Linked by Thom Holwerda on Wed 17th Feb 2010 12:29 UTC
Editorial Recently, a story about people mistaking a news story for the Facebook login page has received considerable media attention. It's currently being seen by many as justification for the recent trend in locking people out of their computers for their own protection - but anyone with even basic mathematical skills and a calculator should come to the conclusion that this story has been blown way out of proportion.
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RE: Of dumb people.
by leos on Wed 17th Feb 2010 15:31 UTC in reply to "Of dumb people."
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I can understand people that type "facebook login" in the search box.
I can understand they click on the first result without reading just out of habit.
I can understand they are surprised to not find what they expected.
But I cannot understand that, instead of trying to understand what's happened, they actually waste time to look for the comment box and write complains.

And not once during that entire process do they stop to think that perhaps if it doesn't quack like a duck, or look like a duck, it might not be a duck.

That I just cannot comprehend. One would assume that these people function in normal society, so they know what a newspaper article is. They know that just because an article mentions Ford they are not at the Ford website (or maybe not?). So what exactly is the process going on in the brain to lead to this? I think this could be a fascinating study for a psychology PHD.
The force of habit (I've done this a million times) is so strong that it overwhelms the logic centers of the brain in some people.

As for what to do about that? I don't think you can do anything. Google should not have had this site as the number one result, so perhaps we can work on better search algorithms so this happens less often.
I don't think anything else can be done though. If people confuse one site for another, when those sites look completely different, then what chance do they have against a phishing attack? What we need to do is emphasize education. Let's make sure that anyone that goes through the school system takes a half-term on the Internet and Internet safety.

We don't have any formal training and most of the people giving advice are wrong. Just like in learning how to ride a motorcycle, it has been found that if you learn from your friend you are the most likely to get in an accident. If you teach yourself you will be somewhat less likely to crash, and if you learn from a professional you are the least likely. Most people learn about the internet from their friends that barely know more than they do.

Barring formal education, one of the things we could do is to develop a really nice interactive tutorial that comes up the first time you open your browser after install (or after you get your computer). It would show you the basics of getting around on the Internet, and the major components of the browser, and internet safety. There are plenty of tutorials like that, but none of them are actually presented to the user when they need it (right at the beginning). I think a truly first class tutorial integrated into the major browsers would do a lot for new computer users.

Edited 2010-02-17 15:37 UTC

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