Password nerdview

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Steve Politzer-Ahles was trying to change his password on the Hong Kong Polytechnic University system, and found himself confronted with this warning:

You may not use the following attribute values for your password:


Attribute values? This is classic nerdview.

The "pu" prefix obviously means "Polytechnic University". So they don't want him to use his Polytechnic University network login name as his password, or his university staff number, and they don't want his password to be "Steve" or "Politzer-Ahles". So why couldn't they say that in plain English? Why did the tech people who created the message write as if they were writing variables for use in a programming language? My guess is that terms like "puAccNetID" actually are variables in some script, or field names in a database, and the creators of the message were looking at everything from their perspective, as if everyone saw the world from where they sit and knew what they know. That's nerdview, as plain as a pikestaff. Tech guys: don't write like this.

[Add later: Comments are off as usual, because @AvoidComments. But I'm getting email from people who defend the above display as not really being nerdview, on the grounds that some malfunctioning or ill-written script for managing the password change process seems to have been involved. That makes no difference in my opinion (and I will be the judge here, in the Court of Nerdview, since I coined the term and formulated the concept): somebody in charge of information systems at HKPU should have had at least one human test the password-change routine to ensure that it behaved sensibly. It doesn't. This is nerdview. It is so ruled.]

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