Rant: How do I do this? X does it.

1 minute read

A large part of my time is spent reading and responding to posts at Macworld’s Forums. I enjoy learning new things, helping others, and generally raising the level of knowledge. It’s all very fulfilling.

All except a few select kinds of posts. Some of my personal pet peeves are fairly evident, cross-posting, repeatedly posting “It’s not working” and nothing else, calling a (forward) slash a backslash, etc.

Much less evident and I don’t mention because most people would interpret it incorrectly. That is the fabled “Windows does this” line. To give a little perspective, let me give an example:

How do I perform task X or change behavior Y with my Mac? Windows or my PC does this. Let me make this clear. That’s not helpful or relevant for the purposes of the question. The fact that Windows does it has no effect upon whether you can do it with your Mac. Seriously. Even if you describe in excruciating detail how you do it in Windows, which is something posters many times do, it’s not helpful. In fact, that doesn’t help at all. It’s also not relevant because even if Windows does or does not have the ability to do something, it has no effect upon whether your Mac can do it. Is the thinking that if you tell your Mac that Windows can do something, it will suddenly display a dialog box reading, “Would you like me to add feature X?”

It’s analogous to calling a help number for your microwave and saying, “Can I make toast with my microwave oven? My toaster does it.” It doesn’t matter what your toaster can do if you’re talking about what your microwave can do. The support representative would probably laugh.

One can’t do this when trying to help with a Mac. If you mention that it’s irrelevant, it’s considered an insult and met with the retaliatory “Fine, I’ll go back to Windows.”

It’s fine to reference another product when describing a feature that one would like verify the existence of. However, if it’s possible to describe the feature without the reference, don’t use it. Appending “Windows can do it.” is useless.