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Author: GlowingFire Three stars, 500 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: of 1717  
Subject: Re: When's the next Apocalypse anyway? Date: 4/25/2000 3:10 PM
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Parasang,

I certainly didn't mean to imply that you were "wrong in a major way" about Y2K. Problems were not as great as you feared, but yours were (if I recall correctly) largely fears that you thought were significant enough to be considered. To that extent, I believe you were absolutely correct.

One positive that came out of the 'hysteria' was that it focused attention on (a) how dependent we are on automated systems of all sorts, and (b) that, left unchecked, there is the potential for problems that would have extraordinary consequences. Only the most extreme, head-in-the-sand Y2K pooh-poohers refused to acknowledge that Y2K was a serious problem. Most of us were quite aware that, if we hadn't been working on this for years, we could all be in big trouble.

The people I had problems with were not the worriers, but the blinkered extremists, who were convinced there would definitely be big problems, who presented their convictions in a manner that did nothing to solve the problem and everything to degrade public sentiment further, and who reacted in a paranoid delusional way towards anyone who didn't believe the End was Near. That they themselves may have known how extreme they were was evidenced by their shifting arguments. If the problems in one area (such as financial systems) were effectively dispelled, these people would immediately shift to another software area (such as embedded chips) and continue the hysterical rhetoric.

Sadly, a fair number of those people were, in fact, systems professionals. To a certain extent, they tried to wield their 'knowledge' in a manner that was supposed to convey authority. It really doesn't matter whether they arrogantly believed that they know everything about computers and what was being done to correct Y2K problems, incorrectly assumed that their little niche in the world was indicative of how everything is going in addressing the Y2K problem, or were simply trying to heighten concerns to boost their own Y2K remediation businesses. They turned out to be a far larger part of the problem than the Y2K bug itself.

I think you were correct to be concerned and to want to have some answers; however, when the discussion on any Y2K board reached the level of a Holy War, anyone thinking rationally about the problem was driven from the field. All that remained, to a large extent, were those people on both ends of the bell curve, for whom real discussion was impossible.

==> david
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