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Rejecting basic concepts

You can’t even try to explain things without getting into an argument. Pitfals of the Zip File as Folder Metaphor is a case in point.

I recently noticed that people at work often refer to zip files as “zip folders”. In fact, I can’t seem to be able to convince people that these facts they are not in fact folders.

Yes indeed, the handling of file archives has been treated with the ‘folders’ paradigm. Like many conceptual ideas in information technology, this is useful as long as it is not taken too far.

File storage as a metaphor for storing information electronically is a metaphor that attempts to connect with a physical and tangible storage of documents. The problem is that very few people even understand filing systems for documents. Look at the history of library classification systems for literature.

Perhaps even more interesting than the general ignorance is the resistance to learning. In the zip file folder problem, it is noted how much tech support is involved in finding ‘lost’ files. That is an immediate user problem but when trying to teach the concepts to the user to avoid the problem, tech support encounters a rejection of the necessary knowledge and ideas.

It is very frustrating to have a thirsty horse that absolutely, positively refused to take a drink on the water you offer and then attacks you because the world isn’t as he envisions it.

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