Main      Site Guide    
Computer Stupidities

"On two occasions, I have been asked [by members of Parliament], 'Pray, Mr. Babbage, if you put into the machine wrong figures, will the right answers come out?' I am not able to rightly apprehend the kind of confusion of ideas that could provoke such a question."
-- Charles Babbage (1791-1871)

The following is a large collection of stories and anecdotes about clueless computer users. It's a baffling phenomenon that in today's society an individual, who might in other circumstances be considered smart and wise, can sit down in front of a computer screen and instantly lose every last shred of common sense he ever possessed. Complicate this phenomenon with a case of "computerphobia," and you end up with tech support personnel having phone conversations that are funny in retrospect but seem like perfectly valid motives for wild machine gun shooting sprees at the time. And yet, amidst the vast, surging quantities of stupidity are perfectly excusable technological mishaps -- but that are amusing nonetheless. After all, even the best of us engages in a little brainless folly every once in a while.

Most of these stories are true. Some happened to me personally. Some happened to friends of mine. Some are considered urban legends, but even most of these are more likely to have happened in some form or another than not. Skeptics look at such stories and doubt their truth. But reason, common sense, and experience tell me that if you sit someone who isn't computer literate (even a smart someone) down in front of a computer, you're bound to accrue anecdotes no less outrageous than these. You'd be surprised.

Computer Stupidities By Topic

Latest additions: 1/21/13

Click on the "NEW" icons to jump to the new stories.





Tech Support

Role Reversal


For more accounts of slips and stupidity, visit:

Things People Said