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Idiobots: an apology

Corrections and Carrionification

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It's the policy of The Register to correct errors as soon as possible.

In a story we published yesterday we linked to an online article on the InfoWorld website entitled Sun shows Linux server, Solaris on Intel written by Ashlee Vance.

Our story implied that the InfoWorld article was free from the rampaging InfoWorld idiobot that creates hyperlinks of commonplace technical terms repeatedly pointing to a single definition of the term - a mindless tic that has caused mental distress and confusion amongst our readers, many of whom, like us, read and value InfoWorld too.

We wrote:-

We note with some relief that InfoWorld's rampaging hyperlink bot, that used to underline every occurrence of the word "server" or "chip" has been found and destroyed - or has snuck off on vacation).

At the time this was true. But within an hour of publication, InfoWorld had revived the Idiobot. Once engaged upon its task, the Idiobot created 23 hyperlinks pointing to IDG's single definition of "server", and four leading to the same definition of "operating system".

In recent weeks we've developed a community early-warning system, which informs readers in advance the extent to which they are about to be patronized in an InfoWorld article.

But on this occasion, the system failed. We failed to alert our readers to the revied bot, and we apologize for the anguish caused by failing to correct our story. Register readers expecting an Idiobot-free article were instead hyperlinked into severe states of anxiety. We unreservedly apologize for the oversight.

Yesterday we wrote a polite private note to InfoWorld's production editor requesting an explanation for this hyperlink diarrhoea. We have yet to hear a reply.

A traumatised Pete Hodgson wrote:- " Come on, That Bot Must Die." Steve Parker, Chris Miller, Jima and a host of other Register readers also noted the bot had returned, to ruin their day.

But why do they do it?

Well, in the movie Memento, the Guy Pierce character suffers from a condition in which his short-term memory only lasts around two minutes. InfoWorld has taken the precaution of assuming that all of its readers suffer from an extreme version of this affliction: where the short term memory lasts only four or five words. That's why we need to keep being reminded what a "server" is … twenty three times an article.

Really. InfoWorld couldn't look more ridiculous if it made editor in chief Mike Vizard arrive at press conferences in a clown car, whose doors fall off as soon as it's parked.

If like us, you know and depend on the venerable weekly, we suggest you write to one of the people on this page.

Please include in the subject line the text: "NO! I DO NOT HAVE LEARNING DIFFICULTIES". ®

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