It Almost Seems Deliberate


MEMORANDUM

To: YouTube

re: Really? I thought this part was obvious

So … you know that little thing you have where we click for the option to say we don’t want you promoting this or that kind of video? Why does it not work? No, really, when I tell you to not show me this, don’t turn around and promote the same damn video again.

e-Commerce


MEMORANDUM

To: Amazon.com

re: Communication breakdown

This is pretty straightforward: Once upon a time I ordered something from Amazon. The seller sent the item. The item arrived. All is good in the world. Right?

Okay, so, big deal, right? But it’s a few months later and this order still registers as shipped, but not delivered. Here’s the good news: It was delivered. All is good in the world. Right?

It seemed worth telling the seller. Indeed, I know what happened. At the end of the day, the product was delivered on time by a guy driving a twenty year old Ford Taurus, bearing credentials from a courier I hadn’t encountered before. Big deal, right? The item I ordered is here: It is the right product; it is undamaged; it is on time; I am satisfied. All is good in the world. Right?

All I want to do is communicate directly with the seller, to advise them to close the book on this one. What I do not understand is why that is so difficult. I’m sorry, but what I need to tell them does not fit any of your pre-selected suggestions. You do not have an easily identified pathway to allow this communication.

So, you know. Whatever. Maybe the only way to let the seller know is to explain in a bad review. It seems a lot easier to simply drop a line to say, “Hey, by the way, I got this; you can log it as delivered.”

But that’s just not the Amazon way, is it?

No, really. The product purchased arrived on time and in good condition. For the sake of a bureaucratic omission somewhere in the chain of custody, this is not logged in the Amazon delivery record. I would like to advise the seller that this is taken care of, but there are far too many hoops to jump through just to find out I’m in the wrong place. It’s actually quite astounding what effort you have put into making certain nobody can actually communicate with anybody else.

Look, whenever I grumble about Amazon, someone I know reminds that the company is constantly rated for the highest customer satisfaction in this or that exactly meaningless survey. Those surveys would probably count more if they were capable of accounting for this kind of dissatisfaction: Amazon is so hostile to consumers that we cannot even help satisfactory sellers make certain their book is up to date.

For whatever reason, we seem to take this out on politicians. Go figure.

Dear BuzzFeed: No


MEMORANDUM

To: BuzzFeed

re: Do you really need the explanation

23 Pictures That Really Need To Be Deleted From The Internet (BuzzFeed)I figure I am being pedantic. That must be it, right? I mean, it’s true that I occasionally mistake BuzzFeed for a news organization, mostly because whenever I encounter it someone purports to be telling me something about the news. It is, of course, my own fault for taking you seriously; thank you for correcting that erroneous notion.

No, seriously, as fatally ironic metahumor goes, I suppose someone, somewhere needed to try that one. And I do confess my curiosity as to just how many clicks that tease accrues. Still, though, I think the problem is that the only thing funny about it is the fact of someone wasting their time trying.

Were you hazing the intern? Taking bets on who could most embarrass their own mother for the fact of their own birth? (No, really, who won, and how?)

Still, though, God works in mysterious ways; you can always use that for an excuse.

____________________

Image note: “23 Pictures That Really Need To Be Deleted From The Internet” ― Sidebar offering from Buzzfeed.com, 3 November 2016.

The Password Hole


Detail of frame from 'Darker Than Black: Gemini of the Meteor' episode 8, "Twinkling Sun on a Summer Day …"

A personal note: If someone feels they need technical assistance with their computer or network, then one of the things I will need in order to help is access.

Welcome to the password hole.

In the first place, I’m not much of a techie; perhaps help desk would appreciate me if they only understood how often I don’t call them. Still, though, as a user who knows how to start and operate a computer, and even do things like update my system without help, other people occasionally think I am some manner of expert.

Rule Number One: If it is a Windows system, I can’t help.

Rule Number Two: I can’t fix it if you can’t tell me what the problem is.

Rule Number Three: There is, by tradition, no Rule Three.

Rule Number Four: Remember your fucking passwords!

Continue reading

With Apologies to Matt Tarpley


To: Matt Tarpley

re: Facebook spoilers

(sigh)Why do I feel like I’m betraying you if I link to one of your comics on Facebook?

I mean, this just isn’t conducive to fourth-frame humor, and it certainly doesn’t help this panel arrangement; there’s almost no reason to click the link. Out of curiosity, are the artists grumbling, muttering, murmuring, smoldering, fuming, spitting, whatnot and so-how?

Anyway, yeah. Sorry.

Sigh.

Good Enough for the Software Industry


If ...?  Then ...?

I don’t think it is especially nitpickety to wonder what it is about software design for commercial purposes used by media research companies that this little outcome should occur.

“We appreciate your interest,” they politely tell us, “but unfortunately this survey is now closed”.

Just for that, I ought to put iModerate into my popup blocker. After all, I don’t mind the occasional survey request from websites I frequent; nor am I offended that this one launches in a way that evades the popup blocker in the first place.

But let us be clear: When N(sufficient) then stop launching the popup. That is to say, sure, I am not a computer programmer, but I still don’t see what is so difficult about a very basic if/then statement.

Instead, when N equals or exceeds the intended sample threshold for the survey, the subroutine simply changes the message to thank the user for their interest in a survey they did not ask to take and most likely would have bypassed, anyway.

And, yes, it is true one could run their browser with a less stringent cookie policy, so that the survey software might identify a user who has already answered, but that still does not explain the odd decision to continue launching the survey window with the new message. The nearest I can guess is that their unscientific poll might somehow or other have enough bad data that they might need to reopen the survey a couple days later. But even for marketing data that would seem a sketchy survey protocol.

So, you know … Just stop launching the survey when you have enough responses. Is this really so hard? After all, I will happily concede that it really does seem a strange thing to fret about. Then again, it happened, and I noticed, and then the question persisted. And, still, it persists.

It has long been said, “Good enough for government work.” But over the last twenty or so years, what has emerged is a business model that reads, “Good enough for the software industry.” This would seem just a particularly peculiar example of where that idea shows through.