A Few Notes
Monday, November 11, 1996 by Dave Winer.
OK OK OK. Uncle! I give up.
I'm getting flooded with email today, some of it flame-oriented. It's much more than I can handle. Please, before you send mail, think if maybe you can hold onto the thought and share it with a close friend later today or tomorrow. I can't handle this much input in one day. I'm just one person.
I want to retract a statement I made in The Arrogance of the Mac. I asked if we could all agree that all people who use computers are smart. Strictly speaking I can't make this statement and be sure that I'm right, because I don't know what it means to be smart in any absolute sense, so I don't really know if someone is smart or not. I'm not in a position to judge. I like to think I'm smart, but does that make me smart enough to know if someone else is? Well, I can have an opinion, but I can't know.
Paul Fosselman, firstname.lastname@example.org, said it best: "How about . . . People who use computers are using computers."
Correct. That's all we really know.
In my defense -- I was coming from the place explained in The Customer is Very Smart, 9/1/95. I was speaking from my own perspective, as a software developer, and a user being like a customer. I like it when people use computers, in the same way that a Democrat likes it if you vote Republican. I have a stake in this system, and I think that every person that connects with it is doing something elegant. My opinion. You're not wrong if you don't agree.
I also would prefer to be positive, and believe that everyone is smart, whether they use a computer or not. But let's discuss this on another day.
My real point was this -- and I wish I had said it this way -- if someone uses another kind of computer, that doesn't make them inadequate, inferior, stupid, or immoral.
So my apologies to all who noted this mistake on my part, and thanks for pointing it out so well.
From David Biedny, email@example.com, "As someone who's opinionated (like yourself), I deal with the ire of users every day. I recently taught a class (Designing for the Web) at Stanford University, and one of the students told me that I 'had too many opinions.' I asked the student what he'd prefer to opinions, and he stared at my with a blank look on his face. Go figga!"
OK. Yessir. Onward!
I always welcome friendly and respectful comments on my pieces. I try to reply when I have something to say. I also post interesting messages to the DaveNet Mail website at:
Another option that isn't getting as much use as I'd like is the bulletin-board system at scripting.com. The URL for the site is:
After logging on, reply to message 1 or one of its sub-messages.
And thanks for all the mail today. I'll keep digging!