Microsoft Users: ‘Nothing Could Be Worse Than Clippy.’ Microsoft: ‘Challenge Accepted.’

 

Microsoft has integrated a feature into its (pretty much) mandatory software that highlights “problematic” language and suggests woke politically correct alternatives.

In its latest version of Office 365, a purple line appears under written copy that the software deems might “imply bias”, with alternatives offered.

Among the things the feature looks for are age bias, cultural bias, gender specific language, sexual orientation bias and socioeconomic status.

Even though the source describes this as a “new feature,” a quick DuckDuckGo search finds that our Corporate Masters at Microsoft have been pushing out this feature since at least 2019.

Remember way back in the 1990s. when people thought bundling Internet Explorer with Windows was Big Tech Going Too Far?

And I guess the Bush-Republican response is, “Hey, corporations should be allowed to do whatever they want. If you don’t like it, start your own multinational office technology monopoly.”

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  1. Front Seat Cat Member
    Front Seat Cat
    @FrontSeatCat

    Somebody started this malarkey – changing and manipulating language is very communistic or worse.  Control is one word that hasn’t changed.

    • #1
  2. Phil Turmel Coolidge
    Phil Turmel
    @PhilTurmel

    Good thing I only use LibreOffice.

    • #2
  3. Tex929rr Coolidge
    Tex929rr
    @Tex929rr

    Holy Moly.  Extra props for the clippy reference.  Ooh, Apple autocorrect does not like clippy!  

    I’ll give up my office 2010 when they pry it from my cold, dead hands.

    • #3
  4. BillJackson Coolidge
    BillJackson
    @BillJackson

    Best headline of a post on Ricochet? Best headline of a post on Ricochet. 

    • #4
  5. Chris O Coolidge
    Chris O
    @ChrisO

    Windows integration…was that really the 90’s? I suppose so, Windows 98.

    I’ll be contrarian here. I welcome all their stupid stuff like this, all their pushing, because it awakes more and more people to sanity every day. 

    The Great Overthrow (social and ballot box, not governmental or “insurrectionist”) will happen and soon because of these clueless buffoons. The fool gotta fool, stand back and let ‘im. 

    • #5
  6. Bryan G. Stephens Thatcher
    Bryan G. Stephens
    @BryanGStephens

    Ugh

    • #6
  7. Dbroussa Coolidge
    Dbroussa
    @Dbroussa

    I guess I am the voice of dissent here. 

    You can turn the feature off if you want. Word and Office provide templates for the style of writing that you are using from causal, to business, to formal and, overall, the suggestions are very good.  Perhaps the most annoying is it telling me that I am being too passive and need to use active voice.

    It only suggests to you…I ignore the suggestions all the time.

    It’s less intrusive than you might think.  I noticed it a few years ago when it dropped and I found that its suggestions weren’t bad from a language standpoint.  For example, should one use police officer as opposed to policeman.  Or Firefighter as opposed to Fireman.  That has been the extent of the suggestions that I have seen.  Then again, most of my work in Office is writing technical documents so we don’t use gendered language too much.  I tend to write very impersonally in my work.

    Your mileage may vary.

    • #7
  8. DaveSchmidt Coolidge
    DaveSchmidt
    @DaveSchmidt

    Dbroussa (View Comment):

    I guess I am the voice of dissent here.

    You can turn the feature off if you want. Word and Office provide templates for the style of writing that you are using from causal, to business, to formal and, overall, the suggestions are very good. Perhaps the most annoying is it telling me that I am being too passive and need to use active voice.

    It only suggests to you…I ignore the suggestions all the time.

    It’s less intrusive than you might think. I noticed it a few years ago when it dropped and I found that its suggestions weren’t bad from a language standpoint. For example, should one use police officer as opposed to policeman. Or Firefighter as opposed to Fireman. That has been the extent of the suggestions that I have seen. Then again, most of my work in Office is writing technical documents so we don’t use gendered language too much. I tend to write very impersonally in my work.

    Your mileage may vary.

    Wait until they get to pronouns.  

    • #8
  9. Dbroussa Coolidge
    Dbroussa
    @Dbroussa

    DaveSchmidt (View Comment):

    Dbroussa (View Comment):

    I guess I am the voice of dissent here.

    You can turn the feature off if you want. Word and Office provide templates for the style of writing that you are using from causal, to business, to formal and, overall, the suggestions are very good. Perhaps the most annoying is it telling me that I am being too passive and need to use active voice.

    It only suggests to you…I ignore the suggestions all the time.

    It’s less intrusive than you might think. I noticed it a few years ago when it dropped and I found that its suggestions weren’t bad from a language standpoint. For example, should one use police officer as opposed to policeman. Or Firefighter as opposed to Fireman. That has been the extent of the suggestions that I have seen. Then again, most of my work in Office is writing technical documents so we don’t use gendered language too much. I tend to write very impersonally in my work.

    Your mileage may vary.

    Wait until they get to pronouns.

    A valid point, but…as deep as the AI is in Office that is going to be a challenge, unless they force everyone to be Zir or Xe or something, and I don’t really think that is going to happen anytime soon.  Heck we still have Miss and Mrs when Ms is easier and doesn’t require knowing a person’s marital status.

    • #9
  10. The Scarecrow Thatcher
    The Scarecrow
    @TheScarecrow

    Dbroussa (View Comment):
    For example, should one use police officer as opposed to policeman.  Or Firefighter as opposed to Fireman.

    Yeah, whatever. Except “Fireman” does not mean a man who fights fire. It means a person who fights fire. The word “man” is one of those rare, 300,000 to 400,000 English words that has more than one meaning.

    ”Man” started out to mean “person”, or people collectively. For reasons of time and normal language drift, the word for male – wer – was slowly replaced by “man”, so now the word had two meanings.  “Woman” was always woman (or Wifman, etc.)

    So one now has to simply use context to know whether the man means person (usually) or specifically a man.

    This is not unusual in English, we do it all the time.  The people who get their undies in a bunch about it and insist on wedging in a “-person” are just advertising their insecurity and weakness and lack of confidence – and lack of enough important things to do in their lives. They usually just need to be ignored, as pests.

    • #10
  11. Tex929rr Coolidge
    Tex929rr
    @Tex929rr

    Firefighter is the term generally used in the industry.  One explanation is that a fireman is an engine tender on a locomotive or ship as distinct from someone who fights fire. 

    • #11
  12. Barfly Member
    Barfly
    @Barfly

    Don’t use anything MS. Everything MS can be substituted. My parent company mandates Teams; I’d like to find a substitute that interops.

    Little Billy Gates is a sociopathic wanna-be geek. He didn’t just get that way last year. It’s a bad idea to use a sociopath’s products.

    P.S. Zuckerberg’s one too.

    • #12
  13. Henry Racette Contributor
    Henry Racette
    @HenryRacette

    I’ve used OpenOffice for years and been generally happy with it. Unfortunately, their spreadsheet became unstable in the past year or so, so I finally switched to LibreOffice for spreadsheets, though inertia still has me on OpenOffice for documents. I have the Microsoft products, but use them only when providing tech support to family and friends, proofreading college papers, stuff like that. I strongly dislike the graphical menus of modern Microsoft products, and will jump through a lot of hoops to remain mostly text-based.

    If a Microsoft product ever makes what I take to be a “woke” suggestion, I’ll probably uninstall it. Woke is stupid. Mock the woke.

    • #13
  14. Miffed White Male Member
    Miffed White Male
    @MiffedWhiteMale

    The Scarecrow (View Comment):

    Yeah, whatever. Except “Fireman” does not mean a man who fights fire. It means a person who fights fire. The word “man” is one of those rare, 300,000 to 400,000 English words that has more than one meaning.

    ”Man” started out to mean “person”, or people collectively. For reasons of time and normal language drift, the word for male – wer – was slowly replaced by “man”, so now the word had two meanings.  “Woman” was always woman (or Wifman, etc.)

    “Person“!

    There was a local radical feminist nutjob [but I repeat myself] political wannabee in Madison WI a couple decades ago who’s last name was “Nelson” and she had it legally changed to “Neldaughter”.

     

    • #14
  15. DaveSchmidt Coolidge
    DaveSchmidt
    @DaveSchmidt

    Dbroussa (View Comment):

    DaveSchmidt (View Comment):

    Dbroussa (View Comment):

    I guess I am the voice of dissent here.

    You can turn the feature off if you want. Word and Office provide templates for the style of writing that you are using from causal, to business, to formal and, overall, the suggestions are very good. Perhaps the most annoying is it telling me that I am being too passive and need to use active voice.

    It only suggests to you…I ignore the suggestions all the time.

    It’s less intrusive than you might think. I noticed it a few years ago when it dropped and I found that its suggestions weren’t bad from a language standpoint. For example, should one use police officer as opposed to policeman. Or Firefighter as opposed to Fireman. That has been the extent of the suggestions that I have seen. Then again, most of my work in Office is writing technical documents so we don’t use gendered language too much. I tend to write very impersonally in my work.

    Your mileage may vary.

    Wait until they get to pronouns.

    A valid point, but…as deep as the AI is in Office that is going to be a challenge, unless they force everyone to be Zir or Xe or something, and I don’t really think that is going to happen anytime soon. Heck we still have Miss and Mrs when Ms is easier and doesn’t require knowing a person’s marital status.

    All it would take is to require you to submit your preferred pronouns and anyone communicating with you will get a little color squiggle letting them know that they need to change the text if they don’t use the one you prefer.  Failure to change may be reported to HR.  

    • #15
  16. Doctor Robert Member
    Doctor Robert
    @DoctorRobert

    Miffed White Male (View Comment):

    The Scarecrow (View Comment):

    Yeah, whatever. Except “Fireman” does not mean a man who fights fire. It means a person who fights fire. The word “man” is one of those rare, 300,000 to 400,000 English words that has more than one meaning.

    ”Man” started out to mean “person”, or people collectively. For reasons of time and normal language drift, the word for male – wer – was slowly replaced by “man”, so now the word had two meanings. “Woman” was always woman (or Wifman, etc.)

    “Person“!

    There was a local radical feminist nutjob [but I repeat myself] political wannabee in Madison WI a couple decades ago who’s last name was “Nelson” and she had it legally changed to “Neldaughter”.

     

    Not so much a nut job as a Viking.  Vikings named their sons with a patronymic and daughters with a matronymic.   Thus in my case, Robert Stuartson married Karen Elainesdotter. That practice  remains the custom in Iceland.

    • #16
  17. Phil Turmel Coolidge
    Phil Turmel
    @PhilTurmel

    Henry Racette (View Comment):

    I’ve used OpenOffice for years and been generally happy with it. Unfortunately, their spreadsheet became unstable in the past year or so, so I finally switched to LibreOffice for spreadsheets, though inertia still has me on OpenOffice for documents. I have the Microsoft products, but use them only when providing tech support to family and friends, proofreading college papers, stuff like that. I strongly dislike the graphical menus of modern Microsoft products, and will jump through a lot of hoops to remain mostly text-based.

    If a Microsoft product ever makes what I take to be a “woke” suggestion, I’ll probably uninstall it. Woke is stupid. Mock the woke.

    When LibreOffice forked from OpenOffice, 90% of the active developers went with the fork.  And developer action in OpenOffice has dribbled to a stop in the years since.  It is effectively abandonware, and can’t be trusted security-wise.

    • #17
  18. Henry Racette Contributor
    Henry Racette
    @HenryRacette

    Phil Turmel (View Comment):

    Henry Racette (View Comment):

    I’ve used OpenOffice for years and been generally happy with it. Unfortunately, their spreadsheet became unstable in the past year or so, so I finally switched to LibreOffice for spreadsheets, though inertia still has me on OpenOffice for documents. I have the Microsoft products, but use them only when providing tech support to family and friends, proofreading college papers, stuff like that. I strongly dislike the graphical menus of modern Microsoft products, and will jump through a lot of hoops to remain mostly text-based.

    If a Microsoft product ever makes what I take to be a “woke” suggestion, I’ll probably uninstall it. Woke is stupid. Mock the woke.

    When LibreOffice forked from OpenOffice, 90% of the active developers went with the fork. And developer action in OpenOffice has dribbled to a stop in the years since. It is effectively abandonware, and can’t be trusted security-wise.

    What CAN be trusted, security-wise? ;)

    Okay. I’ll update. 

    • #18
  19. Gary Robbins Reagan
    Gary Robbins
    @GaryRobbins

    Well, you are working very hard at expanding our coalition?  (Sarcasm alert)

    You said

    And I guess the Bush-Republican response is, “Hey, corporations should be allowed to do whatever they want. If you don’t like it, start your own multinational office technology monopoly.”

    Do you want us to work together with you or do you want to insult us?   

    • #19
  20. The Scarecrow Thatcher
    The Scarecrow
    @TheScarecrow

    Tex929rr (View Comment):

    Firefighter is the term generally used in the industry. One explanation is that a fireman is an engine tender on a locomotive or ship as distinct from someone who fights fire.

    Beautiful! Yer making my point. Even “Fireman” has several meanings! Isn’t English wonderful?

    I even stipulate that “fireman” could even refer to other species. If there were a dog who would get upset if it noticed that someone forgot to douse the campfire successfully, and would always start howling if it smelled the smoke, a camper could certainly brag that “our Fido is the honorary camp fireman” and be perfectly understood without risking confusion because he didn’t try to stay sexually correct and say “firebitch”.

    • #20
  21. Franco Member
    Franco
    @Franco

    Gary Robbins (View Comment):

    Well, you are working very hard at expanding our coalition? (Sarcasm alert)

    You said

    And I guess the Bush-Republican response is, “Hey, corporations should be allowed to do whatever they want. If you don’t like it, start your own multinational office technology monopoly.”

    Do you want us to work together with you or do you want to insult us?

    I’d prefer insulting you than working with you, seeing as you have steadfastly refused to work with “us” -us meaning, people who didn’t vote for Joe Biden.

    If you can’t handle the heat, stay out of the kitchen

    • #21
  22. Franco Member
    Franco
    @Franco

    They should name the app “Snippy”. 

    • #22
  23. Victor Tango Kilo Member
    Victor Tango Kilo
    @VtheK

    Gary Robbins (View Comment):
    Do you want us to work together with you or do you want to insult us?   

    Why do you consider the term ‘Bush-Republican’ an insult? I thought the Bushes were considered the absolute models of decency and presidential decorum.

    • #23
  24. Gary Robbins Reagan
    Gary Robbins
    @GaryRobbins

    Franco (View Comment):

    Gary Robbins (View Comment):

    Well, you are working very hard at expanding our coalition? (Sarcasm alert)

    You said

    And I guess the Bush-Republican response is, “Hey, corporations should be allowed to do whatever they want. If you don’t like it, start your own multinational office technology monopoly.”

    Do you want us to work together with you or do you want to insult us?

    I’d prefer insulting you than working with you, seeing as you have steadfastly refused to work with “us” -us meaning, people who didn’t vote for Joe Biden.

    If you can’t handle the heat, stay out of the kitchen

    Be careful for what you wish for.

    Right now the Progressives are doing their very best to alienate me, but Trump isn’t far behind.  As of this instant, I could see myself voting Republican in 2022 to put a check on Biden.  But in 2024, if Trump is nominated, voting for the Democrat for only the third time since 1972 to put a check on Trump.  I really want to be able to vote for any Republican except for Trump for President.

    The choice is yours, I guess.

    • #24
  25. Victor Tango Kilo Member
    Victor Tango Kilo
    @VtheK

    Dbroussa (View Comment):
    It’s less intrusive than you might think. 

    “I like the temperature one degree warmer,” said the frog.

    • #25
  26. Victor Tango Kilo Member
    Victor Tango Kilo
    @VtheK

    If I don’t like the Democrat or Republican choices in 2024, I won’t vote for either of them because a vote is an endorsement of a governing philosophy.

    • #26
  27. Cal Lawton Member
    Cal Lawton
    @CalLawton

    I avoid this completely by not using Microsoft products.

    • #27
  28. Harry D Poulter Coolidge
    Harry D Poulter
    @Harry D Poulter

    Dbroussa (View Comment):

    I guess I am the voice of dissent here.

    You can turn the feature off if you want. Word and Office provide templates for the style of writing that you are using from causal, to business, to formal and, overall, the suggestions are very good. Perhaps the most annoying is it telling me that I am being too passive and need to use active voice.

    It only suggests to you…I ignore the suggestions all the time.

    It’s less intrusive than you might think. I noticed it a few years ago when it dropped and I found that its suggestions weren’t bad from a language standpoint. For example, should one use police officer as opposed to policeman. Or Firefighter as opposed to Fireman. That has been the extent of the suggestions that I have seen. Then again, most of my work in Office is writing technical documents so we don’t use gendered language too much. I tend to write very impersonally in my work.

    Your mileage may vary.

    I have to agree to an extent.  I just checked my Options in Word (Office 365 latest update) and all those wokeness checks are there, but they were all unchecked.  It has to be by default since I didn’t know they were even options. 

    • #28
  29. RushBabe49 Thatcher
    RushBabe49
    @RushBabe49

    The company where I work as a contractor uses Office365, and their ERP system Dynamics365.  So I thought I’d do a little test this afternoon, just for fun.  I opened Word and wrote some sentences with unapproved words, and, lo and behold, the not-gender-neutral phrases were underlined!  I laughed out loud-as if I’d let the stupid software dictate my language usage!  It was just a fun test, and I deleted the document, but now I know what it does.

    At home, I use an old 2010 Mac version, which I studiously avoid updating.  I’ll keep using it as long as it continues to work for me.  I despise Microsoft.

    • #29
  30. Steve Fast Coolidge
    Steve Fast
    @SteveFast

    The Scarecrow (View Comment):

    Tex929rr (View Comment):

    Firefighter is the term generally used in the industry. One explanation is that a fireman is an engine tender on a locomotive or ship as distinct from someone who fights fire.

    Beautiful! Yer making my point. Even “Fireman” has several meanings! Isn’t English wonderful?

    I even stipulate that “fireman” could even refer to other species. If there were a dog who would get upset if it noticed that someone forgot to douse the campfire successfully, and would always start howling if it smelled the smoke, a camper could certainly brag that “our Fido is the honorary camp fireman” and be perfectly understood without risking confusion because he didn’t try to stay sexually correct and say “firebitch”.

    Could a woke, SJW female fireman be considered a “firebitch”?

    • #30