Am I for real or just a robot? part 2


Some time ago, somebody clicked the "Contact me" link in the navigation bar, and despite the warnings, asked a technical question. I responded, "If you have a question you can post it to the suggestion box." The reply:

Please, don't use a bot which pretends to be you to answer e-mails. Especially such a poorly-designed one.

Maybe those people were right. Perhaps I'm a robot. (It would certainly be a lot easier for me if I were.)

Comments (29)
  1. Psa says:

    Poorly designed?  I wish I could write a bot that could recognise unwanted non-spam email and give a sensible reply.

  2. PinkDuck says:

    Why did Raymond respond with "If you have a question", having been "asked a technical question". That very phrasing implies that he hadn’t recognised the email was in fact a question. Had he written "Please ask questions by posting through the suggestion box." then it would have seem human, rather than a catch-all auto-responder.

  3. Rob H says:

    Redmond researchers now developing robots with psychic powers. Are your children safe? Film at 11.

  4. KenW says:

    PinkDuck: Let me guess… It was you that sent the email to Raymond, right?

  5. Uh huh says:

    "Danger, Will Robinson!"

  6. Doug Bradley says:

    I don’t see you as a robot or even a bot-bot but perhaps a chattering Cenobite, make that Chenobot, prepared to inflict pain and embarrassment upon any who seek answers to unresearched, uncertain questions.

    Then again, you carry a bit of the Pinhead persona too, "Oh so good" at what you do and ready to share the pain with those who master the puzzle.  If they come fully aware and prepared then they get exactly what they were seeking, but if not they’ll find themselves facing the pain inflicted by one or more of the Chenobots.  Will it be Snark?  NitPoker?  CodeCrusher?

    It makes me question… do those that invoke the Chenobots do so out of ignorance, truly unaware of what awaits them, or deep in their subconsious do they truly yearn for the pain?

  7. mastmaker says:

    Can’t we do something about these ‘pingback’ers? Like sending to Gitmo or something?

  8. Larry Hosken says:

    How did you reply to their reply?  The temptation to write back "Dear {:ERR no value found for $nmae:}, Flaming me does not encourage me to answer your question." would have been nigh-overwhelming.

  9. Erzengel says:

    The funny thing is, the Ping-Backer seems to think the Old New Thing is being written by Michael Kaplan. Whoops.

  10. mikeb says:

    Sounds like someone has passed the un-Turing Test.

  11. Bob says:

    We could, but don’t you think the poor bastards already at Gitmo have suffered enough?  :)

  12. SuperKoko says:

    He’s going to win his enhanced turing test!

    http://xkcd.org/329/

    @Raymond Chen: If you’ve a doubt, do this test:

    http://xkcd.com/233/

  13. mh says:

    Nobody else thinks it’s weird that they replied to what they thought was a bot?

  14. Gazpacho says:

    I sometimes ask myself the same question, after going a week without enough sleep.

  15. Peter says:

    I think it’s clear by now that Raymond is a robot – this is simply the last piece of evidence in a long trail that inevitably leads us to that obvious conclusion.

    The more important question now is whether he’s hostile to us carbon-based lifeforms – let’s use one of those spiderey things from The Matrix as an example – or a more gentle Asimovian robot from which we’d have nothing to fear.

    Given the famous thermonuclear social skills and the resulting fear he’s held in by interns, I’m thinking it’s the former.

  16. ChrisMcB says:

    I don’t get it… Mr first pingback said:

    "Mr Kaplan wrote an interesting article, here is an excerpt:"

    Then shows Chen’s post, in its entirety.

    finishes with:

    "Read the rest of this great post here"

    No added value, no commentary, no nothing. So what was the point?

    BTW personally I think Chen should have replied to the reply with "if you have a question…"

  17. James Slaughter says:

    In the latter part of the first decade of the new millennium, people began to suspect that computers were too smart to pass the Turing test…

  18. Cheong says:

    Peter: It always makes me wonder why people think robot must be metal?

    Had anyone invent a robot that’s absolutely free from pure metal parts? (that is, only with plastic coating, graphite wirings, etc.)

  19. GreaseMonkey says:

    Maybe you’re a teacher.

  20. Dean Harding says:

    ChrisMcB: Note the ads at the top of the page. It’s probably ironic that a bot scraped the RSS for Raymond’s blog to generate that post :-)

  21. Rune says:

    I don’t find it remarkable that a bot replies to e-mail sent to Raymond. What is remarkable is that the same bot then posts to this blog when someone accuses it of being badly designed.

    It will be interesting to see Raymond’s comments to his bot’s doings once he checks the blog archives. Or maybe he will modify his bot to automatically respond to postings like these as well?

    Incidentally, my own bot is programmed to respond to blog entries made by bots that complain about being accused of poor design.

  22. Raymond’s not the only one with this problem.

    Swedish popstar Basshunter wrote a song about mistaking his friend’s girlfriend for a bot…

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boten_Anna

    Bonus: swedish music video with subtitles

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p9vujyArcG4

  23. Suraj Barkale says:

    I for one welcome our windows savvy old new robot overlords :)

    Sorry

  24. Oshry says:

    avast anti virus claims the link (http://blogs.msdn.com/oldnewthing/archive/2005/08/19/453614.aspx) contains a tojan…

  25. Igor Levicki says:

    Oshry, get another antivirus.

  26. Erik says:

    An entertaining story on the topic: http://qntm.org/?difference

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