammar is poor, as it tends to be, you end up confronted with a wall of text. Naturally the best way of dealing with this is to ask them to sum up the problem in as few words as possible, or if they’re simply incapable of it, get screenshots.
  3. The “Expert” Idiot – this is probably one of the worst kinds, especially when combined with #1: this is someone who generally considers themselves a bit of a hotshot and therefore FAR too clever or important to bother reading the dialogs and instructions presented to them – so naturally when something does go wrong because of something they failed to read, in their mind, there’s no possibility at all that this issue could be their own fault and hence pinpointing the problem can be rather difficult.
  4. The Utter Retard – not much to say about this one, this is the sort of person who is so utterly stupid, when presented with an error caused by their own computer, such as a firewall blocking the app, they are completely unable to get around this hurdle due to their complete technical incompetence – in many cases such these people fit in #1, and the only real way of dealing with this level of abject stupidity is to simply do the job for them. Their problem is usually accompanied by a diabolically shite grasp of English despite the fact they themselves live in an English-speaking country and you do wonder to yourself how they get through the day if they speak anything like they write.

I think the above 4 pretty much sum it up nicely; you can of course derive many subsets if you want to get extremely in-depth about the subsets of stupidity, but in any case, I’d say this basically sums the lot up.


  • Greetings,
    I must say it is interesting what you write about. I am sure we all know, or have known at least a 1,2,3, and/or 4. Truth be told, we might of been one of these ourselves at one point of our lives. Hopefully it was an experience we need not repeat.

    On another note, it is good to see that one of the authors of HSPL is still active in spite of the rumors. Some at ppcgeeks have not been responded to, including me, regarding support for the unlocker. We keep getting messages of “commercial” use although we are private replacement phone users. Using stock Sprint ROM on TP2 is a bummer. Any help you can send our way would be greatly appreciated.

  • Personally, I think the solution to this whole problem is:

    1. Stop trying to make stuff idiot proof. It is possible to make stuff “user-friendly” without making it “idiot proof”. Admittedly, this is not EASY to do, but if there were fewer idiots designing stuff, it wouldn’t be as difficult. One example is to place things like program settings in places where it makes sense. Like an “Options” or “Settings” dialog box, most likely in a “Tools” menu.

    2. REMOVE WARNING LABELS – at least the ones that warn against things that defy all common sense. I mean, really…99.9% of the population of the (civilized) world doesn’t need to be told “do not immerse in water” on the box and/or in the manual (rolleyes) for their TOASTER! Removing such warning labels (and eliminating lawsuits based on I-D-10-T errors) would dramatically reduce the population of the worst-case idiots, and cause the lesser idiots to at least learn from experience.

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