Funny messages are not always funny

I used to work in a Company where Easter Eggs used to be considered a feature and there used to be a official maintainer for it (I used to maintain both the Easters listed here and more). I used to feel that Microsoft shouldn't have moved away from inserting Easter eggs and should've stuck with funny messages in its Software. Microsoft Max (now canned) use to give really funny messages like suggesting that I get coffee as the installation may take some time.

However, with time I have realized that funny messages are not always funny (even though I still believe Easter eggs are). If you look up the demographic usage data of Orkut it is mostly used in Brazil (60%) and the 3rd highest usage is in India (12%) and growing astronomically. Server failures in Orkut is given out as a "Bad, Bad Server. No donut for you" message. Now the problem is in India we do not eat Donut and I have a ton of non-geek friends who've never been to the US and have no idea what a donut is. One of them got majorly irritated with the message.

I guess for free services where there is no paying customers it's OK to have these kind of funny light-hearted messages, but still you need to target your jokes well. Lets hope in the Future we have India servers throwing up "Bad Bad server, no Vada for you" messages 🙂

Comments (8)

  1. Peter Ritchie says:

    I could see the mere fact they’re called Easter Eggs as being offensive to people of non Christian/Catholic/Islamic/Jewish religions…

    I wonder about "cookies"…

  2. Is there also a tradition in India for police officers to eat vada while on duty? That’s part of the joke… This just shows how hard it is to translate jokes.

  3. guruparan says:

    I wasnt to US..but still i know Donuts…its all available now a days in the local bakeries..:-)

  4. Nope police officers here in India don’t eat Vada on duty and neither do they have a partner who gets shot and the officer goes about to take revenge 🙂

    Guruparan, its not about going to the US, its about the exposure. If you work in the SW industry or watch a lot of english movies (see the para above) you know it otherwise you don’t. Its like Vada, if you are in US and have SouthIndian friends you might know Vada…

  5. Kalpesh says:

    Just to take it a little more funny.

    The message for India should determine which state the person is from? (Punjab, Chennai, Kolkata)

    The food then could be "Makke di Roti", "Idli Vada Sambhar", "Rosogulla" respectively


  6. Fabricio says:

    Not even in Brazil we actually know what that "no donut.." message means…

  7. Naveen says:

    You dont have to be in US to eat donuts…it can be bought from the local bakeries

  8. Interesting that you say you can buy in local bakeries. I live in Hyderabad and lived in Delhi and Kolkata before. I’ve never seen them sell in local bakeries.

    However, I did see them 10 years back in Ooty close to the international school.

    The point is that your sense of local is not universal.

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