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Where has the practice of sending screen shots as source code come from?

On 2018-01-28 15:04:26 +0000, Steven D'Aprano wrote:
> I'm seeing this annoying practice more and more often. Even for trivial 
> pieces of text, a few lines, people post screenshots instead of copying 
> the code.
> Where has this meme come from?

Twitter? You can't send more than 140 characters[1], but you can send an
image, so just put your text in an image to get around pesky size

But no, our users have done that for much longer than twitter exists.
The typical mail to support doesn't contain an error message in plain
text, not even a screenshot, it contains a word (or excel) file with a
screenshot of the error message (typically scaled down so that the error
message isn't readable any more).

It reminds me about the old joke about the mathematician making coffee:
He finds an empty cup in the sink, rinses it, puts some ground coffee
and water into the coffee maker, waits for the water to run through and
pours the coffee into the cup.
The next day he wants some coffee again. But there is no cup in the
sink. Instead there is a cup in the cupboard. So he takes the cup from
the cupboard and puts it into the sink. Now he has reduced the problem
to a previously solved problem and proceeds as before.

Similarly the user sending a wort attachment instead of a plain text
message knows how to take a screenshot, knows how to paste that into
word and knows how to attach a word file to an email. So they combine
those steps. They may or may not know how to copy some text into the
email (to be fair, Windows error messages often cannot be copied), but
it simply doesn't occur to them.

I used to think that programmers (or techies in general) ought to be
able to write emails in a fashion that makes it easy to extract the
necessary information. I have since been disabused of the notion.
Programmers are just as thoughtless and unable to put themselves into
the recipient's shoes as the general population.

Oh, and finally there is tools: I switched to Outlook for in-company
mails a year ago (because my boss wants me to top-post and I simply
can't do that if I have a decent editor, but with a crappy program like
Outlook I can) and it is just amazing how time consuming it is to format
a mail containing code examples to be readable. Taking a screenshot and
pasting it into the mail is faster (even though Outlooks inline image
handling is also atrocious).

> (The day a programmer posts a WAV file of themselves reading their code 
> out aloud, is the day I turn my modem off and leave the internet forever.)

When the first MIME RFCs came out, a co-worker predicted that we would
soon get audio-clips as signatures. Thank god he was wrong about that.


[1] 280 now.

   _  | Peter J. Holzer    | we build much bigger, better disasters now
|_|_) |                    | because we have much more sophisticated
| |   | hjp at hjp.at         | management tools.
__/   | http://www.hjp.at/ | -- Ross Anderson <https://www.edge.org/>
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