Sin #2 Treating users as technical idiots, and trying to keep them that way

Famous 5 minutes install, ha? no need to know anything at all about the web, webservers, PHP, MySQL, browsers, javascript, CSS, HTML (short list of things you actually need to know to some degree in order to operate a site for the long term), just upload the software to your hosting and click a button. Oh wait, that is too hard, it requires to setup a DB first and to use an FTP software, lets do it even easier and cooperate with the hosting companies to have a “one click install” in which the user will need to know only the domain name (I guess that with some shared hosting even that is not required), no other technical knowledge required.

Just try to imagine this kind of process in any other aspect of life. For example, you want to drive a car? just go and buy one, 5 minute for the credit card transaction to be approved, 5 more minutes to get the keys and sign documents and you can just drive. Learn how the car operates? Driving laws? what for, it takes too much time.
Even when you buy a commodity appliance like a laptop you are expected to have some basic understanding in the technical aspects, but the WordPress motto is “we serve the lazy and the dumb”.

There is nothing wrong with focusing on serving the dumb and lazy, as long as you are always doing the right decisions, and again with the way the internet changes all the time it is just impossible.  The problem starts when you do not give them any tool to work with when they actually decide that they do want to understand “how it works”. This is why from time to time there is a question on stackexchange about how to secure the login form against brute force attacks, when at least some of the time the people that ask to not even know they have an xml-rpc end point through which they can be attacked.

And when you do not even know there is anything to learn you are unlikely to learn it. A sad positive feedback loop.

Inspired and helped to articulate feelings into words by this great blog post by @rarst.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *