How stupid can you get?

I just attempted to join Rochester FreeCycle out of a sense of futility at all the stuff we had to throw away when we moved. But when I attempted to join, I got an email that consisted of a Word document. strings(1) indicates that it’s just a page of plain text, asking me some questions. So why the hell is it a Word document? Are they saying that people who don’t have $700 to waste on a software package or who aren’t willing to pirate software aren’t welcome? What about people who refuse to read email on Windows?

Sure, I could probably fire up and read it, but why the hell should I? If it can be expressed in plain text, then send it in plain text dammit! And if it can’t be expressed in plain text, I probably don’t want to read it. I read my email using a plain text mail reader (mutt) and it works ssh’ed in from work, or over a modem connection from Ottawa, or (in extremis) using a 2400bps modem on a tiny little PDA screen. I’m not going to change that to suit you, so don’t even try. And calling me a Luddite isn’t going to change anything.

3 thoughts on “How stupid can you get?”

  1. Definitly with you there. Freecycle caught my eye in this post though. I just left my local Freecyle list due to posts for job offers and advertisements for computer service.

    The local list moderator in reply to my message complaining about the messages clamed it was her list and she makes the rules, if I don’t agree, tough. That is all well and good except Freecycle is a trademarked term and extends people the privlidge of using the freecycle name for their local mailing list under the condition that they follow the rules at This moderator didn’t seem to understand. Oh well.

    On a related note, anyone want a working X-terminal?

  2. Not that it’s a particularly good excuse, but lots of freecycle mods are clueless when it comes to Mysterious Computer Stuff. I joined my local freecycle recently as a moderator, and had to change the files over from Word to plain text when I did.

    I would just drop a note to the -owner address explaining briefly why their Word file excludes some users, and asking for them to change the file to plain text. The process of creating a plain text Pending File is slightly different to uploading a File – I can walk you/them through the steps if they can’t figure it out.

    The central Freecycle establishment needs to deal with this on a wider level by educating their mods.


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