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Who are you accusing of “kidding”?

By Shamus
on Wednesday Mar 21, 2007
Filed under:


Please determine: Is this person kidding, or not?

I really need to know. Corvus is convinced it’s parody. I hope he’s right.

If the guy is kidding, he’s the most cunning troller I’ve ever seen. Watch him toss his sabot into that talkback thread and stroll off, leaving an aftermath of angry, outraged, or dumbfounded replies.

Comments (36)

  1. Martin Greenberg says:

    Yeah he’s kidding/being sarcastic. He starts that thread here with a
    slightly more informed rant.


  2. Zerotime says:

    He’s either kidding, or he’s some sort of superpowered Paul Thurrott clone on crack.

  3. Dan Morrison says:

    Just a really cool troll.
    Incredible amount of diggs etc on it already.
    Brillantly done.

    ( deliberate typo, see http://worsethanfailure.com/Articles/The_Brillant_Paula_Bean.aspx )

  4. Tom says:

    Oh, that is amusing. I’m with Corvus, it is a deliberate parody. No one that technically clueless would also know what OS/2 was for starters.

  5. gedece says:

    He’s just ignorant. The assumption that windows XP is a more complete operating system than Debian, Gentoo, Knoppix….even Mandriva, it’s simply ridiculous. But what really tipped me off was the idea that Linux requires a Windows to run…..

    Where he got that idea I don’t know but certainly isn’t true, and most people know it, so why use that as an argument?

  6. Definitely a troll, and a nicely done one too. A lot of small things in there which will cause a blood-pressure spike in certain places, such as his throw-away comment about Apple switching to rely on “Intel and Windows”.

    Gedece, here, went for it hook-line-and-sinker.

  7. phlux says:

    I don’t know how you can say that’s a “more informed rant,” Martin. It sounds just as idiotic as the first one. Unless….unless you TOO are engaging in the sarcasm and the parody!!!

    I agree with Tom, though…he knows just a little TOO much lingo to be that clueless. It’s just trolling.

  8. Telas says:

    Definite troll, and a good one, too.

    Linux: Operating system, hobby, or religion. Discuss.

  9. Mordaedil says:

    This person knows about OS/2 and claims Linux came up overnight and is up to date on Windows’ latest OS system.

    I say he’s either been in a time machine, slept for the last 10 years or is ridiculously misinformed. No matter what he is, it’s funny to read.

  10. Deoxy says:

    The OS/2 reference gives it away – it’s the biggest give-away, anyway. Well-informed and enjoying yanking people’s chains… though the “Linux runs on Windows” thought probably DID come from a very clueless person who actually thought that, frighteningly enough.

    On that thought, here’s an actual call I took back when I worked tech support:

    Clueless Moron: “Netscape isn’t working.”
    Me: “OK, are you on a Mac or a PC?”
    CM: “I don’t know – how do you tell?”

    After years of therapy, I can now tell that story without cringing in pain or even twitching uncontrollably – well, mostly.

  11. Phiend says:

    I say it's a hoax simply because the misspellings and bad grammar just don't have the right feel. I've seen too many trolls and for some reason this one just feels planned. The content, I could believe it, I've seen people who honestly believe things just as ridiculous as that.

  12. Brian says:

    Oh, that’s priceless. Good, good stuff.

  13. eloj says:

    I thought it was pretty clear the first time I read it, in conjuction with the article it’s attached to, that’s it a sarcastic remark.

  14. Teague says:

    Pretty funny, and I think it’s a joke, too.
    I do have to object, though, to the attitude Deoxy and others show towards those ignorant of computer workings. Calling someone a jerk who spouts off without knowing their stuff (like, if the article was serious) is one thing, but calling someone a moron, or worse, because they don’t have the same life experience as you is, well, being a jerk. I cringed just as badly when someone told me his retractable cupholder wasn’t working, but I didn’t think him a moron.

  15. ngthagg says:

    Definitely a troll. As mentioned above, he knows too much to know so little. It is nice to see people putting a little time and effort into their trolling.


  16. Friggin’ hillarious. Absolutely done in jest. The OS/2 reference is a dead giveaway.

  17. Deoxy says:

    “do have to object, though, to the attitude Deoxy and others show towards those ignorant of computer workings.”

    I don’t mind ignorant people; no really, I don’t. Everyone starts off ignorant. What bothers me is that people REMAIN ignorant, even when their JOB involves the use of a computer. Those people are either morons or [insert profanities here].

    If I took a job working with cars, I’d learn more about them than just where the gas goes in, and I’d do it as quickly as I could. Like how to tell if a vehicle takes regular or diesel, for instance (a similar level of difference as “Mac or PC”) – that would be day one (or sooner).

    This isn’t about “life experience”, it’s about choosing to remain ignorant at your own AND OTHER PEOPLE’S expense.

  18. Teague says:


    As far as your point goes, I see it, but I have some additional thoughts. In your example of a job working with cars, do you mean as, say, someone who commutes by car to work, a taxi driver, or a mechanic? All use cars for their work, but on very different levels. Getting back to your original story, was the “CM” a tech support guy, or just an accountant or secretary or something who uses a computer as a tool for part of their job? Again, all use computers, but there’s a big difference.
    I apologize for calling you out so specifically. I guess it just came off as a convenient example of people who arrogantly believe that others should know everything that they know, otherwise they must suffer from some diminished mental capacity. If that’s not the way you meant it, then call it an internet misunderstanding.
    Either way, didn’t you say you were working tech support? Wouldn’t that make it your job? Like you were getting paid?

  19. Luke says:

    Definitely a troll. As people above said, no one who was this clueless would know about OS/2.

    Teague, if people would know as much about their computers as they know about their cars, we IT people would not need therapy after working in the industry for a few years.

    Foe example, you can ask any driver out there the following questions and in most cases they will give you informer answers:

    1. what car do you drive?
    2. what’s your car’s millage?
    3. how many miles to a gallon do you get?
    4. how many gallons fit in your tank
    5. is it a 4 cylinder or 6 cylinder engine?
    6. what company made your car?
    7. what kind of engine oil and/or break fuel do you recommend?

    It doesn’t really matter if the person is a mechanic, a cab driver, or a commuter. Most people will be able to answer at least half of these questions, even if they are not really that much into cars. Now let’s try a similar set of descriptive questions regarding computers:

    1. what kind of computer do you have?
    2. what is your CPU speed?
    3. how much memory do you have?
    4. how big is hour hard drive?
    5. what kind of operating system are you running?
    6. what company made your computer?
    7. what kind of anti-virus software would you recommend?

    I find that most people that call tech support can answer only one or two questions from this list, and we have to tell them how to look up the rest. And the information in both cases is not all that much different. Both car and computer specs are just numbers, acronyms and brand names. I always find it funny how the same person can remember a hundred different meaningless factoids about their car, and a hundred more about their dream car, and about the car they are going to buy in 2 years if they can afford it, but never bother learning few really basic facts about their computer.

    If you asked someone what card do they drive, and their answer was: “Um… I don’t know… How do I check that?” wouldn’t you think they are either messing with you, or are really dumb and/or ignorant?

    This is what we deal with every single day, and yet somehow it is not appropriate for us to look down on people who can’t even figure out what kind of computer they use?

  20. some kid says:

    That’s funny. Check out this site


  21. Martin says:

    I said slightly more informed, not more correct.
    More to the point, his post illustrates that
    he understands OS’s dependencies on drivers
    to interface to the hardware but he somehow
    cannot accept that Linux is an OS with its
    own drivers, not an application on top of

  22. Teague says:


    I see now that my reaction was somewhat knee-jerk, but based on some specific principles.

    1) There are a lot of people who look down on others because they don’t have (and don’t care to have, that’s why we pay mechanics, etc.) the same level of knowledge in a certain area.

    2) There are many people who are extrememly competent with computers, but, even when they employ a spell-check program of some sort, don’t take a few seconds to proofread their written/typed work, which leads to the credibility of their points being reduced by spelling and grammar errors.

    3) There are many people with great technical skill that choose teaching and/or managerial and/or customer (internal or external) service positions without the psychological make-up and/or training to function effectively in that capacity. I feel less sympathy for them than I do their students/employees/customers.

    Please don’t take any of this as any more than my inadvertant hijacking of Shamus’ thread for my own ranting. (Sorry, Shamus!) If the shoe fits, though, by all means put it on.

    And I did lighten up long enough to enjoy some kid’s link. Thanks!

  23. Luke says:

    Teague – I think it was a knee-jerk reaction on both sides. :)

    #1 – Personally I really do not expect people who do not work in my field to know even a fraction of the stuff I know. I actually don’t expect people to know anything. I wish they at least knew some basic stuff – ie. the kind of stuff they would know about their car for example. Unfortunately few people do, and I see it as a social problem of sorts.

    #2 – Point taken. I did not proofread the post before hitting submit, and so I have no excuse for my typos.

    #3 – I’m not a BOFH. Sometimes I wish I was (that lifestyle is probably much less stressful), but I just don’t have it with me. I’m always very polite, and I do take time and extra care to make sure that my users are happy, even when they don’t deserve it, or make me want to bang my head against the desk. Most people who work in IT are the same way. We are there to help people, and this is what we are going to do, even it it kills us.

    Still, it doesn’t mean that we sometimes do not feel the need to vent and joke about “clueless users” we have to work with. ;)

    As I said before, I think that most people are fully capable of comprehending the bare minimum of technical knowledge – see the car analogy. A lot of people simply refuse to learn more about their machines. I see this as a deeply rooted socio-psychological issue. I think part of the issue here are stereotypes: talking about fast cars is cool but talking about fast computers is geeky.

    Because of this I think a lot of people who could be much more productive and self reliant (ie. be able to work without calling tech support 3 times a day), sometimes refuse to learn more about their machines because subconsciously they don’t want to be perceived as a geek, or simply think that they do not need to have this “geeky” knowledge.

    That’s just my theory…

    But yes, I do understand were you are coming from. But there are always two sides of the coin. And in this case both sides are right. Yes, we can be arrogant, and stuck up some times, but on the other hand, so can be the users when they refuse to follow instructions, remember simple things we teach them.

  24. josh says:

    Most of Luke’s car questions are easier to answer for good reason. They either a) have ongoing economic repercussions (mileage) or b) have only a few answers (gas tank size, number of pistons). For computers, the CPU speed, memory size and hard drive size just don’t matter very much. Hardware is generally overpowered today, and you can get by with the entry level PC for several years (unless you’re a gamer).

    The only equivalent questions would be #1, because everyone can answer PC or mac, and #7, where people don’t know which antivirus program to use or what kind of engine oil, because they have someone else do it.

    What I’m trying to say is that the information you’re asking for in each category really *is* very different.

  25. Teague says:

    (discussion moved to Luke’s blog article from which he quotes above for Shamus’ sake)

  26. Luke says:

    Hm… I was not trying to match the questions one by one – just to be in the same ballpark. But, ok – let’s assume that CPU speed and RAM do not really matter much to an average person. But, hard drive size does matter for very practical reasons – it tells you how many more movies and mp3’s you can store in there.

    I guess a car question analogous to CPU speed for a car would be the top speed of that car, or perhaps how fast does it accelerate from 0 to a 100 mph or something among those lines. And once again, a lot of people would know these little factoids about their cars for some reason.

    Then again, I personally thing that CPU and RAM stats can be important because most software has hardware requirements posted on the box. So to make an educated decision about purchasing, say a copy of Vista you probably need to have at least an idea of what kind of hardware you have.

  27. […] this topic started as a comment on the Twenty Sided blog, but I kinda went with it and reposted it here. tags: computers, cars, clueless, lusers, […]

  28. Matt says:

    I saw that a little while back and the number of replies shouting him down as a moron and explaining what linux is really threw me because it seemed so obvious to me that it was just some guy yanking their collective chain.

  29. T-Boy says:

    I… um…

    I couldn’t be arsed to figure out if he was joking, actually.

    I think my brain shuts down when someone tries to bring yet Yet Another Frickin’ Holy War Issue On The Internet now.

  30. Deoxy says:

    Teague – Luke said it much better than I. I LIKE to help people (I tutored people FOR FREE in high school – stuff that I learned in elementary school, sometimes), so it’s not about that at all (though you are right that there are arrogant techie types) – his car analogy is much better than mine, too (and see josh’s comment, too – “The only equivalent questions would be #1, because everyone can answer PC or mac”… not EVERYONE, josh).

    I’m going to go to Luke’s blog now to read the discussion over there.

    Side note: My spelling usually pretty good, but the “e” key on my keyboard is on the fritz, so kindly ignore any misspellings involving missing or multiple “e”s; I try to catch them, but some slip through.

  31. AndrewNZachsDad says:

    So, this response to Jerry tickled me. See if you can figure out why…

    Houston, we have a problem
    Wow this is the funniest thing I’ve read in literally days…. I mean.. you were able to form complete sentences and avoid most spelling errors so I’d imagine you’re not mentally handicapped, but GOD DAMN you missed the mark on that one….


    The interesting parts are:

    “you were able to form complete sentences and avoid most spelling errors”



    If I were to make a comment on someone else’s spelling (even if it were a backhanded compliment like this) I would try VERY HARD to make sure my usage of the language was correct. I think what the poster meant to say was “YOU’RE WRONG. Hehe…

  32. AndrewNZachsDad says:

    And so I missed closing quotes (blush)

  33. Me: “OK, are you on a Mac or a PC?”
    CM: “I don't know – how do you tell?”

    …wait. How DO you tell?


  34. Ermel says:

    I think the whole car vs. computer analogy falls down because to those who aren’t really interested in either, a car is still a big part of life (if only cost-wise) whereas a computer is just another appliance like a dishwasher or DVD player. So Luke, what’s the top rpm of your wasing machine? ;-)

  35. Ermel says:

    Grr. Washing machine of course. Hey Shamus, I’d really like to be able to edit comments aftzer having submitted them!

  36. Luke says:

    Ermel – I don’t agree. I use a washing machine maybe once a week to do my laundry. I use both the car and the computer every single day. I could live without a washing machine. I could wash my underwear and socks by hand, and take my shirts to the cleaners. If tomorrow I decided not to use washing machines anymore, I would only have to make small adjustments to my daily life.

    If I decided not to use computers or cars anymore I would have to quit my job (no way to get to work, no way to do my job without a computer), quit school (no way to get there, no way I could finish my MS in computer science without using a computer), and move out of the suburbs (everything would be to far, no good public communication), would and completely change my lifestyle. I think the same would be true for most people.

    I would venture to say that these days computers are almost as important as cars in our lives.

    Most of us use a computer to work. We use it for entertainment (playing games, watching videos), for keeping touch with friends. We also use it to shop, and get our news. Hell, during most days I use computers more than I use a car. The car is pretty much a vessel that takes me from one computer to another. :)

    I think car is a good analogy, even if it is much more expensive.

One Trackback

  1. […] this topic started as a comment on the Twenty Sided blog, but I kinda went with it and reposted it here. tags: computers, cars, clueless, lusers, […]

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