Posted on Sun 17 January 2021

users will learn things if they have motivation

I don’t know about your mother, but my mother is not even a power user – Windows, hunt-and-peck typing – and she taught herself to use IRC because that’s what the other people in her social group were using.

I assume she didn’t use any /command except /join – maybe not even that, because if you’re only using one channel then you can have your client autojoin – but that was enough to get her in. Presumably she learned group etiquette on the fly, the way most people do.

People are all “I can’t use that, I’m too dumb, I can’t learn nerd stuff” but before the browser era millions of non-nerds sat down with friends, were guided through minimal instructions, and dealt with inconsistent semi-hidden interfaces.

You’re all so focused on point-and-click that you think people won’t learn stuff when it gets them what they want. Pro-tip: primates are good at learning stuff that gets them what they want, and the things most primates want most of the time are food, sex, status and socialization. The Internet only became useful as a way of getting food in the last decade, but it’s been doing well in the other three since the birth of Usenet. Is easy nice? Yes. Is it necessary? No. Not for the right motivation.

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