Two quick notes on “glitches”

1. “It’s just a glitch” is a convenient way to avoid responsibility for a stupid decision.

As a systems analyst/programmer for five decades, I know how easy it is to blame the computer (which means blaming the programmers) for bad decisions that had nothing to do with the computer or software failure. (And when one arm of a corporation sends out email explicitly defending a policy that the corporation later calls “a glitch,” well, some glitches are harder to swallow than others.)

2. Sometimes it really is a glitch.

Systems analysts and programmers are human too. While, as far as I can remember, my former place of work never engaged in glitch-washing (that is, blaming computers/programmers for decision failures), I do remember cases–usually very minor–where those of us on the system development side didn’t prepare for every possibility. Glitches do happen…but see the parenthetical sentence in above.

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