Update: Kurt said it much better in the comments. You should read it instead of my ramblings :-). I also remembered the French version of this saying:
Unfortunately meta-justifications and white lies seem to be a deeply embedded part of humans (so much so that we invent names like “politeness” for them and condition our kids to do it). My biggest pet peeve is however when you write a long explanation to justify yourself, even though the true motive is very visible. Two (and a half) recent examples:
The first one: Read-Write Web goes from not paginating to paginating (some) posts. This is clearly to (a) generate more pageviews (advertisers love those numbers) and (b) sell more ads (this is the same thing with partial feeds BTW). Instead they claim some dubious benefit for the user.
The second one: there is a blog which I follow with some interest about writing poker bots. Now, I’m not a poker player, but it is somewhat interesting to see the technical level of such solutions (and methods trying to guard against them). Just as a sidenote: this “armsrace” can get very escalated – like the whole WoW “Warden” thing – but in the end it tries to use a technical solution to a people problem, so it can’t be 100% effective – then again maybe it can be effective enough to keep the problem under control. Back to the topic: he mentions that some online poker provider tries to ban his bot and acts as it is his god given right to write and use bots. My opinion: he subscribes to the “I’m smarter than you, so I should be allowed to do anything” way of thinking. What he should realize is that not everyone does.
The 0.5 story is because I saw this link some time ago in my feed reader and can’t seem to find it now: someone was talking about how some people think that just because they found an unsecure system, they have the right to break into it. This is again the same attitude that I mentioned before.
Where do I stand? I think that because I’m more well informed than you :-P, I should be able to talk about the problems, but I shouldn’t (and won’t) actively exploit them for monetary gain.