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Are You Annoying? 656

cweditor writes "This Computerworld article looks at some habits of people in general and IT pros in particular that can drive co-workers crazy."
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Are You Annoying?

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  • by Ghoser777 ( 113623 ) <fahrenba@[ ].com ['mac' in gap]> on Saturday July 24, 2004 @11:16AM (#9789095) Homepage
    Yes.

    Next slashdot article please.
    • Michael posting a story about annoying people in the IT industry. Isn't that just a bit ironic?
      • Alanis, that word - "irony" - it does not mean what you think it means.

        Here [guardian.co.uk] is a nice story from the Guardian that might clue you in a little bit.

        Oh, co-workers who correct colleagues on points of grammar and/or spelling are, in fact, annoying.

    • HA (Score:5, Funny)

      by mfh ( 56 ) on Saturday July 24, 2004 @11:24AM (#9789154) Homepage Journal
      I think this is the only article in the history of Slashdot that could make GNAA comments, trolling and general bad behaviour -- ON TOPIC!

      Annoying people exist everywhere. The trick is to direct their annoying behaviour at your foes.
      • Re:HA (Score:5, Funny)

        by cynic10508 ( 785816 ) on Saturday July 24, 2004 @12:10PM (#9789404) Journal

        Annoying people exist everywhere. The trick is to direct their annoying behaviour at your foes.

        Doesn't Sun Tzu devote an entire chapter to that in his Art of War?

        • Re:HA (Score:3, Informative)

          Well, no. He does spend a lot of text describing how to let your enemy hang himself with a noose of his own making, starving an enemy out by capturing his supplies, using captured enemy forces, and exploiting the sensitivities of your foe. The closest reference I can find is to employ spies you intend to be captured (doomed spies), and make sure what they know is exactly what you want the enemy to think.

          But annoying people are generally to be dismissed, executed, or sent off to die on some god forsaken hi

        • Re:HA (Score:4, Funny)

          by MarcQuadra ( 129430 ) * on Saturday July 24, 2004 @03:40PM (#9790516)
          My trick is to use verbiage completely alien to the rest of people.

          I don't 'restart that service', I 'spank the server' it.

          I don't say 'it might be broken', I say 'it's borked'

          I don't 'change some settings', I 'frobbed the config'

          and the best is that instead of 'reimage' I 'swipe-and-wipe'
      • Re:HA (Score:3, Funny)

        I think this is the only article in the history of Slashdot that could make GNAA comments, trolling and general bad behaviour -- ON TOPIC!
        I would humbly ask the moderators not to mod said classes of comments up, though...
    • by jfruhlinger ( 470035 ) on Saturday July 24, 2004 @11:46AM (#9789286) Homepage
      And then the Star Trek quote in your sig to prove your point ... priceless!

      jf
    • Re:The answer is (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Gabrill ( 556503 ) on Saturday July 24, 2004 @12:19PM (#9789469)
      That's not an article. It's an advertisement for a book.
  • Soon people stop coming to you and asking you things, and you end up without a job.

    That's the whole point!
  • by foidulus ( 743482 ) * on Saturday July 24, 2004 @11:17AM (#9789107)
    when I declared that every other Tuesday was pants-optional day. Needless to say, very few ever join me.
  • ARRRRGGHHHHH, I'm surrounded by mail clipper noise.
  • by LostCluster ( 625375 ) * on Saturday July 24, 2004 @11:18AM (#9789111)
    One thing IT geeks need to remember is that if a user is bothering us, something in the system is broken. Even if it's the user that's malfunctioning, they're still a part of the system. They can be repaired via retraining and also replaced via human resouce departments.
    • by fermion ( 181285 ) on Saturday July 24, 2004 @01:22PM (#9789836) Homepage Journal
      I will one step further. The humans in the process are able to be retrained or terminated. But another part of the process is available resources and human vagaries. For example, there may be no resources for training or replacement with more qualified humans. Likewise, the process may not allow particular humans to be terminated, either because of real or perceived value.

      Now, the help desk people generally do not have the personal or company resources to adjust the processes to accommodate the available humans. However, there are many people in every organization who do have these resources, and yet do nothing. They sit at their expensive desks jacking off and shopping instead of finding creative solutions to quality and user interface issues. They blame the wage slaves and customers for not precisely following their half assed implementation of a process. They waste company resources by making expensive wage slave replacement a part of the process. I have seen both sides of this, so I am not talking from theory.

      So, if you see a problem, and cannot fix it yourself, document the problem, think of a solution, and don't just blame the people calling you.

      • That only works if there really is a problem.

        I once dealt with a situation where I had a group of users who would have vague computer problems usually "the network is slow" or some other difficult to verify gripe whenever they weren't in the mood to work.

        I got my ass chewed so repeatedly over this crap that I invested a massive amount of time and effort in monitoring these users, and documenting their supposed slow downs, and so when the end of the month rolled around and my monthly asschewing commenced I could produce reams of documentation proving that there were no problems.

        Did not make me very popular with about half the building, but I was dead tired of taking the heat for their sloppy work ethic and sheer incompetence.
        • by severoon ( 536737 ) on Saturday July 24, 2004 @03:40PM (#9790519) Journal

          I used to work with an IT guy that was apparently on the path to BOFH-dom. Whenever people used him as a crutch to get a little work slowdown, he'd actually find a problem. And that problem almost always required them to do extra work...maybe they'd lose that report they've been working on for a week, maybe all their personal configuration would get deleted. Maybe he discovered they weren't doing something frequently enough, such as updating virus definitions or backing up their data.

          Sometimes he'd even go to management and have a team-wide policy put in place that required extra work of everyone on that team. While frequently using that person, by name, as an example, he'd give a nice, boring lecture on what that person did or didn't do that caused the problem, and how the problem was bad enough, in that person's own words, to cause a big productivity hit.

          One thing I learned is that management loves IT guys that spotlight productivity problems and suggests lots of solutions.

          sev

          • Certainly smarter than me. =P

            I kept looking for phantom problems. They were mainly running a big database app, and for a good while, there actually WAS a problem with it. But we added about 10000% more server, and it was all fine.

            It was after that, that I started getting reamed. After all, I'd suggested more server and they'd paid for it, so why hadn't the problem gone away?

            The original system had run at about 99% cpu util. pretty much all the time, with bottlenecks everywhere, CPU, IO, RAM, everything. The new system generally hovered around 10% with spikes to 60% or 80% running across four processors. I checked IO and it wasn't that, I checked the network (which involved about 4 days crawling through ductwork with a fricking tone wand between my teeth. They had the best networking in the whole building---one jump from the server router to their router, and both routers were new and highly functional.

            It was at this point when I realized that I was being consciously fucked. It was priceless to watch their faces as I laid out my info. Since their job was repetitive and the database ran consistently (consistently bad. fucking VB.) I could tell what they were doing by the size and duration of the spikes. I even tested it out, after hours.

            It was seriously damning stuff; I could show every time they requested a new page, every time they submitted new data, or ran a query, and that stuff was consistently slow as hell. On the days when they claimed the network was slow the cpu utilization looked like a dead guys ekg. It was pretty obvious to everyone that it could hardly be slow if nothing was going on.

            The week after that was probably the worst week they ever had...The average utilization jumped through the roof, hovering around 70% and their boss hadn't worked down there since the new servers had been added, so everything looked blazing fast to her.

            I never wanted to be a BOFH, but there are times when I completely understand where they're coming from. Users can really suck.
  • what? (Score:3, Funny)

    by obli ( 650741 ) on Saturday July 24, 2004 @11:18AM (#9789112)
    I answer questions I know the answer to with "what?", then I answer it. Seems to piss lots of people off. =\
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 24, 2004 @11:18AM (#9789118)
    <blink><font color="red" size="+3"><marquee>Yes. </marquee></font>
  • by B1ackDragon ( 543470 ) on Saturday July 24, 2004 @11:19AM (#9789120)
    I mean, its simple. All you have to do is click on use advanced options radio button, and then click the change advanced settings. No, the little circle first, right. Then the advanced button, and select check hosts file and check Internet Explorer preferences, then click on Next and Continue and, grrr. MOOOVE.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 24, 2004 @11:19AM (#9789123)
    Are You Annoying?
    Irritating behaviors not only annoy your co-workers, but they can also compromise your effectiveness and even derail your career.

    News Story by Alan S. Horowitz [mailto]

    JULY 23, 2004 (COMPUTERWORLD) [computerworld.com] - Do you tell IT insider jokes that users don't understand? Do you sprinkle technical jargon through discussions with business people? Do you find that you've usually got the right answer to any problem and you let everyone know it? If so, you may be something you didn't think you were: annoying.

    Everyone's annoying some of the time, says Kimberly Alyn, a corporate trainer and co-author of Annoying People and Why You're One of Them [amazon.com] (Llumina Press, 2003). But annoying behavior can have serious consequences in IT, where it can compromise your effectiveness, wreak havoc with projects and even derail your career.

    Annoying behaviors are tricky because what annoys one person may sail by another. "You can say the same thing the same way to two people, and one person will say, 'Damn, that's annoying,' and the other person will not think anything of it," says Dan Bent, CIO at Benefit Systems Inc. in Indianapolis, an administrative services provider to health care plans.

    But annoying behavior in IT sends ripples through the whole business. Gary Langer, associate vice president for academic technology at Chicago's Roosevelt University, explains that when IT support people are annoying, "people lose confidence, and they just give up. They stop asking questions."

    Bent concurs. "You're always communicating with other people, and if you're annoying them, it reduces the likelihood your message will get across," he says.

    Projects may also suffer. Jackie Palmer, a senior product manager at CRM software maker E.piphany Inc. in San Mateo, Calif., tells of participating at a meeting for a large insurance company that involved implementing process change. "The only way to do it is get [users] to buy in themselves," says Palmer. But a consultant at the meeting began to dictate what would happen. "The users became very combative," she recalls. It took several weeks of meetings to resolve the issues, and the project fell behind schedule.

    If you think that you can't be annoying because you often work alone, think again. You still deal with people for support, advice and information, as well as to get a promotion, notes Gini Graham Scott, author of A Survival Guide for Working With Humans [amazon.com] (Amacom, 2004).

    For the worst offenders, the consequences of being annoying are potentially dire.

    "Say someone comes to you and asks you a question today, and they find you annoying," says Bent. "Maybe the next time, they'll ask someone else. Soon people stop coming to you and asking you things, and you end up without a job."

    The IT Niche

    IT has its own annoying quirks. Langer says some IT people label users as neophytes and then blame them for any difficulties. "The user insists their e-mail doesn't work, and the IT person says, 'My e-mail works perfectly,' and assumes the user is the problem. Users really find this annoying," he says.

    Some IT people are so sure they know what the problem is that they don't even listen to the user, says Katherine Spencer Lee, executive director at IT staffing firm Robert Half Technology in Menlo Park, Calif.

    IT people expect users to always know what they want, and they can get exasperated when they don't. "Business people have a right to change their minds, because the business changes," says Ellen Gottesdiener, principal consultant at EBG Consulting in Carmel, Ind.

    And IT folks often require the "right" decision, says Gerry McCartney, CIO at the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School in Philadelphia. "[They] have diffic
    • Dude - you can't karma whore if you post anonymously!
    • by schon ( 31600 ) on Saturday July 24, 2004 @11:34AM (#9789220)
      This line gave me a laugh:

      if you have a tendency to blurt things out and interrupt people, tell your listeners they'd be helping you by pointing out every time you do that

      Reminds me of this line from Wargames (spoken to Malvin, the stereotypical nerd):

      "Remember you told me to tell you when you were acting rudely and insensitively? Remember that? You're doing it right now."
    • And IT folks often require the "right" decision, says Gerry McCartney, CIO at the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School in Philadelphia. "[They] have difficulty between shades of gray," he says. "Sometimes there are a lot of 'rightish' answers," and insisting that there's just one can be annoying.

      I'm a big personality types guy and this to me screams J (as in judging, where judging types like things decided soon). Some say that fields like IT also cater to the conceptualist type, which is NT. And, i
  • by arieswind ( 789699 ) * on Saturday July 24, 2004 @11:20AM (#9789130) Homepage
    The article basically says "IT people can be annoying, and it can endanger your personal or work relationships. Never fear though, anything you do may or may not be annoying depending on who you talk to, so, for the sake of your job and your life, damit, stop being annoying!"

    Whats so special about annoying IT people? arent there plenty of annoying people in any given profession?
    • Why IT is annoying (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Jonathan ( 5011 ) on Saturday July 24, 2004 @11:28AM (#9789182) Homepage
      The problem is IT people can interfere with my work, but what I do doesn't affect them. For example, I'm a scientist. I know Linux inside and out and have been using it at home and elsewhere for over ten years. Yet, I don't have root access to my *own* Linux PC at work, which is behind the firewall. So whenever I need something installed, I need to ask IT, wait weeks, explain what's needed ten times to different IT people, and my productivity is hindered. As far as I'm concerned, IT is more or less useless, as I could do their job in addition to mine. And of course they know that -- that's why they don't give root access to us scientists.
      • by ZorinLynx ( 31751 )
        Just install the software in your home directory. Then you have your own copy that you maintain.

        I have tons of personal stuff I use installed in my home directory at work. The nice thing about UNIX software is that 99% of it can be installed anywhere, and doesn't have to be in system directories. You also don't need root to install 99% of software.

        The only downside is fascist admins who discourage the practice, or filling up the disk with your copy of SuperStatistics2002 which takes up 3GB. This is obviou
      • by alangmead ( 109702 ) * on Saturday July 24, 2004 @12:34PM (#9789553)

        Although I really, honestly, believe that you could be trusted with root on your linux box at work. (and if you just send your IT guys my way. I'll be willing to vouch for you.) there are some scenarios where giving even experienced users root is a bad idea for the company as a whole.

        • There are many tools for computer maintenance that are rarely needed for managing one or two machines, or maybe even cumbersome and time consuming. When the number of machines to manage rises, the extra burden amortizes out over the number of machines and they get to be time savers. Having a machine that isn't managed by the automated tools starts to become a much larger chore.
        • People who manage their own machine are much more likely to take shortcuts. ("How does that virtual interface stuff work in redhat's /etc/sysconfig/? Oh, they changed it in this version! Screwm. I'll just add it to /etc/rc.d/init.d/network.") Having machines maintained differently can be a time waster.
        • There is probably a wide gap between the people who know how to administer a machine, and the number of people who think they know how to. Very often the computer maintenance staff tell the difference, but telling one Unix guru that he can't have root is easier than telling the two dozen bozos that they can't. Guessing wrong can be disastrous too, because if anything happens to that machine, they will be responsible for it.

        Unfortunately, where I am is the worst of all worlds. The machines are maintained with automation tools, but they are set up poorly, so the default install is already screwed up. PC Tech support ignores Unix machines, so they are on their own and maintained by the individual users.

    • The problem is, IT has more than an abundance of, more than its share of pompous asses .
    • Oh, poor baby. Do the people who used to ridicule me and exlude me based on my looks, interests, intellect, vocabulary, or beliefs, feel that I am annoying? Oh, let me cuddle your fragile egos. NOT!!

      The only reason I try not to piss people off at work is that I know if I lost my job and live out my dream to poison-gas my high-school reunion, it'll be more work than if I just keep my mouth shut.

      Gee, I don't see anything about how annoying cab drivers, waiters, construction workers, football fans, etc, can

    • by khasim ( 1285 ) <brandioch.conner@gmail.com> on Saturday July 24, 2004 @02:17PM (#9790139)
      The article says that IT people should improve their communication skills in order to communicate more effectively with other people.

      BUT! There is an underlying assumption that the IT person's communication skills are sub-standard.

      What if it is the OTHER person's skill that is sub-standard. Well, the easy solution is to say that if the IT person was an even BETTER communicator, then s/he could compensate for the failings of the other person.

      From the article: "If I'm dealing with a [nonintuitive] person, I need to put things in concrete language. This person doesn't want abstractions."

      Now, the REAL PROBLEM is that it is MUCH MORE DIFFICULT to develop expert skills than it is to develop average skills.

      So it will ALWAYS be easier to blame the IT people for not having excellent communication skills than it is to realize that LOTS of people have POOR communication skills (and they're not all in IT).

      Again, that quote from the article...
      The person you are talking to understands ONE approach and is UNWILLING to work at grasping a different approach...

      So YOU have to be able to handle BOTH (or more?) approaches, re-phrase the material in either (any?) format and be able to determine WHICH approach the other person is locked into BEFORE you annoy him/her by repeating your material.

      Wouldn't it be so much easier for the other person to come up to an average level of understanding of abstract concepts?

      Rather than the IT person becoming an expert in BOTH concrete and abstract forms of communication?
  • NEWS FLASH (Score:5, Funny)

    by subk ( 551165 ) on Saturday July 24, 2004 @11:23AM (#9789144)
    THIS JUST IN: People in the IT sector have the same behavioral traits as all of the rest of the humans on earth. HOLY SHIT!
  • What is this? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Billobob ( 532161 ) <billobobNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Saturday July 24, 2004 @11:24AM (#9789158) Homepage Journal
    Some kind of new 21st century discrimination? I have to be in IT to be annoying? huh? HUH? HUH?
  • Annoyances. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by saintlupus ( 227599 ) on Saturday July 24, 2004 @11:27AM (#9789171) Homepage
    It may be annoying to my end users when I attempt to explain things to them and they don't understand the terms I'm using.

    But it's annoying to me when they insist on being ignorant about the tools that they need to do their jobs, and that I'm paid to maintain. A tiny bit of effort on their part would pay huge dividends.

    Why is is that people think being ignorant of how a computer works is something to be so damned _proud_ of? Nobody says "I'm car-illiterate" with a little chuckle after they wrap a sedan around a tree, but users who accidentally destroy their computers somehow think it's IT's fault.

    --saint
    • by kcurtis ( 311610 ) on Saturday July 24, 2004 @11:46AM (#9789283)
      This all reminds me of a poll [theregister.co.uk] reported on by the Register [theregister.co.uk] about how end users don't see themselves as responsible for their own actions when related to IT. Relevent quotes: -One in five people surveyed said they are "too busy to download anti-virus updates". -Depressingly, nine in ten of the workers quizzed believe that have no part to play in preventing the spread of viruses, preferring to leave responsibility to "their IT department, Microsoft or the government". With this kind of attitude, it is no wonder IT workers get sufficiently frustrated so as to be "annoying".
      • end users don't see themselves as responsible for their own actions when related to IT

        Here's an example - the old windows network login problem. To fix something on a clients computer at their request I needed to log in as Administrator over their lunch break. Knowing that the login prompt showing the last login would be confusing, I left a postit note stuck to the screen explaining that they would have to type their own name into the prompt. The postit note was thrown into the bin unread, and I recieved

    • by rd_syringe ( 793064 ) on Saturday July 24, 2004 @12:09PM (#9789397) Journal
      How about because using a computer is more complex than driving car?

      This is the exact lack of perspective in IT people that I wrote about in another post. Just because you understand what a "command prompt" is doesn't mean everyone else does. But the majority of us knows how to push a gas pedal and steer a wheel.

      Computers, unlike cars, constantly have problems that require checking the internal hardware or software configurations. Do you know how to refit your car's exhaust manifold? If cars were as flaky as computers, wouldn't you feel annoyed at the anti-social, nerdy car mechanics whose lives are spent arguing over car model brands as though they're religions, and taking time out of their oh-so-busy schedules of bitching to each other in order to fix your incessant problems?

      Yeah...perspective is good.
  • Users! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mabu ( 178417 ) * on Saturday July 24, 2004 @11:29AM (#9789191)
    IT has its own annoying quirks. Langer says some IT people label users as neophytes and then blame them for any difficulties. "The user insists their e-mail doesn't work, and the IT person says, 'My e-mail works perfectly,' and assumes the user is the problem. Users really find this annoying," he says.

    Ha! Here's how that typical scenario goes...

    USER: My e-mail doesn't work.

    IT: What's wrong?

    USER: I can't send e-mail. E-Mail doesn't work. The system must be down.

    IT: None of the other 1700 employees have had any problems at all today with their e-mail. Can you be more specific about what your problem is?

    USER: It doesn't work for me.

    IT: Did the computer give you any error message?

    USER: I think so but I wasn't paying attention.

    IT: You realize that when something goes wrong on the computer, it tells you what went wrong? That message helps us know what the problem is?

    USER: Yes, but e-mail doesn't work.

    • Re:Users! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Erik Hollensbe ( 808 ) on Saturday July 24, 2004 @11:53AM (#9789323) Homepage
      As much as you're going to hate this, in this scenario the IT user is the poor communicator. The user in your scenario doesn't have the skill set to communicate properly.

      Ask questions like:

      "Can you start the program?"
      "Are you using web mail?" ("desktop client" may be too high-brow or technical for them - believe it or not, and most people know what web mail is - obviously there's only two choices here)

      The last thing the IT user says is really condescending. This is exactly what the article talks about.
      • Re:Users! (Score:5, Interesting)

        by theantix ( 466036 ) on Saturday July 24, 2004 @12:45PM (#9789626) Journal
        As much as you're going to hate this, most users are not toddlers and don't deserve to be treated like they are. The IT tech wants to know the nature of the problem, ie what steps were taken to cause the problem, but in many cases the user will refuse to give any specific diagnosis that will help aid the program. If we were talking about children, they would have an excuse, but we're talking about adults who are refusing to co-operate because they are frustrated or lazy.

        If my steering wheel broke on my car, I would phone up the dealership and say that my car was broken and they need to fix it. If they asked what part of the car was broken, I wouldn't shrug and say only "I can't drive it" and "It was working yesterday". If something more complex broke that I didn't understand I would try to describe the symptoms of the problem, what I was trying to do, how it didn't work, and what steps I could take to reproduce that problem.

        Many users call technical support without doing that -- they blame IT support as being the reason their computer is broken and berate them. If they would take into account that the IT tech is trying to learn about the problem in order to fix it and needs to know what exactly doesn't work and how to reproduce it, that would eliminate the confrontation. It's common courtesy, not to imagine more efficient -- but people like you insist the problem is with the person trying to do their job and not the person acting like a child with a temper.
        • Re:Users! (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Erik Hollensbe ( 808 )
          The comment I was replying to was a very typical conversation. It was not only insulting to the user, but condescending.

          Of course, I tried to provide constructive solutions (you know, setting an example and all that), and of course, you prove my point yet again by being condescending.

          My father was a mechanic and now manages mechanics. You think they don't get this kind of problem every day? They just handle it much, much better (I've seen it first hand). The reason is, if they don't, people stop coming ba
        • Re:Users! (Score:3, Interesting)

          by jaelle ( 655155 )
          As a pc field tech, I deal with users on a daily basis, often in their homes. Quite often they will start out with 'it doesn't work' and be reticent about describing the problem, because they feel stupid in the face of unpredictable, incomprehensible technology, and a geek that is obviously massively smarter than they are. These are often people who are extremely competent in their own fields, and have no reason to feel intimidated by *my* intelligence! But they do anyway.

          I find that if I drop back, listen
    • by adiposity ( 684943 ) on Saturday July 24, 2004 @12:05PM (#9789376)
      -----------

      USER: My e-mail doesn't work.

      IT: What's wrong?

      USER: I can't send e-mail. E-Mail doesn't work. The system must be down.

      IT: I don't think the system is down. Let me see. Hmm, I can send mail. I wonder why you can't.

      USER: It doesn't work for me.

      IT: Did the computer give you any error message?

      USER: I think so but I wasn't paying attention.

      IT: Ok, let me come look at it. Maybe something is wrong with your account.

      -----------

      You're supposed to have an attitude of wanting to help, not proving it's not your fault. Jeez, no wonder people hate IT users, with responses like that.

      -Dan
    • Re:Users! (Score:3, Insightful)

      by kaoshin ( 110328 )
      One thing my boss says to me all of the time is that "If someone doesn't understand you, it is your fault". Unfortunately both technicians and users often have poor communication skills, and both sides blame the other instead of taking responsibility.

      I work in banking IT. When it comes to issues related to banking I often depend on the bankers to help me understand what is a priority to them, because of my lack of experience in that area. It may be common sense to us that the error message that pops up

  • by kzinti ( 9651 ) on Saturday July 24, 2004 @11:34AM (#9789218) Homepage Journal
    The article seems slashdotted, so I'll offer three of my own:

    1. People who won't read the documentation thoroughly. "How do you use dd?" "Well, it's documented in the man pages." "I know, but I thought I'd ask you." I hate people who want to be spoon-fed the answers. Even worse are the ones who will ask you the same question a week later. DON'T TELL THEM! Make them look it up - they'll learn so much more in the process.

    2. People who blame the software. "I found a compiler bug - this loop won't exit." "Um, that's because your exit test is wrong." Count the number of times a person blames the compiler, the libraries, or the operating system for problems that turn out to be their own; this count will be inversely proportional to their quality as a programmer. The worst ones find a new bug in the compiler every day.

    3. People who give up too easily. Something doesn't work exactly as it seems it should, so they try a few variations - maybe - and then they run for help. "This doesn't work like the book says it should!" "OK, did you try ____. Or ____? Or _____, or even _____?" No? then why are you bothering me? THINK about what you're doing, then try to figure it out for yourself before crying for help. Perseverance is a quality all good programmers have.
  • Why single out IT? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Servo ( 9177 ) <dstringf@NOSpaM.gmail.com> on Saturday July 24, 2004 @11:34AM (#9789221) Journal
    The examples the article mentions really aren't specific to the IT field. Any field that requires a higher degree of knowledge has speciliazed jargon and inside humor. Guess what.. people annoy people. Amazing! Techs annoy end users. End users annoy techs. Chinese people annoy the English. Mac users annoy Windows users. Muslims annoy Christians.

    That annoyance is usually the fault of the annoyed because he or she is frustrated because they don't understand. Sure, there are things you can do to not be condescending towards people, but thats more a life skill that everybody should have for everyday life.
    • by deacon ( 40533 ) on Saturday July 24, 2004 @12:27PM (#9789512) Journal
      ...annoyance is usually the fault of the annoyed because he or she is frustrated because they don't understand...

      Ok, that sounds fair.

      Tell me where you work, and I will come by and tap you on the head with a pencil at irregular intervals throughout the day.

      When you get annoyed, I will smugly tell you it is your fault because you "don't understand".

      Or, perhaps, annoyance is the fault of the person who is too superior or condescending to bother to help or explain properly.

      HTH. HAND.

  • by Sponge Bath ( 413667 ) on Saturday July 24, 2004 @11:36AM (#9789230)

    I like country music and beans, so the answer is no!

  • by secondsun ( 195377 ) <secondsun@gmail.com> on Saturday July 24, 2004 @11:36AM (#9789231) Journal
    Essentially the article says IT guys annoy people who don't know squat about computers, and then these people leave the IT guys alone.

    What it doesn't mention is that what annoys IT people to no end are the people who know nothing about computers but try to interject their opinion. You know, the poeple who don't listen to you when you say don't install program X, or don't install anything, or ingeneral ignore you when you say DON'T DO THAT!.

    IT people tent to get bad reps because the technology is new and people have been ocnditioned that people who know about it are nerds or geeks. What they should understand is that IT guys are the mechanics of the technical world. You don't but diesle in a gasoline vehicle beause it is cheaper. If you do your mechanic will laugh at you and say don't do that again. The same way you don't instal everything you come across on the internet because your IT guy will laugh at you and say don't do that again. The only difference is you are more liekly to listen to your mechanic than to your IT guy.

    Note: you and your probably doesn't apply to the slashdot crowd at large but speaking in third person about ID10T errors is annoying at best, so you was used.

  • by John Seminal ( 698722 ) on Saturday July 24, 2004 @11:38AM (#9789242) Journal
    Do you tell IT insider jokes that users don't understand? Do you sprinkle technical jargon through discussions with business people?

    Annoying behaviors are tricky because what annoys one person may sail by another. "You can say the same thing the same way to two people, and one person will say, 'Damn, that's annoying,' and the other person will not think anything of it,"

    So what do you do? Keep the conversation dumbed down, filled with small talk? I always laughed at the comercials for television shows that said "we'll be talked about at the water cooler tomorrow, make sure you're not the one that misses it". Maybe that is what most people want? I don't buy it.

    I try and not talk above anyone. But I don't want to talk down to people either. My solution is to explain things in the simplest way. It is like when I was in college and I knew this one guy who was smart. But I would never ask him for help with anything because he always made things 100 times more complex than it was just to show everyone how much smarter he was. Nobody liked him, not even other nerds. Lets call him Steve for arguments sake. If anyone asked Steve for help, even something as simple as 2+2, Steve would decide that calculus was needed to solve that problem. He then talked so fast, most of the time, to make sure you could not keep up. When Steve saw the confused look on the persons face, a grin would form on his face and he would slow down long enough to mockingly ask "can you follow this, it is really tough stuff you know, so hard". And you could never send him an email without getting it back, grammer corrected. What a prick.

    I guess my advice is don't be Steve. Don't be that guy.

  • by buckhead_buddy ( 186384 ) on Saturday July 24, 2004 @11:40AM (#9789251)
    They appear to have left some out:
    • Quoting the trendiest fads from weekly industry publications to coworkers.
    • Taking out of context quotes and framing them to justify everything from "going to the bathroom more frequently" to "whoring stories about your coworkers as fodder for books".
    • Enthroning oneself with the role of analyst / expert / trendsetter just because one read a capsule summary of an article of someone else's assemblage of diverse opinions.
  • by Erik Hollensbe ( 808 ) on Saturday July 24, 2004 @11:42AM (#9789259) Homepage
    I know it's fun to be smug about this, but this is a serious problem amongst programming teams.

    Two teams that I have worked in now seem to hold the belief the the size of one's penis is proportional to the amount of stuff you know - technical or otherwise. Yes, even if it's never going to be relevant to the job at hand, and certainly if it can be used to make someone else feel inferior.

    I deal with this every day and now I dread coming into work. However, I doubt that relocating will solve the problem, just suspend it for a while as most programmers seem to be very shy to the new person.

    I think what the funniest thing is, however, is that when you do it back to them - to see how they'll react, they get just as mad as I would. They simply have no concept of the damage they do - I mean, none of us are perfect and I'm sure I have done it a few times myself, but I work hard to make sure I don't come off like an ass, even when I want to.

    My manager of course, fosters this kind of communication - he thinks (I was told this directly) it creates a more productive environment. In my experience, it disallusions me and makes me want to work less, take more vacation/sick days to get out of work, and generally feel unwelcome everytime I step into the office.

    What do I do? I'm a lead programmer at one of the top 50 e-commerce websites in the world. I think I can hold my own and then some when it comes to doing my job, that's never been the problem. IOW, I'm not a marketing guy who's technologically illiterate.

    This attitude pushes talent away (we've had several talented interviewees not interested in our team after they interviewed), and productivity will only increase when the people with the problem are either excised or learn how to effectively communicate with their teammates.
    • Two teams that I have worked in now seem to hold

      the belief the the size of one's penis is proportional to the amount of stuff you know - technical or otherwise. Yes, even if it's never going to be relevant to the job at hand, and certainly if it can be used to make someone else feel inferior.

      I realize that this quote could (and probably will) generate a huge number of double entendres from the slashdot crowd, but I've seen this behavior too. Of course any irrelevant metric is just as bad (type of car, si

    • by zangdesign ( 462534 ) on Saturday July 24, 2004 @12:45PM (#9789622) Journal
      My favorite bit of the article was:

      "[They] have difficulty between shades of gray," he says. "Sometimes there are a lot of 'rightish' answers," and insisting that there's just one can be annoying.


      To which I reply:

      Yes, I know there are a lot of "rightish" answers - it took me a long time to realize that, but that doesn't help when I'm the one stuck coding an answer to the problem. People understand gray areas, but computer's don't. It's a 1 and 0 thing - there's no "wacky" bit.

      Even at the higher levels, it's still a problem, because in order to devise an answer, the problem must be clearly defined and I don't necessarily have the knowledge to solve an issue that's outside my field of expertise. Even acquiring a limited knowledge is a time-consuming task that is not likely to give me the finesse necessary to make a competent decision.

      I could give a best guess and damn the consequences, but I'm paid to be right, not a good guesser. Not being given a clear direction or complete information is not only annoying to me, but dangerous to the company.
  • Very Bad Article (Score:3, Insightful)

    by fozzmeister ( 160968 ) on Saturday July 24, 2004 @11:52AM (#9789316) Homepage
    Try to understand the type of person you're dealing with, says Steve Smith, a technical business consultant in Seattle for storage maker EMC Corp. "If I'm dealing with a [nonintuitive] person, I need to put things in concrete language. This person doesn't want abstractions."

    The problem is a lot of IT, particularly when programming can be abstract, this is not a problem but users as questions like "why isn't it working"

    IT people expect users to always know what they want, and they can get exasperated when they don't. "Business people have a right to change their minds, because the business changes," says Ellen Gottesdiener, principal consultant at EBG Consulting in Carmel, Ind.

    The problem here is that business people know thier business, and say "i have problem X" whereas I don't understand X. so i then ask questions to gain an understanding of X. So now after spending all that time (money) understanding and another boatload of time (money) coding up something which is starting to look like it will do the job the business owner changes thier mind. By this time a change of direction may cost me thousands of pounds and its thier right to change thier mind? Perhaps we would find business people less "annoying" if they were prepared to pay (with money) for thier own indecisiveness.

  • by rocketjesus ( 32378 ) on Saturday July 24, 2004 @12:03PM (#9789367)
    I'm just trying to fit in.
  • by nlinecomputers ( 602059 ) on Saturday July 24, 2004 @12:54PM (#9789675)
    I REPAIR computers for a living. I don't do training. Why do end users think that it is my job to train them how to use a computer? Did any of you pay a mechanic to learn how to drive? Why do end users expect that all IT/geek types are happy to train them, for free non the less, about everything from Basic mouse use to how to do some formula in Excel?
  • by jrumney ( 197329 ) on Saturday July 24, 2004 @12:54PM (#9789676) Homepage
    I find anyone who divides the workplace into "IT people" and "business people" annoying. As if IT is not part of the "group".
  • by atcurtis ( 191512 ) on Saturday July 24, 2004 @01:43PM (#9789950) Homepage Journal

    I personally think that the most annoying thing about some people in IT is their total absence of verbal skills.

    For instance, in a previous company where I worked, some of the IT employees could only communicate to other people in the same office via HotMail Messenger, Yahoo! Messenger or some other instant messaging tool. *EVEN* when the person they are talking to is sitting less than a yard away.

    And when you try to talk to such people using normal vocal means, they would give you a blank stare, a long pause where they attempt to remember how to talk and eventually they may find it within themselves to say "Umm... can you IM email instead?"

    Very frustrating!

  • by Proc6 ( 518858 ) on Saturday July 24, 2004 @02:09PM (#9790075)
    The thing that I can't stand more than anything, is this adoption of "fakeness" that the corporate world, especially women (no offense, simply an observation) that has taken place.

    Every client of mine, about 1/3 the men and 3/4 the women have this forced facade of a personality where every syllable is accentuated and they choose words like "Suuperr!! That's just superr!" and it makes me want to kill myself just to listen to. (If you've seen Lost in Translation, think of the blonde that's in Tokyo promoting her movie, and that's what I'm talking about.)

    Isn't it funny that the best "actors/actresses", the ones we give Oscars to (usually) are the ones that can come across like they're not acting at all on screen. Genuine people who deliver what they say from who they really are without pre-processing it. But in real life you rarely find these people, everyone's trying to perfect this plastic personality willing to sacrific who they really are just to get a promotion. Even worse is they don't leave it at the job, it becomes permant like tatoo'd makeup. You see them in public or even talking with their "friends" and it's the same fake-speak, forced body language. I feel sorry for the lemmings. How did we get reversed to where Jack Nicholson in The Shining is a far more realistic person than Jenny Smith over in accounting?

  • Who's annoying who? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Numen ( 244707 ) on Saturday July 24, 2004 @02:15PM (#9790120)
    Peppering conversation with technical jargon... oh my!

    What about peppering conversation with business or marketing jargon.

    It would seem to me that the message of the article is it's ok for business, markerting and financial types to act according to type, but God forbid that a techy should act according to type.

    Business discussions use business language.
    Marketing discussions use marketing language.
    Financial discussions use financial language.

    Technical discussions must now use baby talk, lest we annoy... read, expose areas of ignorance... within the other disciplines.

    Who's annoying?... Writers of pap populist biz articles.
  • by Todd Knarr ( 15451 ) on Saturday July 24, 2004 @03:01PM (#9790335) Homepage

    As an IT person, I find a few of the complainers annoying. Take, for example, Ellen Gottesdiener's statement that business people have a right to change their minds. Yes, they do, and I don't mind that. Change is a fact of life. What I find highly annoying, though, is that those same business people refuse to acknowledge that they changed their minds. They change their minds, don't bother to tell me they have or what the new decision is, then squawk when I'm still working based on the old decisions and then squawk more when I tell them the changes will take more time because I've got to go back and re-do work that's already done.

    Another is Gerry McCartney. Certainly often there's no one right answer. The problem is, usually IT doesn't get the luxury of budget and schedule to cover every possible answer. At that point it's supposed to be the business people's responsibility to decide which answer they want to go with, so IT can get on with the job of implementing it. It's horribly annoying when they won't do that, or even indicate priorities so IT can work on the most important (to the business people) stuff first.

    The final annoyance is when business people expect me to respect them but they refuse to respect me in return. I was hired to solve technical problems. The business people were hired to solve business problems. If you've got business constraints on the acceptable solutions, don't come to me asking only for the technical solution and then whine when my answer isn't the one you have to have. If there's constraints, tell me what they are so I can factor them in. And be prepared if I have to tell you that there aren't any solutions to your problem that'll actually work that also meet the constraints (real-world example: you want a vehicle with 3750 cubic feet (25x15x10) and 80,000 pounds of cargo capacity, under the constraint that it has to fit into a compact-car parking space). If there's non-technical factors that dictate the solution then don't bother asking me, and don't blame me if the dicatated solution doesn't work.

  • DRAMA-QUEENS. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by nusratt ( 751548 ) on Saturday July 24, 2004 @03:27PM (#9790453) Journal
    The people who carry this question that far (as in the article) are the really annoying ones. They're the corporate-culture-nazis, PHBs, HR-types with w-a-a-a-a-y too much time on their hands.

    It's one thing too say that being uber-geek with non-geeks is annoying, or arrogance is annoying, or bad hygiene is annoying.

    But some of the quotes are way over the top, talking about how we all must constantly monitor EVERY word and mannerism, in ANY company, or else risk contaminating the entire work environment.

    These are the same ass-kissing back-stabbing political types who constantly use language like "proactive", "incentivize", "realign", "laser focus", "customer-centric", "team players", "challenge", etc.

    Oh, and my favorite -- there are no "problems", only "issues" and "concerns".
  • I've heard it said (Score:5, Interesting)

    by hendersj ( 720767 ) on Saturday July 24, 2004 @06:15PM (#9791251)
    That people have a 'tact' filter. Some people filter inbound, some people filter outbound, some people filter both ways (rare), and some people don't filter at all.

    Non-IT people tend to filter outbound - they don't say something for fear of offending someone. Not always the case, certainly, but by and large that's my experience.

    IT people tend to filter inbound. In the days of yore, it wasn't uncommon to see discussions where "What are you, stupid?" was said, and generally it wasn't taken personally. It was just one of those things that was understood.

    These days, there's more of a mix of people fitting the inbound vs. outbound filtering groups, and that leads to problems in business.

    This article does a pretty decent job of highlighting one of the things I find to be the most ironic about IT personnel (and I have been one for almost 15 years now) - they tend to get into the business because they don't have to deal with people and don't want to. Yet IT work these days requires more interaction with people, not less.

    Take Directory Services technology; according to Burton Group's studies, implementation of directory services technologies is 80% politics and 20% technology. The technology isn't really that difficult, but getting agreement between the various groups who own parts of the data about who owns particular pieces of data requires a fair amount of negotiation and people skills.

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