First, let me say that everything I don’t know about information technology would overflow the Grand Canyon. Let me also say that I am amazed at the peeps who are deep into geekery, to the point of producing things like WordPress or similar computer stuff. To me, it borders on magic.
Having said that, I often wonder about the width of intellectual/technical divide between the Űbergeeks of the World and the rest of us. This massive divide (at least from my perspective) has existed for many years, but it has become obvious only in the last two decades or so. Consider that during the sixties it was the Űbergeeks who figured out much of the stuff that sent us into outer space and ultimately to the moon. We non-geeks just shook our heads in amazement. It was stupendous stuff, but it was beyond our everyday experience.
Then, along came the personal computer. Once the Űbergeeks made using a computer something that the average schmo might be able to do, the Űbergeeks’ numbers increased dramatically, but not nearly as much as the number of peeps buying computers and hoping to actually be able to use them.
Given that this is not intended to be a history of home computing, suffice it to say that there are a gazillion Űbergeeks out there, but ten times as many non-geeks flailing away at keyboards, doing everything from playing solitaire to, yes, blogging, which brings me full circle to my problems with WordPress 2.5.
As I understand it (and I could be cosmically wrong), the collective that creates things like WordPress is a loosely associated (if formally associated at all) group of Űbergeeks who produce truly amazing computer stuff, perhaps just for the hell of it.
I have been told that before these cyber- mavins unleash a new version of software on the non-geeks, they put it “out there” for Beta testing, Beta testing, being the vehicle used to uncover where the software’s problems may lie – sort of like a ship’s shakedown cruise.
I cannot help but wonder if, perhaps because of the great divide between Űbergeeks and the rest of us, the Űbergeeks choose as Beta testers other Űbergeeks, and after the Beta testing is done, they sit around, drink Mountain Dew and speak Geekish to one another about the complex stuff “under the hood,” as it were. You know what I mean: the kinds of esoteric things that one reads on computer forums, which are utterly unintelligible to anyone but the Űbergeeks. This is no doubt an important part of the software development process, but, it must be remembered that in the case of the WordPress (and similar software), the Űbergeeks are developing software for Joe Blow’s use.
Now, specifically with respect to blogging software, it is more than fair to assume that Joe Blow is a lesson or three beyond the “Intro to Your New Computer” or “Learning to Click and Drag” courses offered at places like adult schools.
My question, rhetorical though it may be, is, “Are the Joe Blows of the World included among the Beta testers of blogging software in general and WordPress 2.5 in particular?” Sadly, I suspect not, because if they were, there is no way that WordPress 2.5 would have been released.
I know, I know. You’re thinking, Yo, Jimbo. You’re a techno-doofus; you’ve said so yourself many times. Maybe you just haven’t figured out how to use the farookin’ software. Jeez!” Maybe so, but I’m probably technically more representative of the average blogger than not, and including the techno-doofuses (i.e. Joe Blows of the World) as Beta testers might have suggested to the developers either that WordPress version 2.5 wasn’t working right, or that it was working fine, but that some instructions (gasp!) might be a good idea. Instructions? Who knew?
I appreciate that using the Joe Blows of the world as Beta testers will be tedious for the Űbergeeks, as they would have to endure listening to non-geeks using English to try to explain to Űbergeeks problems that would best be described in Geekish. Still, Joe Blow Beta testers might well prevent a truckload of computers from being assaulted by users who just can’t seem to figure shit out.
In closing, I am hereby volunteering to step to the plate and serve as a Joe Blow Beta tester for the next WordPress version, assuming, of course, that the WordPress Űbergeeks give two fiddlers’ shits about what we Joe Blows think.