The problem with 'Don't be Stupid'

Is that people are stupid.

This was going to be a post around social media policies and how perhaps we shouldn’thave them. The Microsoft policy, apparently, can be summed up as ‘Don’t be stupid’. Which is to be frank, rather stupid in itself. It is rare that a person does something knowing that it is indeed a stupid thing to do. Even if they say, this might be a stupid thing to do, clearly they don’t really believe that or they wouldn’t actually go ahead and do it. They may believe that other people might think what they are about to do is stupid. However they secretly they believe that they are being very clever and their apparently stupid action will be proven to be as cunning as ‘a fox what used to be Professor of Cunning at Oxford University but has moved on, and is now working for the UN at the High Commission of International Cunning Planning’.

The bones of this post has been kicking around for a while, fueled by the occasionally visit to pervy-wankerLameBook, from which I’m sure you’ve seen examples, such as the one to right, floating around various blogs and even more mainstream sites. Then Brian Sollis offered some advice for businesses and employees in his latest post on how to protect yourself online, concluding:

Perhaps the best advice is to not rely on common sense at all. You, and only you, are responsible for creating and defining your destiny. Instead of giving companies reasons why they should block important social networks and ultimately new opportunities, show them what they’re missing through your actions, research, and words.

Which resonates deeply with my belief that you can’t make a policy that stops people being stupid and that all the wonderful web has done has made it easier to be stupid in different and far more public way than ever before.

To illustrate my point about human stupidity I thoght I’d pull up some stats around how many people are injured in the UK by seemingly benign objects. Except what I discovered is it now possible to play a bastard child version of Cludeo (or Clue for any passing Americans) and Googlewhacking. All you need to do is pop along to the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) website and select one option each from the eight categories (where, type of accident, type of injury, body part, victim’s age, object involved, gender and activity) and see if someone has indeed been injured in that manner. Or you can just pick one or two varaiables, such as item and gender,  to make it easier and find out that men seemed to be very careless with chopsticks in 2000 and 2002 but escaped any oriential eating implement injuries in 2001. Give it a go, it’s a fascincating waste of time and can lead to some interesting discussions, for example how did 144 people get injured by blood 2002? Blood as a result of injury seems more likely than it being the cause.

More sensible post on social media policies will follow, prolly.

One thought on “The problem with 'Don't be Stupid'

  1. While I agree that you can not legislate against stupidity or make people sit a ‘common sense exam’ before they fall out of the birth canal, we can revel in their actions.

    And don’t forget that without the idiots that sneak in to the gene pool whilst the lifeguard was not looking the entire H&S industry would collapse over night.

    “There is no sin except stupidity” (Oscar Wilde)

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