How Do I Describe Being Weird?



  • In the software engineering world there is a concept called "smelling bad." It is used to describe when a trained developer can look at code and knows that it is just bad but cannot state exactly why. In IT I see this same effect and keep refer to it as "being weird." I would like to provide some kind of definition for this but am struggling to know how to state this so that I have a way to tell people that what they are doing is weird and they should stop immediately, but don't want to just say that they are "being weird" and hope that they get it.

    Ideas? I will start to provide examples in case it helps.



  • I have a feeling this this description will change per scenario and would have to pull from an individuals statement about what they are planning / doing / attempting to do.



  • It's instinct, gut reaction, bad mojo - justifying it can (and should) be difficult. I'd listen to it anyway.



  • "Hey, you have a sec to chat with me? I'm wondering what you're up to and I'd like to learn more about it."

    That should suffice without making any party look / sound odd and it's guaranteed to get the person's attention.



  • @MattSpeller said:

    "Hey, you have a sec to chat with me? I'm wondering what you're up to and I'd like to learn more about it."

    That should suffice without making any party look / sound odd and it's guaranteed to get the person's attention.

    I generally do this if I get the "being weird" feeling from someone or something.



  • I'd just classify that under "gut feeling". The funny thing is that in the times I've hired people, I always knew right away if they were a good fit or not - there's been times where I've disregarded that gut feeling and I've always regretted it.



  • Here is an example from today. Guy has very tiny IT needs for his shop. Reasonable, normal considerations included just using a NAS (Synology or ReadyNAS) and running a few extra apps on the NAS - basically treating it as a little server. Or actually putting in a small server, virtualizing of course, and running Linux.

    But suddenly weird mash ups of things happened and he started thinking about getting a QNAP, figuring out how to put VMs on it and maybe running Windows or something, in a VM, on a consumer class NAS device for a business.



  • @scottalanmiller said:

    Here is an example from today. Guy has very tiny IT needs for his shop. Reasonable, normal considerations included just using a NAS (Synology or ReadyNAS) and running a few extra apps on the NAS - basically treating it as a little server. Or actually putting in a small server, virtualizing of course, and running Linux.

    But suddenly weird mash ups of things happened and he started thinking about getting a QNAP, figuring out how to put VMs on it and maybe running Windows or something, in a VM, on a consumer class NAS device for a business.

    Sounds like he got advice from his brother-in-law who is "good with computers"



  • @scottalanmiller Classic example of "just because you can, does not mean you should"



  • @coliver said:

    Sounds like he got advice from his brother-in-law who is "good with computers"

    No, I'm pretty sure it was taking a mix of advice and mashing it together. You could almost see the wheels turning... and then colliding in the thread.

    He was thinking of rules like "always virtualize your server" and "use an appliance instead of a server" and trying to apply "under the hood" practices to a black box system.



  • In this particular case, and this is rare, I actually said "you are going down the rabbit hole of being weird" and he immediately backed up and was like "whoa, that's exactly what I want to avoid." And he immediately went to very sensible, very practical ideas. So in this one rare case the terminology was perfect and got the point right across.



  • @scottalanmiller Seeing the wheels turning. Then seeing the wheels completely fall off...



  • See the horse pulling a cart dragging on the ground...



  • @scottalanmiller said:

    In this particular case, and this is rare, I actually said "you are going down the rabbit hole of being weird" and he immediately backed up and was like "whoa, that's exactly what I want to avoid." And he immediately went to very sensible, very practical ideas. So in this one rare case the terminology was perfect and got the point right across.

    This would be a good use case with positive results. You said "you're being weird" and he took a step back to figure out why it was weird and went back to a simple plan... Not a bad thing, lol.



  • Yes, this one worked great. He was also not an IT guy and very aware that his IT skills were limited. It's the people wondering why you can't RAID 5 in software a bunch of USB external drives together. It's the people who are trying to "be clever" while doing things that are nuts that are the hardest to approach.



  • @scottalanmiller said:

    It's the people wondering why you can't RAID 5 in software a bunch of USB external drives together.

    I have a new life goal - RAID'd USB flash drives. A lot of em.



  • This is interesting because I always liken being an IT Pro to being a "doctor without the great pay" (not that all doctors make a lot of money, but you get my point). Along this same line, like doctors, IT Pros are challenged with "dumbing things down" to laymen's terms with people who have little to no technical knowledge of what they are discussing with you. In fact, I think they even have curricula in some medical schools that teach you how deal with patients in terms of compassion and speaking in a way that makes sense to someone who just doesn't know what you know.

    I suppose my point is that it's always tough to figure out a way to tell someone that they are doing something wrong, or thinking along the wrong lines. I find that it's always best to first put yourself into that person's shoes and imagine how you would like to be addressed by someone that you know is more knowledgeable than you. I believe that empathy is key here. Once you can properly empathize with someone (and this, admittedly, takes some practice lol), the right way to say something kind of comes natural.

    With this example, I would take a tact that is along the lines of telling the person that what they are thinking might work in certain situations, but for this, we likely need to go a different route and say something like, "Here are some ideas I have that might fit exactly what you need - let's discuss this and come up with the best way to go about this." This implies that you aren't totally brushing the person off or outright telling them they suck and shouldn't touch anything that plugs into a wall unless it's a fork (ok, just kidding with that one lol)



  • @AVI-NetworkGuy said:

    This is interesting because I always liken being an IT Pro to being a "doctor without the great pay" (not that all doctors make a lot of money, but you get my point). Along this same line, like doctors, IT Pros are challenged with "dumbing things down" to laymen's terms with people who have little to no technical knowledge of what they are discussing with you. In fact, I think they even have curricula in some medical schools that teach you how deal with patients in terms of compassion and speaking in a way that makes sense to someone who just doesn't know what you know.

    The problem here, though, is that it is other doctors that are the problem 🙂



  • @scottalanmiller said:

    The problem here, though, is that it is other doctors that are the problem 🙂

    Please refer to fork in electrical socket idea. 😉



  • New one and pointed the OP that was "being weird" over to this thread in the hopes that it will help.

    http://community.spiceworks.com/topic/1260349-citrix-xenserver-fileshare-from-sr-or-iscsi-to-san

    Issue is attempting to fine tune how storage attaches for "maximum performance" while doing so via an iSCSI SAN without further details. Making things hard and complex for super "tuned" performance while losing benefits of virtualization (no snapping the storage, no quiescence protection, no single view, etc.) while doing things that are not tuned for performance at the high level (iSCSI, SAN, etc.)



  • Is this guy being "weird" or an I missing something? He's scared of an enterprise NAS or of his VM infrastructure but is okay with external hard drives or USB sticks?

    http://community.spiceworks.com/topic/1277767-virtualize-dc-with-server-based-profiles



  • Today is a big day for slightly weird stuff:

    http://community.spiceworks.com/topic/1276968-backing-up-6-pc-s-to-a-nas-using-acronis
    (This guy likes to manually delete parts of his backup chain so that nothing works.)

    http://community.spiceworks.com/topic/1282909-splitting-files-for-nas-storage
    (Having to split up files before sending or retrieving them from network drives.)



  • The file splitting one was really good. Good thing he figured out that he was being a bit nutty on that one.



  • Another one. This one was more about not understanding terms and instead of asking for basic clarification on terms went down a rabbit hole of misunderstanding. He knew that he had no idea what the basic terms were but based "I only want this and won't consider that" decisions based on wild guesses.

    http://community.spiceworks.com/topic/1282850-xen-hypervisor-setup

    And going after 3.5 year old third party Ubuntu docs instead of just downloading XenServer and seeing what it was and requiring an interface that no one uses anymore is just weird.



  • @scottalanmiller Yeah he started to stare down the rabbit hole alright.



  • When one stares into the rabbit hole, the rabbit stares back at you.



  • @AVI-NetworkGuy said:

    This is interesting because I always liken being an IT Pro to being a "doctor without the great pay" (not that all doctors make a lot of money, but you get my point). Along this same line, like doctors, IT Pros are challenged with "dumbing things down" to laymen's terms with people who have little to no technical knowledge of what they are discussing with you. In fact, I think they even have curricula in some medical schools that teach you how deal with patients in terms of compassion and speaking in a way that makes sense to someone who just doesn't know what you know.

    I suppose my point is that it's always tough to figure out a way to tell someone that they are doing something wrong, or thinking along the wrong lines. I find that it's always best to first put yourself into that person's shoes and imagine how you would like to be addressed by someone that you know is more knowledgeable than you. I believe that empathy is key here. Once you can properly empathize with someone (and this, admittedly, takes some practice lol), the right way to say something kind of comes natural.

    With this example, I would take a tact that is along the lines of telling the person that what they are thinking might work in certain situations, but for this, we likely need to go a different route and say something like, "Here are some ideas I have that might fit exactly what you need - let's discuss this and come up with the best way to go about this." This implies that you aren't totally brushing the person off or outright telling them they suck and shouldn't touch anything that plugs into a wall unless it's a fork (ok, just kidding with that one lol)

    I like the analogy, but for differing points than stated. IT people, much like doctors, tend to think they are a lot smarter than they are, and quite often don't really understand the root nature of what they "practice" on from day-to-day. But, there is a myth that you have to be really smart to be in IT, so the myth perpetuates the arrogance in the field.

    I'm not naming any names, just saying that it is a real thing that I have seen.



  • Here is a good example: http://community.spiceworks.com/topic/1293619-reliable-server

    Beyond skipping virtualization, splitting arrays, RAID 5 + HA instead of RAID 10 with four drives and other basic issues... the big one is: thinking of skipping RAID for local "backups" on the same device!!



  • No RAID at all for the OS? Damn.



  • Another one today. I wonder why... http://community.spiceworks.com/topic/1293618-sharing-mysql-socket-across-jails-in-zfs-filesystem-freebsd-9-3

    Wants Jails but then tries to violate Jails. And fell into the "Cult of ZFS" trap.


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