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The Media

The Psychology of Fanboys 289

Testiiiiing writes "'s Gundeep Hora publishes his thoughts on why fanboys act the way they do. 'For fanboys (and I use the term with utmost respect, at least for this article), their appetite to support their favorite company to beat the big, bad corporate heavyweights gets delusional at times. And why not? After all, we all like to cheer the underdog... reasonably. In addition to cheering for the little guy, fanboys also think it's their responsibility to spread the word about their favorite company. Combine their need to do marketing on behalf of their adopted companies and their products with the passion to make others see things their way, and you have a powerful group of people.'"
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The Psychology of Fanboys

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  • by morgan_greywolf ( 835522 ) on Monday June 18, 2007 @10:28AM (#19550473) Homepage Journal
    Every technology has their fanboys. There are Mac fanboys, Windows fanboys, Ubuntu Linux fanboys, Sony/PS3 fanboys, Nintendo/Wii fanboys, etc. To me a fanboy is someone who ignores reality to show everyone how 'great' their choice of tool is. Apple/Mac/iPod fanboys typically defend Apple even when Apple is being an asshat. Linux fanboys love to bash Microsoft even when they have actually produced something good and useful. Windows fanboys love to point out how BSODs on Windows 2000/XP/Vista are exceedlingly rare, while ignoring the fact that Windows is insecure mostly because the architecture favors usability over security and that poorly-written Windows applications, which are quite numerous, cause all sorts of other problems because the Windows monoculture encourages poor programming practices.

    Myself, I tend to be ecumenical and use what works. For myself, I choose Ubuntu at home, with Windows 2000 running under QEMU for those Windows applications that I feel I cannot live without. I use Windows at work (not by choice) but still find its features to be useful and helpful at times. Mac OS X is a good, solid OS, but it comes with a larger price tag than either a Windows or Linux PC and really doesn't have good support for some types of applications (and not just gaming).

  • by Elemenope ( 905108 ) on Monday June 18, 2007 @10:55AM (#19550783)

    Already marked flamebait? Wow, some mods can't take a joke. Just to be clear for the less abstractly minded, the "n" word was "Nazi" and the "h" word was "Hitler". Jeez.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 18, 2007 @10:59AM (#19550841)
    As a Mac user (and also Windows and Linux, but I have a Mac laptop), I'm always being challenged to defend the use of a Mac when "everyone" else uses Windows. I spend far more time being challenged to defend my choice than evangelising it, and, of course, when the original challenger usually has the attitude that "you must be crazy to not be using Windows" the response is likely to be overwhelmingly positive to argue that the original questioner is wrong to assume that it is the "wrong" choice. Same goes (to a lesser extent since its in my office only) for Linux. It's human nature, when someone accuses you of making the wrong choice to argue for it only focussing on the positive things. It's all in how the question is posed, but unfortunately most Windows users (I'm thinking of software developers and managers, here) tend to go on the attack as soon as something non-Windows is produced.

    Windows users are rarely asked to defend their choice, while a Mac user or Linux user at a meeting is practically guaranteed to be challenged on the choice of platform.
  • by daveschroeder ( 516195 ) * on Monday June 18, 2007 @10:59AM (#19550845)
    Here are a smattering of various examples, just in 2007:

    Taking issue with the fact that I say iPhone "like Jobs does": 37721 []

    "I see you take Jobs' use of referring to an iPhone be simply saying "people will buy iPhone". Why do you keep on missing out an before the word of this product?"

    Taking issue with me using the word "impacted" and calling me a "marketroid": 36911 []

    "Please don't speak like a marketroid."

    Someone accusing me of being a marketer for posting an informative and comprehensive summary of the WWDC announcements in the WWDC article: 72443 []

    "Woah, you again! [...] The real question is not whether we can get a share of the advertising money, but how much one can make."

    In response to a completely and utterly wrong article on iTunes: 58579 []

    "Oh noes. Apple's name is being tarnished. Dave Schroeder to the rescue!"

    And again: 58951 []

    "You just keep on lickin' Steve's ass no matter what apple does, right?"

    In response to saying Apple didn't "surrender" to Greenpeace: 10361 []

    "Do you Apple fangirls know how pathetic you sound? Other groups have their vocal populations, but Apple fangirls are by far the most in need of validation for their moronic decision to overspend on an inferior product."

    In response to reasoning behind the iPod and iPhone battery not being "user accessible": 68518 []

    "You skipped the part about being a Fucking Apple Whore. Whore. No go away. You're not wanted here."

    In response to an article on EU online music store returns being made to appear only about "iTunes": 68518 []

    "Dave, seriously, STFU already you Apple loving Macbot. You wouldn't have even commented on this story if it wasn't about Apple. Now go the fuck away."

    And: 89934 []

    "To annoy all you mac fans who take these things personally."

    In response to incorrect article about iTunes Vista compatibility: 39184 []

    "Are you the GLORY HOLE operator at Apple Inc?? Apple software is designed to limit the freedom of users. Probably, that's why it's not compatible with Vista. You see, there are three types of freedom relating to computers:

    1- Windows: free to run programs and do just about anything with the computer
    2- Linux: free to view the source
    3- Apple: free to toe the line"
  • by GreggBz ( 777373 ) on Monday June 18, 2007 @11:13AM (#19551041) Homepage
    Every single example you list was modded troll, flaimbait or 0. What, exactly, is this injustice you are complaining about? Anyone can dig the trenches of the Internet for some foul, stupid, pointless crap about whatever. That's the way it is. Lighten up. Further, maybe if you were not so easy to pick on.. Listen, I have no agenda. I grew up with Amiga, use Linux and Windows every day and work on my mom's Mini Mac with pleasure. (Although, I don't own a Mac, for that I deeply apologize.) I really should not respond anymore. I don't like this kind of petty blah.. And now I find it humorous that you are so diligently responding to every single contrary argument against your original post. Have a laugh dude.
  • by daveschroeder ( 516195 ) * on Monday June 18, 2007 @11:21AM (#19551135)
    And now I find it humorous that you are so diligently responding to every single contrary argument against your original post.

    I responded to two out of 14 comments; yours, and one other person's, both of whom specifically asked me a question. I don't care whether you or anyone else owns a Mac. That's the whole point of this discussion: I'm not trying to "convert" people, nor do I get pissed off when I find out someone doesn't have a Mac. Yet, I suppose now I don't know how to lighten up when I'm responding to someone who accused me of "diligently responding to every single contrary argument" when it was two replies so far (to my initial post), and one was to your own. If you didn't want me to respond, why'd you ask me to?
  • by CODiNE ( 27417 ) on Monday June 18, 2007 @11:31AM (#19551261) Homepage
    Original article is titled "The Psychology of Mac Zealots", which was changed here to "The Psychology of Fanboys" a much more neutral sounding title. Yet the summary still includes enough information to pass on the meme that Apple fanboys are suffering from a Napoleon Complex. Let's see... small marketshare, check. Support for their favorite company, check. Yeah... it's fun to slam Mac users ain't it? Couldn't possibly be any Windows fanboys out there right? Or even "PCs" in general, naw only those small-marketshare crazies. Those poor misguided children.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 18, 2007 @11:49AM (#19551579)
    In its most basic and correct formulation, the goal of public relations and marketing is to disintegrate ration from action, and use autonomic responses in its place; basically, its a mechanism for controlling the will of public by means of turning them into easily trained animals.

    The fanboy phenomenon is just the evolutionary extension that maintains the existing pipelines of manufactured consent, as broadcast mediums become less of a part of daily life.

    Unfortunately, there is not any obvious solution to mitigate its effect. Consumer culture provides the meaning to most of the lives of citizens in industrialized societies. The genie is out of the bottle.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 18, 2007 @12:26PM (#19552209)
    You say just in 2007, but you've posted a buhzillion times, including twelve on a single story yesterday (apple, unsurprisingly enough).
  • by Crash Culligan ( 227354 ) on Monday June 18, 2007 @12:46PM (#19552609) Journal

    dave420: I've found myself defending Microsoft quite a few times. It's not because I'm a die-hard Bill's-cock-sucking cheerleader, but because I actively like engaging in rational debate, and when someone says something to me, framed as fact, which is clearly not true, I will point out the inaccuracy of their statement. That's not being a fanboy, but being rational.

    Indeed. Thus, you're not defending Microsoft, you're defending the facts, which in those cases just happen to support Microsoft. It's been known to happen from time to time.

    Ahh, argumentation based on facts. I miss the good old days.

  • I love this arguement, because it is one of the more nonsensical things I see on Slashdot, and I see ALL THE DAMN TIME

    Microsoft has paid for positive comments elsewhere, including Wikipedia. cle.jhtml?articleID=196903015 [].

    They're trying to drum up support through their own blogs [], there was the fake support letters during their anti-trust prosecution, the fake Zune fansites, the fake Switchers campaign and a dozen more.

    Why would Slashdot be immune?

  • by jmac1492 ( 1036880 ) on Monday June 18, 2007 @04:43PM (#19556521)
    The page you linked to says that a few organizations (notably the state of Illinois) switched from Linux to Windows. The idea is that people will read the page and think, "Hmm... if it's good enough for Illinois, it's good enough for me." The person who made the page isn't a fanboy, he is an employee. Microsoft pays him to advertize Microsoft's products on Microsoft's website. Perfectly acceptable buisness practices.
    Compare that to Slashdot. On the front page right now is a story about how the RIAA changed its servers so they run Linux. Recent stories about Linux (recent is defined as "on the front page of the Linux section right now") includes a story about how "Red Hat Linux Gets Top Govt. Security Rating," where the discussion goes on to be pretty much everyone saying "ZOMG TAKE THAT M$." Another one is "Ubuntu Linux Validates As Genuine Windows," about how someone tricked the WGA check so it would validate on WINE. The discussion was pretty much "ZOMG TAKE THAT M$." Another story, "Microsoft Bends To Norwegian Pressure," is about how Microsoft and the public school system in Norway renegotiated their contract, and Microsoft came out behind. (For the record, this story is in the Linux section not because this story itself has anything to do with Linux, but because Linux stands the most to gain from anything bad happening to Microsoft, including rain in Redmond, Washington.) The discussion was pretty much "ZOMG TAKE THAT M$." The next one, "Venezula Producing Its Own Linux PCs," deals with, well, Venezula making PCs with Linux preinstalled. The discussion was pretty much "ZOMG TAKE THAT M$," although there was a fair amount of discussion about US/Venezula relations. The next story, "Shuttleworth Says No Patent Deals With Microsoft," is about Mark Shuttleworth, the man in charge of deciding whether or not Ubuntu will make a deal licencing patents from Microsoft, has officially decided not to, ending months of speculation over whether he would say no or hell no. The discussion? ZOMG TAKE THAT M$! The next story is "Intuit Finally Offers Some Support For Linux," which is about Intuit making a version of its bookkeeping software that will run on a Linux server. Again, the discussion centered around ZOMG TAKE THAT M$! The next one is "Linspire Signs Patent Pact With MS" and is about how Linspire took the same kind of patent deal Shuttleworth turned down a couple of stories earlier on the page. The discussion there is mostly "ZOMG LINSPIRE IS SUX AND SO IS M$!" The next two stories are actually not Microsoft related in any way. ("Torvalds vs Schwartz GPL Wars" and "Closed Source On Linux and BSD?")

    I don't have any hard numbers to back this up, but I highly doubt most of slashdot has contributed to the Linux kernel, or to any distribution. These aren't the Ubuntu fourms, sure, but Slashdot (and especially its Linux section) are probably a fairly high concentration of Linux users. This is what people talk about when they say that most Linux users are rabid fanboys.

    Before I'm inevitably accused of being a M$ shill, I'd like to paraphrase someone. "Fix your own server's log before you start complaining about the log in mine."
  • You forgot at least one other type - the practical ones. We use the tools that make the most sense for the job without wanting to be part of a holy war.

"The eleventh commandment was `Thou Shalt Compute' or `Thou Shalt Not Compute' -- I forget which." -- Epigrams in Programming, ACM SIGPLAN Sept. 1982