Unraveling Obfuscation

ob fus cate – 1. to confuse, bewilder, or stupefy 2. to make obscure or unclear

MS bashing may be fashionable

Posted by Todd McKinney on January 20, 2008

…but it’s not always right. I’m reading about all the dustup with Mashable not doing such a great job with attribution, and overall I’m thinking yes, something should change. It’s just sleazy to see the proliferation of internal links and content thievery among the commercial a-list in the blogosphere. These guys should be setting the standard here, not competing in a race to the gutter with MSM and sensationalism.

Then, I don’t know, maybe Louis Gray is throwing them a bone or something, kind of an olive branch, by sharing out this one-sided drivel from Mashable on his uber cool linkblog. The headline is certainly intriguing and it implies that I’m going to read some fascinating story about MSFT beating up on the web 2.0 ecosystem. My first thought is how does this play with the new accelerated acquisition kick they’re on, and how are things working out. Is that what I get? No.

The article parrots a Fortune piece that is whining about MSFT stopping people from scraping address book data. This is nearly the same song as the Scoblegate/Facebook storm that was raging a couple of weeks ago. From what I recall, that was kind of a 50/50 split among the crowd, with a lot of “Facebook was right” and “Scoble was right” depending on who was talking. In all the noise, one of the most sane and insightful discussions came from Dare.

Typing in credentials for another service is absolutely the wrong thing to be training users to do. It’s an insidious problem that raises the vulnerability of the mainstream user to phishing and identity theft. As an industry, and as individuals who are designing and building these systems we should be ashamed. Blaming Microsoft for saying this design is wrong might feel like a good idea, but it seems to me in this case that the artist formerly known as “Borg” is fighting the prevailing wisdom for a pretty good reason.

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2 Responses to “MS bashing may be fashionable”

  1. Louis Gray said

    Nothing about what I do here on the Web is “uber cool”. 🙂

    As for Mashable, if I find news there, I will add it to the link blog. Of course, my hitting share is easier than going out to Fortune to get the original story, adding the feed to RSS and sharing it there. Inherently, Google Reader hasn’t yet made a way to share items that don’t belong to an RSS feed reader you already subscribe to. Trust me, I asked them to do this back in March of ’07, and I’ve seen nothing. However, places like FriendFeed and AssetBar do let you do that.

    I’m not “throwing them a bone” or offering an olive branch. They’ve done a great job responding to my post, and it looks like we’ll have our desired effect – discussion and a closer look at editorial practices. But there’s also no question I made some of the reporters unhappy, and we’ll see what long-term effects there are.

  2. todd said

    Yep, I figured as much as far as the bone throwing goes – it looks like the situation is well in hand based on all of the phone calling and such in the comments. Just me trying to be a sensationalist.

    Anyhow, thanks for dropping by to comment! I’m enjoying the shared reader memetracker space at the moment. It’s really interesting to see it develop into something useful.

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