Holy cow, I wrote a book!
Even without a nitpicker's corner, I have to worry about nitpickers.
I just have to do it in a more subtle way.
Here are some examples of changes I've made to upcoming entries
in order to forestall nitpicking:
What's scary is that I've noticed that I begun pre-emptively
nitpicking my own entries while I'm writing them.
In the balance between writing something that reads more naturally
and something that is more resiliant to nitpicking,
I've unfortunately started preferring the latter.
Observant readers may have noticed that I've slowly introduced
a section called
"Pre-emptive snarky comment" wherein I try to anticipate
drive-by "Hey wouldn't it be hilarious if I
ridiculed Microsoft on a Microsoft employee's blog?" comments.
It seems to be largely successful,
although sometimes people will post the identical snarky comment
that I pre-empted.
These are probably the people who talk just to enjoy the sound of their
An extension of this is the "Now that you brought up something that sucks,
I'm going to tell you that it sucks" phenomenon.
This is pretty much guaranteed whenever I bring up anything that
is related to UAC and security,
since it appears that everybody agrees that UAC sucks,
so any blog entry that talks about elevation
invariably leads to comments about
There are also popular tangents, such as any article that mentions
installing software turning into a
"post your complaints about setup here" thread.
Some people are more indiscriminate and merely
bash Vista whenever they get a chance,
such as using a story about the psychology of how people fail to process
information that they see to
rant about how it's hard to copy text out of the event viewer.
(That article about how people fail to process information that they see
was indeed an unmitigated disaster.
Everybody got into arguing over how the message should have been presented
so the user would be more likely to see it,
but that completely misses the point.
The user positively confirmed, "I see the yellow warning."
The problem wasn't that the user didn't see the message;
the response confirmed that the user saw the message just fine.
What the user didn't do was process the information.
It's my fault for choosing a bad title.
Instead of "People can't see things that are right in front of them,"
I should have titled it "People see things but don't pay attention to them,"
opting for precision even though it meant I couldn't use the idiomatic
phrase can't see what's right in front of you.
What made it worse is that I fell for the trap.
I responded to the details instead of saying,
"Whether your suggestion would have helped the user see the message or not
is totally irrelevant to the point of the article.")
I also hadn't predicted that my discussion of
how reasonable people can disagree about how a setting should be exposed
would turn into a discussion of how to shut down your computer,
turning a footnote into the primary topic of discussion.
But that's a fairly common occurrence:
People focus on a side detail (which I added for color)
and ignore the point of the story.
Sometimes I think I'd be better off if I didn't give examples.
That way nobody could be distracted by them.