PEBKAC Needs To Make A Comeback

Posted by: Rea Maor In: Computers and Technology - Thursday, July 14th, 2011

‘PEBKAC’ is an acronym standing for “Problem Exists Between Keyboard And Chair” and was once a standard IT code for “We can’t solve the problem on our end”. It’s one of the canonical geek insults. And really, isn’t it getting time to be a little more frank with users again?

Like this little story over at InfoWorld, telling of the user, “Jane”, “who thinks she can do no wrong. A problem is never her fault.” Yeah, and show me a user who doesn’t believe that???

If you fix computers for a living, or work in any kind of tech support, or answer the phones on a help desk, you know that your whole user base is made of “Jane”s. Great classic user excuses include “I didn’t touch anything!”, “There must have been a power glitch!”, and “It just crashes for no reason!”

Heck, play an online game in any community and you’ll hear a stack of canonical excuses people use for losing a video game: “They were camping!”, “I was distracted by an IM!”, “This map sucks!”, “Frickin’ lag!” Never is it – “Oh, well, I lost. I guess I was not the best player.” This is the blameless society culture picking up technology: Nothing is ever anybody’s fault. You see this happening when education debates pop up during election season in Western countries: “If I failed to pass the test, it’s the test’s fault.” Echo that to the computer desktop, and now it’s “The user clicked the wrong button; it’s the interface’s fault for not being intuitive enough.”

Sound familiar? Right, except nobody puts up with this abuse as gladly as the IT field does.


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