Fun_People Archive
13 Feb
Nine Types of Users

Date: Mon, 13 Feb 95 00:18:07 PST
From: Peter Langston <psl>
To: Fun_People
Subject: Nine Types of Users

Forwarded-by: bostic@CS.Berkeley.EDU (Keith Bostic)
Forwarded-by: Todd Kover <kovert@cs.UMD.EDU>
Forwarded-By: Omar Siddique <>
Forwarded-By: Lord Rodness <>
Forwarded-By: "That guy..." <>
Forwarded-By: (Sam Jones)

	This is my own, though the style is a blatant copy of Matt Groening.
Scon is short for Student Consultant.  Scons are people hired to help users 
learn and work with the university's machinery.  A pod is a UNM term for a 
place where such machinery is made available.

The nine types of users

El Explicito --
	"I tried the thing, ya know, and it worked, ya know, but now
	it doesn't, ya know?"

Advantages:	Provides interesting communication challanges.
Disadvantages:	So do chimps.
Symptoms:	Complete inability to use proper nouns
Real Case:	One user walked up to a certain Armenian pod manager and
		said, "I can't get what I want!"  The pod manager leaned
		back, put his hands on his belt-buckle, and said, "Well,
		ma'am, you've come to the right place."

Mad Bomber --
	"Well, I hit ALT-f6, shift-f8, CNTRL-f10, f4, and f9, and now it
	looks all weird."

Advantages:	Will try to find own solution to problems.
Disadvantages:	User might have translated document to Navajo without
		meaning to.
Symptoms:	More than six stopped jobs in UNIX, a 2:1 code-to-letter
		ratio in WordPerfect
Real Case:	One user came in complaining that his WordPerfect document
		was underlined.  When I used reveal codes on it, I found
		that he'd set and unset underline more than fifty times in
		his document.

Frying Pan/Fire Tactician --
	"It didn't work with the data set we had, so I fed in my aunt's
	recipe for key lime pie."

Advantages:	Will usually fix error.
Disadvantages:	'Fix' is defined VERY loosely here.
Symptoms:	A tendancy to delete lines that get errors instead of
		fixing them.
Real Case:	One user complained that their program executed, but didn't
		do anything.  The scon looked at it for twenty minutes before
		realizing that they'd commented out EVERY LINE.  The user
		said, "Well, that was the only way I could get it to compile."

X-user --
	"Will you look at those... um, that resolution, quite impressive,

Advantages:	Using the cutting-edge in graphics technology.
Disadvantages:	Has little or no idea how to use the cutting-edge in
		graphics technology.
Symptoms:	Fuzzy hands, blindness
Real Case:	When I was off duty, two users sat down in front of me at
		DEC station 5000/200s that systems was reconfiguring.  I
		suppressed my laughter while, for twenty minutes, they sat
		down and did their best to act like they were doing exectly
		what they wanted to do, even though they couldn't log in.

Miracle Worker --
	"But it read a file from it yesterday!"  'Sir, at a guess, 
	this disk has been swollowed and regurgitated.'  "But I did
	that a month ago, and it read a file from it yesterday!"

Advantages:	Apparently has remarkable luck when you aren't around.
Disadvantages:	People complain when scons actually use the word
Symptoms:	Loses all ability to do impossible when you're around.
		Must be the kryptonite in your pocket.
Real Case:	At least three users have claimed that they've loaded IBM 
		WordPerfect from Macintosh disks.

Taskmaster --
	"Well, this is a file in MacWrite.  Do you know how I can upload
	it to MUSIC, transfer it over to UNIX from there, download it
	onto an IBM, convert it to WordPerfect, and put it in three-column

Advantages:	Bold new challanges.
Disadvantages:	Makes one wish to be a garbage collector.
Symptoms:	An inability to keep quiet.  Strong tendancies to make
		machines do things they don't want to do.
Real Case:	One user tried to get a scon to find out what another
		person's E-mail address was even though the user didn't
		know his target's home system, account name, or real name.

Maestro --
	"Well, first I sat down, like this.  Then I logged on, like this,
	and after that, I typed in my password, like this, and after that
	I edited my file, like this, and after that I went to this line
	here, like this, and after that I picked my nose, like this..."

Advantages:	Willing to show you exactly what they did to get an error.
Disadvantages:	For as long as five or six hours.
Symptoms:	Selective deafness to the phrases, "Right, right, okay, but
		what was the ERROR?", and a strong fondness for the phrase,
		"Well, I'm getting to that."
Real Case:	I once had to spend half an hour looking over a user's
		shoulder while they continuously retrieved a document into
		itself and denied that they did it (the user was complaining
		that their document was 87 copies of the same thing).

Princess (unfair, perhaps, as these tend, overwhelmingly, to be males) -- 
	"I need a Mac, and someone's got the one I like reserved, would
	you please garrote him and put him in the paper recycling bin?"

Advantages:	Flatters you with their high standards for your service.
Disadvantages:	Impresses you with their obliviousness to other people on 
		this planet.
Symptoms:	Inability to communicate except by complaining.
Real Case:	One asked a scon to remove the message of the day because
		he (the user) didn't like it.

Shaman --
	"Last week, when the moon was full, the clouds were thick, and
	Fomalhaut was above the horizon, I typed f77, and lo, it did

Advantages:	Gives insight into primative mythology.
Disadvantages:	Few scons are anthropology majors.
Symptoms:	Frequent questions about irrelavent objects.
Real Case:	One user complained that all information on one of their disks
		got erased (as Norton Utilities showed nothing but empty
		sectors, I suspect nothing had ever been on it).  Reasoning
		that the deleted information went *somewhere*, they wouldn't
		shut up until the scon checked four different disks for the 
		missing information.

[=] © 1995 Peter Langston []