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Popup Study Confirms Most Users Are Idiots

CmdrTaco posted more than 6 years ago | from the at-my-office-they-all-are dept.

It's funny.  Laugh. 568

danieltdp writes "Testing students at a University, psychologists made many of them click on a dialog box that in effect said: 'You are about to install some malware. Malware is bad. By clicking yes you are failing the Windows Darwin Test.' Nearly half of them said all they cared about was getting rid of these dialogs."

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Summary is WRONG (5, Informative)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 6 years ago | (#25127837)

"You are about to submit a bad summary. The summary is bad. By clicking yes you are failing at Slashdot Darwin Test."

"Testing students at a University, psychologists made many of them click on a dialog box that in effect said: 'You are about to install some malware. Malware is bad. By clicking yes you are failing the Windows Darwin Test.'

Doh!

For those of you just joining us, the article says nothing of the sort. The article actually says that they created fake "Application Error" dialogs with various numbers of "fake" aspects. e.g. The cursor turning to a hand over the "Ok" button, reverse colored text, browser borders, etc. Basically, stuff that should have made it obvious that these were malware windows. Nearly half of those tested "accepted" the dialogs to get them out of the way. Some of them simply minimized them for later.

The text referred to in the summary is an image created by Ars Technica with the caption, "Even this warning might not have helped".

Re:Summary is WRONG (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#25127871)

Taco's starting the drinking early today.

Re:Summary is WRONG (0, Offtopic)

megamerican (1073936) | more than 6 years ago | (#25127917)

Taco's starting the drinking early today.

Or has yet to stop from last night. :)

Re:Summary is WRONG (3, Insightful)

wellingj (1030460) | more than 6 years ago | (#25128115)

There is plenty to drink about these days...

Re:Summary is WRONG (0, Offtopic)

jemtallon (1125407) | more than 6 years ago | (#25128179)

Anyone else misread that as "tacos started the drinking?"

The actual text (5, Informative)

KingSkippus (799657) | more than 6 years ago | (#25127885)

The actual text was "The instruction at '0x77f41d24 referenced memory at '0x595c2a4c.' The memory could not be 'read.' Click OK to terminate program." You're right, this is not "basically" (or even remotely close to) the text in Ars's little joke screenshot or what was posted in the summary.

Re:The actual text (4, Funny)

treeves (963993) | more than 6 years ago | (#25128047)

Did "read" really have those single quotes around it? That would have been pretty 'suspicious' to me. Wink, wink, nudge, nudge.

Re:The actual text (4, Funny)

GuldKalle (1065310) | more than 6 years ago | (#25128147)

To be 'fair', the dialog box they were going for does have those quotes.

Re:The actual text (5, Informative)

ari_j (90255) | more than 6 years ago | (#25128195)

The legitimate error messages of that form often do, indeed, surround "read" with quotation marks.

Re:The actual text (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#25128241)

That's typical for these error messages in Windows. The error message is legit, this is something that a regular Windows user might see (I don't want to use the word "commonly", but it's relatively common as far as Windows error messages go). From look at the error message it looks to me like it's a basic Windows error message where the OS fills in the quoted strings (source address, target address, IO operation). All of them are double-quoted. The actual error in Windows would be printed exactly like this:

The instruction at "0x77f41d24" referenced memory at "0x595c2a4c". The memory could not be "read". Click OK to terminate program.

Even though I assume that's a template for several error scenarios, I've never seen one during my own usage that didn't specify "read". The actual text is a regular Windows error though, the display of the text was what was supposed to alert users (browser status bar, borders, close/minimize buttons, colors, etc). So it's not the error message that was supposed to be suspicious, just the context that it's shown in.

Re:The actual text (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#25128265)

This is a legit error that Windows XP Pro gives from time to time (I've seen it on a clean install on a Thinkpad T60 when the ATI drivers are acting up, usually referencing 0x00000000 which I assume was caused by some idiot dereferencing a null pointer).

Re:The actual text (1)

NovaHorizon (1300173) | more than 6 years ago | (#25128283)

the hex values and the word "read" all had full quotation marks.

NOT: (was Re:Summary is WRONG) (2, Insightful)

DynaSoar (714234) | more than 6 years ago | (#25127945)

Summary is under ENTERTAINMENT. Tag says HUMOR. If it had been accurately reporting on the study, it would have been under SCIENCE. Read all the words.

And that makes it less wrong how? (1, Troll)

QZTR (1351145) | more than 6 years ago | (#25128019)

Well? He said it was "wrong", and it is. Calling it entertainment doesn't make it less wrong.

"Read all the words."

I suggest you do the same, specifically, the one spelled "w-r-o-n-g".

Re:NOT: (was Re:Summary is WRONG) (4, Insightful)

wealthychef (584778) | more than 6 years ago | (#25128031)

Be that as it may, to call a user an "idiot" because he does not know the appropriate style for an error dialog box, or having seen an odd style, does not associate that with malware, but prefers to continue on task if possible, shows how arrogant the author of the summary is.

Re:NOT: (was Re:Summary is WRONG) (-1, Troll)

davidsyes (765062) | more than 6 years ago | (#25128205)

I KNEW there had to be a reason my mind initially saw "POOP STUDY..."

(Don't you just HATE it when summaries sensationalize a story, as if /. really *needs* that? Very grating, aggravating, and irritating... DING! DING! DING!)

Re:NOT: (was Re:Summary is WRONG) (1)

AstrumPreliator (708436) | more than 6 years ago | (#25128325)

Experiments are now considered entertainment? Hell, I can't wait for the results from the LHC to show up in the entertainment section. I can see it now, "The World is Ending! Armageddon is Here!" tagged with "humor" in the entertainment section.

Even more importantly... (5, Informative)

hellfire (86129) | more than 6 years ago | (#25128027)

The bottom of the article has the actual conclusion that the article was trying to make:

Follow-up questions revealed that the students seemed to find any dialog box a distraction from their assigned task; nearly half said that all they cared about was getting rid of these dialogs. The results suggest that a familiarity with Windows dialogs have bred a degree of contempt and that users simply don't care what the boxes say anymore.

The authors suggest that user training might help more people recognize the risks involved with fake popups and the diagnostic signs of genuine Windows dialogs, but the fact that the students didn't appear to spend any more time evaluating the fake dialogs raises questions as to whether education is enough.

Study confirms most popups are idiotic (5, Insightful)

EmbeddedJanitor (597831) | more than 6 years ago | (#25128275)

Clearly popups don't work in an effective way, yet programmers continue to use them for the wrong purposes.

It isn't just Windows either. Apps in Gnome, KDE and OpenOffice also open up stupid dialogs.

It is unreasonable to consider training users to be driven by popups. What would make more sense is for programmers to design their pop up use better so that it is more meaningful for the user.

Re:Study confirms most popups are idiotic (5, Interesting)

Free the Cowards (1280296) | more than 6 years ago | (#25128401)

Programmers continue to use them because they effectively move responsibility. Yes, they fail, but when they fail it's suddenly the user's fault, so the programmer is happy with the result.

Of course this is bad UI and the failure is ultimately that of the programmer, but this is not how it's perceived now, so programmers will continue to use them even if they know full well that they don't do the job.

Re:Even more importantly... (5, Insightful)

truthsearch (249536) | more than 6 years ago | (#25128417)

Education is definitely not enough because people just don't care. They want to do what they want to do and the computer should magically understand that and play along. There's little respect for the complexity of general purpose computers and any possible learning curve needed to use them properly.

My wife has occasionally complained that her computer was acting "strange". After hearing the symptoms I've often asked, "Did any messages appear?". "Yes." "Well what did it say?" "I don't know. I just clicked OK." She simply doesn't care enough to deal with an issue when she's trying to browse a web site or send an email.

My favorite was the time she complained my laptop must be broken because it turned itself off. I got nervous thinking it was broken. I asked if a message had popped up before it turned off. She said no, then thought about it and remembered something popped up a few minutes earlier. She couldn't remember what it said. I told her it said to plug it in or it would turn itself off. Her response: "Oops".

Re:Summary is WRONG (2, Insightful)

pugugly (152978) | more than 6 years ago | (#25128069)

And more interestingly, the study says that most users are in fact *not* idiots, but that a distressingly high percentage (almost half) are.

Not that I have any objections towards a happy pattern of contempt toward everyone, but I prefer my contempt be fact based - {G}.

Pug

Re:Summary is WRONG (5, Insightful)

mollymoo (202721) | more than 6 years ago | (#25128183)

And more interestingly, the study says that most users are in fact *not* idiots, but that a distressingly high percentage (almost half) are.

The attitude that users who do something wrong are idiots is a large part of why computers, operating systems and applications are generally pretty shit. They're made by and for geeks, not normal people. If 1% of your users do the wrong thing they may well be idiots. If 50% of your users are doing the wrong thing, you are the idiot for designing your software so badly half the population can't use it.

(I mean "you" in the general sense, not the parent specifically)

Re:Summary is WRONG (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#25128423)

Computers are not for everybody!

The users aren't qualified to make these decisions (3, Insightful)

Colin Smith (2679) | more than 6 years ago | (#25128249)

And frankly they shouldn't have to be. I have no idea why developers seem to think they should/are. Fail safe and log it so someone who does understand what's happening can make an alternative choice.

 

Re:The users aren't qualified to make these decisi (1)

orclevegam (940336) | more than 6 years ago | (#25128367)

And frankly they shouldn't have to be. I have no idea why developers seem to think they should/are. Fail safe and log it so someone who does understand what's happening can make an alternative choice.

Queue floods of calls to the helpdesk of "My computer locked up again and told me to call you."
There are ways of fixing the situation of course, but not without having to create a new operating system, and then getting everybody to agree to use it (including have all code not written for said operating system abandoned). In short, in two or three generations when all the people who don't know basic computer security and operation have died, and not being able to spot a phishing scam will be looked upon much the same way that being illiterate is now, then the problem will have fixed itself.

Re:Summary is WRONG (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#25128449)

Actually it may be that the study found that "college students don't care what happens to some researcher's computer and get annoyed when the researcher has obvious spy ware on their comptuer's". After all, they had these folks come in to do research: they didn't have them run this stuff on the student's own computers. If I had a dialog like this on some computer in some silly study - I wouldn't care what the heck I clicked.

Re:Summary is WRONG (4, Funny)

gardyloo (512791) | more than 6 years ago | (#25128083)

I've learned to just click through to the article without reading the slashdot summary. It doesn't seem to have hurt my computer at all, but I -- Oh, wait. I just heard a bell. Gosh, I feel hungry right now.

Re:Summary is WRONG (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#25128159)

It doesn't matter what the box said or how it behaved, the fact is they clicked on it without reading it. This is good for me because I am a tech and am happy to profit off of the stupidity of users. Keep clicking you morons and keep me in business.

Re:Summary is WRONG (1)

Corporate Troll (537873) | more than 6 years ago | (#25128251)

Some of them simply minimized them for later.

That's what funny about it: the error they mimicked woudln't allow minimizing.... So that alone should have been a dead giveaway. On Windows, critical errors are always modal.

Re:Summary is WRONG (1)

nobodyman (90587) | more than 6 years ago | (#25128427)

Ironically this sorta validates the claim made by the study. Neither the article submitter nor the slashdot editor bothered to read the dialog completely. Otherwise they would have seen the caption explaining that the "screenshot" was a joke.

I admit though that I have a pop-up "blind spot". I just look for an "X" in the upper right corner and rarely pay attention to what it says. I am surprised that people tend to click the "Okay" or "Yes" button to dismiss them.

Re:Summary is WRONG (1)

zoomshorts (137587) | more than 6 years ago | (#25128441)

Actually, well over half of the people on the net DO NOT UNDERSTAND English. Big fucking deal !!!

Bad Karma (1)

arizwebfoot (1228544) | more than 6 years ago | (#25127841)

I think my Bad Karma would testify to that!

Re:Bad Karma (1)

floatingrunner (621481) | more than 6 years ago | (#25127923)

same here.

click here and reply if you read slashdot and you are cool ! :D

Re:Bad Karma (1)

BPPG (1181851) | more than 6 years ago | (#25127979)

I have no karma threshold. Does that count?

Newsflash! (3, Interesting)

Fry-kun (619632) | more than 6 years ago | (#25127929)

The average computer user is the same as average TV user, a.k.a. Joe Sixpack
<sarcasm>
*gasp*
</sarcasm>

We computer professionals stick around other computer professionals - and nonprofessionals around us absorb enough knowledge from us by osmosis. So of course it FEELS like everyone is computer literate -- but they're not. We develop software for the braindead zombies and the braindead zombies use it.

Re:Newsflash! (4, Funny)

egregious (16118) | more than 6 years ago | (#25128005)

Osmosis? They gain knowledge from us through the diffusion of water?

Re:Newsflash! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#25128087)

Yes.

Re:Newsflash! (0)

snowraver1 (1052510) | more than 6 years ago | (#25128145)

Osmosis is the flow of material from that of high concentration to low concentration. What the GP meant was that spending time with "lusers" depletes us of our precious knowledge and must be avoided at all times.

Re:Newsflash! (4, Informative)

danbert8 (1024253) | more than 6 years ago | (#25128187)

Incorrect... Diffusion is a flow of material from high concentration to low concentration. Osmosis is the diffusion of water across a membrane.

Re:Newsflash! (2, Interesting)

snowraver1 (1052510) | more than 6 years ago | (#25128345)

Well is you want to turn this into a science lesson then you should add that the membrane is semi-permeable and only allows some particles across. Anyways, it depends on how you define it as to what the flow is:

Osmosis is the diffusion of a solvent (frequently water) through a semi-permeable membrane, from a solution of low solute concentration (high water potential) to a solution with high solute concentration (low water potential

and

Net movement of solvent is from the less-concentrated (hypotonic) to the more-concentrated (hypertonic) solution, which tends to reduce the difference in concentrations.

Re:Newsflash! (5, Funny)

orclevegam (940336) | more than 6 years ago | (#25128465)

That's because the bogons they emit react destructively with our cluons. I believe this is the process by which otherwise promising programmers become middle management potential. Prolonged exposure to PHBs and lusers causes cluon destruction and eventual bogon poisoning. It is truly a vicious cycle.

Re:Newsflash! (1)

NovaHorizon (1300173) | more than 6 years ago | (#25128357)

Not only that, but since water diffusion goes from most pure source to least pure source he's also calling us inherently 'more pure' then those that learn from us..

Re:Newsflash! (1)

MaxwellEdison (1368785) | more than 6 years ago | (#25128007)

To the late great Carlin.

Think of how dumb the average person is, and realize half of them are dumber than that

Everytime I think about that I laugh...and die a little inside.

Re:Newsflash! (1)

bonehead (6382) | more than 6 years ago | (#25128219)

Yep.

I don't even hold it against him that he mistook "average" for "median".

Re:Newsflash! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#25128349)

That would actually be useful to the male college geeks if two things were true, that contracts for sex were legal and EULAs weren't so easy to beat. Could you just imagine the click through EULAs they would design for a similar research project using only coeds? Of course after something like that they might actually learn to read the EULAs etc. :P

Re:Newsflash! (1)

orclevegam (940336) | more than 6 years ago | (#25128025)

Well, you know what they say, make something idiot proof, and they'll build a better idiot. It doesn't matter how blatantly stupid doing something is, you'll still find some subset of the population that does it anyway. That's essentially the underlying principle behind the darwin awards. For more examples of things that make you go "WTF?" there's the IT oriented thedailywtf.com, and the retail oriented notalwaysright.com, in either case it will make you weep for the future of humanity.

Re:Newsflash! (3, Funny)

MaxwellEdison (1368785) | more than 6 years ago | (#25128137)

Everytime I hear that said, I always wonder if a better idiot would be smarter or dumber. And the longer I think on it, the more doubt starts to creep in that I may be the latest model...

Re:Newsflash! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#25128167)

We develop software for the braindead zombies and the braindead zombies use it.

So you worked on Windows, eh?

Re:Newsflash! (1)

philspear (1142299) | more than 6 years ago | (#25128175)

We computer professionals stick around other computer professionals - and nonprofessionals around us absorb enough knowledge from us by osmosis. So of course it FEELS like everyone is computer literate -- but they're not. We develop software for the braindead zombies and the braindead zombies use it.

And to think: some people say tech support guys have overinflated egos based on their specialized knowledge of things most people don't care about! Hah!

Oblig (1)

sexconker (1179573) | more than 6 years ago | (#25128239)

Braaaaaaaaaaiiiiiiiiiiiiins.

or it could have been (5, Interesting)

itamblyn (867415) | more than 6 years ago | (#25127955)

They didn't care if malware got installed on the researchers computers. Most university owned machines that are publicly accessible (e.g. in the library) get ghosted frequently. It doesn't matter what you do to them - tomorrow they will have a fresh install anyway.

Re:or it could have been (5, Insightful)

Hatta (162192) | more than 6 years ago | (#25128133)

This was my thought too. Study participants were asked to give their opinion on a web site. If they close the offending window, they'd be unable to give their opinion on that website. If they just clicked through, they stand a chance of getting to the web site, and whatever happens to that terminal is none of their business. So these 'idiot' users were just following instructions.

Re:or it could have been (1)

fyoder (857358) | more than 6 years ago | (#25128213)

Wish I had mod points for you. A better study would be one that duplicated techniques of the bad guys at faking dialogues on the user's computer, then have participants do the experiment using their own laptops.

I suspect the results would be similar, but this problem with the design of the experiment essentially invalidates it.

I had a similar thought. (1)

Valdrax (32670) | more than 6 years ago | (#25128271)

That is close to what I was thinking. The main difference is that I don't think it was so much, "I don't care if malware is installed on someone else's machine," as, "I don't care what this dialog says on the crappy computer they gave me to work with."

My first thought upon seeing such a dialog on a machine someone else set up for me to use for a limited, low-importance task would be irritation that they don't properly maintain their systems. If it were my system, I would pay more attention to the dialog, but on someone else's seemingly buggy Windows system, I couldn't give two cents for what the dialogs say -- that's their problem.

On the other hand, if I noticed that the dialogs were suspicious, I would actually try not to install malware on their system -- again, if I even bothered to pay attention. I'm grouchy about other people's (perceived) sloppiness -- not a jerk who'd deliberately screw someone else's machine over out of laziness.

Slashdot summary proves editors are idiots (4, Funny)

QZTR (1351145) | more than 6 years ago | (#25127961)

From the article

The authors, who work in the Psychology Department of North Carolina State University, crafted a set of four fake dialog boxes. All of them contained the following warning: "The instruction at '0x77f41d24 referenced memory at '0x595c2a4c.' The memory could not be 'read.' Click OK to terminate program." One of the warnings was indistinguishable from the standard Windows XP system dialog, but the remaining three were had a number of warning signs that should tip off users to potential malware.

In all cases, mousing over the "OK" button would cause the cursor to turn into a hand button, behavior more typical of a browser control; all dialogs also had minimize and maximize buttons, while a second added a browser status bar to the bottom of the window. Finally, the most blatant one alternated between black text and a white background and a white-on-black theme. All of these should metaphorically scream, "This is not safe!"

Ah yes, well, not understanding the obvious "metaphor" of course makes one an idiot...

So what does that lying ass bullshit headline make one? And no, you don't get a pass because you ripped it off the article's author, WTF do you think editors do (at other places I mean, here it seems all you do is shove food down your gullet and crank out tripe like this).

Re:Slashdot summary proves editors are idiots (1)

Hatta (162192) | more than 6 years ago | (#25128075)

What does forgetting your closing </blockquote> tag make you?

Re:Slashdot summary proves editors are idiots (2, Funny)

MaxwellEdison (1368785) | more than 6 years ago | (#25128157)

Human

What does trolling about a typo make you? (1)

QZTR (1351145) | more than 6 years ago | (#25128163)

It's nice to see the quality of your commentary has improved to trolling typos, that's certainly better than what you usually have to say.

Way to improve yourself, keep up the work.

Re:What does trolling about a typo make you? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#25128253)

It was a legitimate question. And you have unwittingly answered it.

More power to them (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#25127985)

Quit bugging me. Much more work needs to be done to eliminate "Are you sure?" requests. Working undo is always better than asking the user and making him regret the answer seconds later.

Re:More power to them (2, Insightful)

hedwards (940851) | more than 6 years ago | (#25128041)

That was my thought, I largely stopped reading those dialogs back sometime in the mid 90s because they were basically all identical and they conveyed basically no information either.

If MS or really anybody else were serious about this sort of problem they'd stop popping up so many of those windows. Really just having a small status screen at like the lower left which listed those things would be a good start. That way only serious problems would need a window. Better yet if MS could ditch the hearing impairing error chime, the one that's always like 10x as loud as the rest of the sounds on the computer.

Wrong conclusion (2, Insightful)

91degrees (207121) | more than 6 years ago | (#25128001)

Study determines that people ignore dire warnings after experiencing that they're virtually always overstating and end up disregarding them as an annoyance.

Same general psychological area as the boy who cried wolf.

Geez! (1)

ZonkerWilliam (953437) | more than 6 years ago | (#25128003)

Anyone in IT knows this, with out needing a study to be done. Next time ask the guys who have had more than 3 years experience in any IT related field!

Re:Geez! (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 6 years ago | (#25128119)

It's one thing to 'know' something, it another to ahve it actually tested. Granted this test was week, but there you go.

Like people 'Know' that watching tv makes kids fat and lazy; However there has only been on study done, and it turned out that, no TV doesn't do that. Kids that are lazy will go outside and be lazy.

Re:Geez! (1)

GuldKalle (1065310) | more than 6 years ago | (#25128263)

Well, that's how science works. You have a hypothesis, you find the implications, you test it, and if it looks as you thought, you've won.

What?!? You mean... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#25128015)

...increasing the number of times the user has to click "OK" doesn't increase security?!? Dang, I thought I was on to something.

Love,

Microsoft Windows UAC Designer

Re:What?!? You mean... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#25128361)

Lame.

A university study confirms it? (2, Funny)

Curate (783077) | more than 6 years ago | (#25128055)

I'm sorry, but I will not believe this data until Netcraft confirms it.

Correction (1)

fahrbot-bot (874524) | more than 6 years ago | (#25128061)

Popup study confirms most university students participating in the tests are idiots. Further research needs funding to confirm that most users are morons.

Re:Correction (2, Funny)

santiagoanders (1357681) | more than 6 years ago | (#25128343)

An idiot has lower cognitive and social ability than a moron. I would expect that if the university students are idiots, then most users are just bags of water and foul smelling gasses.

Re:Correction (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#25128397)

Popup study confirms most university students participating in the tests are idiots.

Every psych major knows that Psychology is the study of the cognition and behavior of undergraduates.

These chumps pay for our internets! (1)

Naughty Bob (1004174) | more than 6 years ago | (#25128063)

We should celebrate these poor saps, for without them who would pay for the internet?

I, for one, have not seen a pop-up on any machine I am in charge of for about 3 years....

Re:These chumps pay for our internets! (1)

Spatial (1235392) | more than 6 years ago | (#25128237)

Don't forget the other stuff they pay for: botnets, spam, DDOS attacks, etc.

The fuunt thing is (5, Informative)

geekoid (135745) | more than 6 years ago | (#25128095)

the people writing the dialog boxes assume clicking no just shuts down the dialog box.
You could easily have events fire on the No as you do on the yes.
It takes a little work, but it is doable.

Re:The fuunt thing is (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#25128305)

Writing dialog boxes? That's too fancy - just make a pop-up banner ad, and the whole image is a linked graphic.

When spamming and scamming, short-cuts are rarely scrutinized by the end-user/mark.

Re:The fuunt thing is (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#25128315)

I'd just nuke them ('remove this object'), like any other irritation that manages to evade the various blockers?

Re:The fuunt thing is (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#25128341)

So then what would be proper course to deal with it? Terminate it from program manager or whatever the fuck that thing is called.

And no, not switching to linux.. first person to suggest that get's beat.

Re:The fuunt thing is (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#25128425)

Switch to BSD.

Re:The fuunt thing is (1)

JCSoRocks (1142053) | more than 6 years ago | (#25128373)

Huh? How does it take any work?
if(confirm("Are you stupid?")) {//hax!} else {//more hax!}
Putting code in the else statement isn't any more work than putting it in the original if statement.
Note: I realize people aren't using simple confirm boxes but the concept is the same.

Too much interference (4, Insightful)

digitalhermit (113459) | more than 6 years ago | (#25128097)

This was not surprising and I don't place all the blame on the users.

There's a similar situation with semi experienced administrators. They may configure logging and monitoring on a system. Being security paranoid, they set the log level fairly low so they end up getting lots of alerts.

Somewhere along the line, however, the administrator stops paying as much attention. Maybe a CPU alert hits 100% every night. Then one day someone in Finance runs a half-assed join across a gateway and brings down a DB. The admin gets the alert but has gotten so used to them that it was ignored. This is worse than if he'd never gotten the alert at all.

The alerts that OSes put up (Vista, for example) and the host of browser and AV and IDE warnings get useless after a while. The system should do this transparently and not rely on the user to be the MAC layer.

Children (4, Interesting)

Phroggy (441) | more than 6 years ago | (#25128103)

My roommates' daughter, who isn't old enough to read yet, can navigate menus on the Nintendo Wii by using trial and error to determine which button "works" and which button "doesn't work" to get where she wants, then (with repetition) memorizing the position or appearance of the correct button. She has absolutely no idea what any of the text says if it isn't accompanied by pictures, but she only occasionally needs help navigating.

Shouldn't we expect better from adults using a computer?

Re:Children (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#25128299)

Most people see computers as tools designed to enhance productivity. If even a two-year old can get things done without reading the dialogs, why would someone with higher mental faculties waste time reading them?

Confused (1)

isBandGeek() (1369017) | more than 6 years ago | (#25128113)

And we ask why Vista bothers people with UAC.

Re:Confused (1)

Enderandrew (866215) | more than 6 years ago | (#25128445)

Blame-shifting. It isn't that Windows has bad security. The users opted into it.

Wrong conclusion (5, Insightful)

Xzzy (111297) | more than 6 years ago | (#25128123)

I don't think this says as much about the users as it does the usability of our computers.

Computers are commodity items now, the days where nerds interested in technical details were the primary demographic are long gone. People just want to do their job and move on with life, they don't care about memory registers or malware they just want to not be interrupted.

It really illustrates how dialog boxes as a warning system are a flawed mechanic, we got this fancy computer with a fancy operating system, why can't it figure out the right thing to do when an application tries to access memory it's not supposed to?

Guess my point is if we put as much effort into error handling and/or malware detection as we do our whiz-bang graphics, it might not even be a problem anymore.

Re:Wrong conclusion (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#25128337)

Except that in many cases, it is impossible to determine what the 'right thing' is. The computer has little way of knowing what the actual problem is. Computers only do as they are told. If a computer is told by a website to pop up a dialog box, then it will do so, regardless of the intention of content of the box. Likewise, if the computer has an error, and is programmed to report that error, it will do so. Are you saying that we should not have error alerts, or that popups should not be allowed?

Re:Wrong conclusion (1)

ozbird (127571) | more than 6 years ago | (#25128475)

I don't think this says as much about the users as it does the usability of our computers.

... or user interface design. The user is presented with a dialog with one button; user clicks the "Sod off" button. How is this surprising? It would have been more enlightening to offer the user two options, e.g. "Cancel or Allow?", and then see how the user reacts. Always "Allow"? Always "Cancel"? Always the default? Varying depending on what the dialog says?

In defense of the users... (2, Interesting)

wcrowe (94389) | more than 6 years ago | (#25128131)

In the users' defense, they are so used to having inexplicable and frequent error dialogs pop up under Windows, that it's not surprising that they ignore the details and just "click through". Windows creates a "little boy who cried 'wolf'" environment.

User Error ... (1)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | more than 6 years ago | (#25128155)

... replace user and try again ....

WTF! I typed in slashdot.org NOT digg.com! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#25128215)

Oh wait. My bad. This is the article round-about. One day on Digg, another on Slashdot, another on Fark, another on Salon, and....

You know, if we stopped this, the internet would shrink to one-twentieth of its size!

woo, I won! (1)

swschrad (312009) | more than 6 years ago | (#25128235)

bought a mac.

Next time ... (1)

PPH (736903) | more than 6 years ago | (#25128291)

... this popup cmes up:

You're an idiot
[Allow] or [Cancel]

Click 'Cancel'.

I would love to try this at my office... (1)

erroneus (253617) | more than 6 years ago | (#25128303)

...how best to install something like this in a login script? I would like it to run through the login process, then at the end, pop up a window such as the one described, and log the results somewhere.

Re:I would love to try this at my office... (1)

gmxgeek (1370555) | more than 6 years ago | (#25128385)

You can write a VBscript that does this and stick in somewhere in the startup processes, either under Start->Programs->Startup, or a deeper location. Pop up a dialog saying whatever you want, then record whether they clicked yes or no to a txt file. Crude, but it works.

from the psych department (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#25128339)

It's (a lack of) conditioning. Users are going about their tasks and some popup dialog appears. They know that in order to get rid of this thing and continue what they were doing before, they click 'okay'. They've seen these sort of dialogs many times before with hopelessly cryptic information, so they don't bother reading. They want the fastest and most effortless way to return to what they were doing before. They also remember that when these dialogs show up and they click 'okay', they go away and the user can get back to whatever they were doing. From their standpoint, clicking 'ok' randomly never gave a bad result (in the short term), so they don't associate it with anything catastrophic.

If clicking 'ok' to any and all dialog boxes meant the machine instantly BSOD'd, or an electric shock or what have you, they'd pay CLOSE attention to what those dialogs said. As it stands now, users have learned that clicking 'ok' lets them get back to work.

No, shows that most students are idiots (2, Insightful)

petes_PoV (912422) | more than 6 years ago | (#25128351)

"Testing students at a University, psychologists

Like most psychological studies, it takes a small sample of american students and extrapolates the entire world's behaviour from that.

No wonder the "science" is so bad

Fake popups, fake buttons (1)

AlpineR (32307) | more than 6 years ago | (#25128359)

Would it be better if the test subjects clicked No? If the popups were malicious then couldn't they label "OK" as "NO" and "Cancel" as "YES"? If your browser is spawning a fake popup, aren't you already screwed anyway? Or if that's not bad itself, would clicking Yes make it any worse?

The benefit of simulated system errors? (4, Insightful)

hankwang (413283) | more than 6 years ago | (#25128369)

I don't really get why clicking OK on something that vaguely looks like a system error is a problem. If it is a script running inside a web browser, the script cannot do anything that it wouldn't be able to do without the script. If it is already a process running inside the OS, it means that you are already in trouble because it could also erase files or install programs without you clicking OK.

It would be more beneficial to malware if they could make a REAL Windows dialog ("Install new software, Allow?") look like a harmless message ("Print job finished."), but that would be pretty tough to do.

You needed a computer to prove that? (0, Flamebait)

gelfling (6534) | more than 6 years ago | (#25128389)

You're the retard.

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