Linked by Thom Holwerda on Sun 23rd Sep 2007 10:54 UTC, submitted by irbis
Bugs & Viruses "For at least a decade, the standard advice to every computer user has been to run antivirus software. But new, more commercial, more complex and stealthier types of malware have people in the industry asking: will antivirus software be effective for much longer? Among the threats they see are malware that uses the ability of the latest processors to run virtual machines that would be hidden from antivirus programs." Note: Please note that our icon contest is still running! So if you have an idea on how to rework this story's icon, read this.
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RE[2]: ...
by Morin on Sun 23rd Sep 2007 19:54 UTC in reply to "RE: ..."
Morin
Member since:
2005-12-31

> I've read the comments and can agree with some and disagree with
> others.

Same for me.

> But since you seem to know exactly how average users' mind works,
> could you please elaborate?

I did not say so, and therefore refuse to comment on your statement, except for explaining what I actually said: Plain ignorance, as in "the user is stupid", "the user must be educated", "the user is ignorant", and not even thinking about the question *why* the users does what he/she does, is ubiquitous in this comments section.

May I add now that calling the user ignorant under these conditions is hypocritical.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[3]: ...
by chrono13 on Sun 23rd Sep 2007 20:46 in reply to "RE[2]: ..."
chrono13 Member since:
2006-10-25

I work with hundreds of end users and on some of my spare time, with family and friends.

They are ignorant. Just as ignorant toward a computer as I am a car.

I understand the basics, and I change my oil, and I am always willing to learn more, especially when someone says it is important, or that I should know it just to keep my vehicles in good shape or drive.

Average computer users are ignorant. This is not a bad thing. Reasonably, they should not have to learn anything beyond phishing. Everything else should be secure by OS design, the admin, and in the cases where they are the admin (home), the OS should at least be secure by default, so that securing it does not require knowing as much about your computer as your mechanic knows about your car.

If a user believes that Dancing Bunny's are harmless, it is ignorance, not stupidity.

If I had to know as much as my mechanic to drive, I wouldn't. Or, I would drive anyway and complain like hell when someone tells me that I should have known that I need to spend $50/year for muffler gremlin protection, and that I need to do a half dozen things under the hood monthly to make sure the engine doesn't fall apart.

To ask that anyone, let alone someone who just wants to use the computer, to know the amount of knowledge required to turn Windows default unsecure state into even moderately secure is unreasonable. The efforts required to sustain it thereafter, unreasonable even to those who know how.

They aren't stupid, users are only assuming things which we take for granted to know otherwise. Windows is not secure, and it is almost never the fault of a user when they get a virus, or other malware, or simply do not know any better. They are assuming things that should be true.

The user is not to blame for the failings of the Operating System. This is true for all operating systems. For Windows it is the lack of security and stability, for Linux it is the lack of user friendliness, neighbor support (chicken and the egg), and so on.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[4]: ...
by Morin on Sun 23rd Sep 2007 21:58 in reply to "RE[3]: ..."
Morin Member since:
2005-12-31

[@chrono13]

My comment obviously doesn't apply to you, as you are trying to understand the users. I think we agree that the users *are* ignorant, but trying to fix the whole malware problem at the user is bound to fail. Your car analogy is spot on.

[@Doc Pain]

Same here. However, there are some specific arguments i'd like to reply to:

> Uninformed / misinformed users are one problem, you surely will
> admit it.

Yes, I admit it. I just don't think that this direction of thought will lead to a solution for the problem. Or better, it won't lead to a *complete* solution as long as it does not include technical perfection of the system itself.

> Maybe you're lucky and mostly encounter the smarter users along your
> daily work.

Mostly yes, but I did have the "pleasure" to fix the computers of the "black sheep" too. Luckily I'm not doing this as a job, so I am seldom asked to fix computers, and then mostly by friends.

My argument still holds though: Take a user with no knowledge about the workings of a computer, who will neither explain a problem properly that he encountered, nor even listen to your questions or replies - yes, the user is ignorant, but it's equally ignorant to call him stupid and claim that he/she must be educated. Regardless of the fact that you'll never "educate" him/her.

> I'd like to add that there are individuals around who like to know
> more, experience computers in detail and understand how they
> work. Some software (OSes, apps) give them the ability to do so,
> other software, usually "dumbed down", doesn't.

I find it refreshing to give a user *real* insight in this area (and of course, other areas too). If they can learn themselves, the better. Sometimes this needs special software, sometimes not: For example, the more I work with Mac OSX, the more cases I encounter where I find it too dumbed-down (read: not configurable). For a newbie though, OSX might be ideal to learn some basics. A developer on the other hand may find Linux more interesting because all its inner workings can be studied.

However, a system that can be studied en detail does not equate to a system that *needs* excessive user-knowledge and maintenance.

> This leads me to this conclusion: Would a "two classes" software
> offering be a solution? A "read only PC" for home use? Functional
> software for professionaly only? I think you agree: This would be
> problematic.

A read-only PC would be enough for many people. Above that, it may be sufficient if advanced features are hidden by default but can be unlocked - possibly by passing some kind of "user exam", which can be as simple as *finding* the switch to enable advanced options.

I agree that it's a hard problem, but I think it's also an interesting problem ;)

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[3]: ...
by Doc Pain on Sun 23rd Sep 2007 21:07 in reply to "RE[2]: ..."
Doc Pain Member since:
2006-10-08

"I did not say so, and therefore refuse to comment on your statement, except for explaining what I actually said: Plain ignorance, as in "the user is stupid", "the user must be educated", "the user is ignorant", and not even thinking about the question *why* the users does what he/she does, is ubiquitous in this comments section."

As you may have read from my comments, users usually aren't interested in particular procedures (How do you do this?), but in pure results (I want this.). Distracting information should be kept away from them in order not to irritate them, so they can concentrate on achieving their goal.

"May I add now that calling the user ignorant under these conditions is hypocritical."

Uninformed / misinformed users are one problem, you surely will admit it. Other problems are criminals benefitting from this situation, and software manufacturers that (unintentionally?) support these "evil-doers". Additionally, there are persons with dangerous half-knowledge. They are spread in all three groups mentioned. There are users who are plain stupid, but I (thankfully) think it's not the majority...

Example?

First Man: "My laptop is running so slow and crashes all the time. I'm going to take it to the shop to check it for viruses."
Second Man: "I don't worry about viruses. Not many people know that viruses work in the back of the memory, and Windows is in the front of the memory. So it's something else."

More at http://www.rinkworks.com/stupid/cs_viruses.shtml

To be serious once again, I do understand your opinion. Maybe you're lucky and mostly encounter the smarter users along your daily work. The "users are stupid" mentality usually comes from the poor individuals who had to get along with the "more narrow minded" users. Hey, some of them even seem to be unable to use their own native language. :-) The more you make the computer usable to the average individual, the less it is usable to the professional user, but the professionals finally are the ones who create software. It's as if you create a toy toolkit (hammer, nails, saw) that looks like a real toolkit, but is made of harmless material (rubber hammer, polystyrene nails, paper saw) so it won't harm anyone; and now you give this toolkit to its manufacturer so he should use it to produce more of them... tricky situation, strange analogy, I know.

I'd like to add that there are individuals around who like to know more, experience computers in detail and understand how they work. Some software (OSes, apps) give them the ability to do so, other software, usually "dumbed down", doesn't.

This leads me to this conclusion: Would a "two classes" software offering be a solution? A "read only PC" for home use? Functional software for professionaly only? I think you agree: This would be problematic.

If you give something to users, it's too complicated.
If you take something off them, they feel delimited.

Final line here: Computers (still) aren't easy. q.e.d. :-)

Reply Parent Score: 2