When Interfaces Attack

By Deane Barker on January 30, 2006

The Scott Adams Meltdown: Anatomy of a Disaster: Scott Adams of Dilbert fame apparently accidentally deleted 500 comments from his blog recently. Bruce Tognazzini examines — in nauseating detail — why this happened and concludes that Adams was a victim of poor usability.

At some point in the past, some people associated with databases, almost certainly a group of systems programmers, decided to drastically redefine “publish” from the traditional “mass replicate” to “set a little flag.” That one naive move set the stage for tens of thousands of disasters.