Monday, October 15, 2001

Some people shouldn't use computers

I had the chance to correspond with a lovely individual today, whom I'll tell you about. Suffice it to say that, as the title suggests, some people just shouldn't use computers. But first let me give you a little back story...

I run several mailing lists, as many of you know. One of these is a fairly popular one that exists for developers and users of an open-source multiple-protocol messenging client to communicate. There are several hundred people on this mailing list, so I expect to get a "Please help me do something" email once in a while, and that's fine. What I don't expect (or tolerate) is the guy who corresponded with me today.

He wanted to be removed from the list. Aside from the fact that he couldn't figure out how to remove himself from the list when instructions on how to do so are included with every email sent out on said list, his tone wasn't exactly friendly, as, I'm sure, yours would be if you were asking somebody to help you. I, being the caring individual that I am, reflected upon the old axiom: Give a man a fish and he'll eat for a day. Teach him to fish and he'll never go hungry. I decided not to unsubscribe him myself, but rather tell him how to do it himself. I forwarded him a URL to the options page for this particular list:
 Date: Mon, 15 Oct 2001 13:12:00 -0300 (ADT) From: Steve Dinn  To: [removed] Cc: Subject: Re: remove me   To be removed, go to:[your email address]  Example (for me):   If you've forgotten, or don't know, your password, there's a facility to have it emailed to you.          -Steve. 
I thought I was being fairly helpful. I was nice and polite, despite the fact that he was neither with me. I felt good about myself. I had helped another human being. My karma was up.

What a jolt to the system when I got this back:
 From Mon Oct 15 17:55:07 2001 Date: Mon, 15 Oct 2001 13:50:43 EDT From: [removed] To: Subject: Re: remove me  This link does not work??????????  UNSUBSCRIBE ME NOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  In a message dated 10/15/2001 9:12:14 AM Pacific Daylight Time, writes:[your email address] 
I was taken aback. What am i to say to something like this? Here I was attempting to enlighten this poor, poor person, and yet they strike at me as if I am an eskimo to their baby seal. I wasn't about to stand for it. I paused, pensively for a moment, collecting my thoughts, and then put the proverbial pen to paper (yes, I know I'm on a computer):
 From Mon Oct 15 17:55:38 2001 Date: Mon, 15 Oct 2001 14:59:16 -0300 (ADT) From: Steve Dinn  To: [removed] Subject: Re: remove me  Jesus, calm down buddy.  What's your problem?  I'll unsubscribe for you.  In case you didn't realize, a complete set of list commands are included with *every* email that goes out from the list.  Perhaps you should try reading those before flying off the handle at people who really have nothing to do with your inability to comprehend simple instructions. People would be much more willing to help you if you didn't come off as such a prick.  You _did_ replace "[your email address]" with "[removed]", right?     -Steve. 
He hasn't responded yet. I kinda hope he does...I think I'll tell him that I infected my last email with anthrax :)

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