Tuesday, March 20, 2007

The public forum

I have noticed a disturbing trend recently in the use of Instant Messenger for intraoffice banter. Some of it can be quite full of ridicule that's supposed to be good natured but tends to go too far. There have been occasional missives from Management saying that IM is to be used for business purposes but the Team Leads seem to be leading this latest wave of mis-use so I don't expect it to change.

Analyst J: "WTF?????? did everyone who is calling in eat paint chips today or what?"

We've all had difficult users to deal with and while I like to think that most of the difficult users are merely ignorant about computers but sometimes we run into people that are incapable of understanding simple instructions or questions and you are left to wonder how they actually do their jobs. OK, we sometimes express our frustration about these stupid users. Not a big deal. Usually.

Analyst W: "I feel like calling INS on these people"

This response came immediately after the one above and rather than merely showing frustration, exposes an underlying racism. The Bank employs a lot of people in a lot of markets and, as a nation of immigrants, a significant percentage of employees are foreign born or, if native born, have accents. This offensive statement assumes that "these people", deemed foreign only by their accents, are here illegally. That sort of assumption is simply repulsive.

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