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« Not Worried About the Future | Main | Poster Child for Cognitive Dissonance »



The strip today made me wince - one of my dream jobs is to help firms decide how to decide about technology. I actually did the job as an intern during my MBA but no one wants to pay for it…

An interesting problem with Basic Instructions – it’s too big and bold to hide the fact you are reading it at work instead of working. At least Dilbert can be cropped into a corner and peeked at. (perhaps the two issues are related somehow)

Rick Riley

What do I think? I think we got a lot of cynics in this world.


When I was a gifted (and/or narcissistic) child I really liked Dilbert.

Now I am an irritating young adult I still do.


I'm with the folks that think that Bobby is none other than Scott Adams.

This is because the pacing and tone of the email is almost an exact match for Scott. Scott has a very composed and patient style of delivering ideas. He is also very careful to ensure his idea has been digested before he ellaborates on it.
The level of "seriousness" is almost identical to Scotts tone throughout all of his blogs. Also, Scott has recently declared that he can tell the difference between a female and male writer in a couple sentences. He thinks about these things. He also loves to use his blog audience as a "testing ground" for social experiments.
All these things add up to a hoax.

Of course, I could be wrong. Especially since most kids are "thin-walled" and will attempt to mimic someone they respect in order to be viewed as "belonging" with them.

Will we ever know for sure?
I still believe it was a hoax.


Also, there's a tremendous amount of ignorance here about giftedness. It's not just being "smart". It doesn't show up early and then flame out. It doesn't show up later after exposure to learning. It's the way a person is wired. Kids who are gifted learn in ways that are different than other kids. Giftedness is uneven--kids can be very advanced in some areas and not in others. My son has writing skills that are a grade or so above his classmates. That's considered a deficit for him, given his skills in mathematics and language. He learns facts and information effortlessly. He can do high level math, yet is sloppy with multiplication facts. He understood the basic concepts of time-warp and space-time continuum at the age of 8, yet can't find his bookbag every morning. The fact that Bobby seems very intelligent in one sentence, then asks "silly" questions or misses the boat in some other area is very typical of giftedness. Educate yourselves before passing judgment based on misinformation.


Hey, just started reading your blog and love it! I am the mother of a very gifted 12 year old boy that "gets" Dilbert and most other things. While he'd never actually write a letter like Bobby's, I definitely recognize the thinking and phrasing in that letter as a gifted kid. People who aren't around very gifted kids alot don't understand how they talk and process things. If that's a fake by a grownup, it's really good--it's spot on for so many of my son's friend and classmates!


Posted by: Mokkery | August 08, 2007 at 07:21 AM

GREAT comment!


Business !!!!!!!!!!!!

Is this some weird joke or what? You happen to write a cartoon about life in business, obviously you need to know something about business, quite a lot in fact.

But if you were writing a cartoon about US politics, you would need to know about US politics, not business.

The fact that some cartoonists deal with their own contracts, negotiations etc is beside the point. Many don't.


I think we can safely divide the Dilbert readership into three groups.

Bobbist: Believes that Bobby exists based on a gut feeling and the words of other people.

Abobbist: Does not believe that Bobby exists.

Bobnostic: Is unsure whether Bobby exists and believes there is not enough information to make a rational decision on the subject.

Maybe the great blog brain can revisit the God issue after we figure out the Bobby issue!


I have no trouble believing that Bobby is real, either. And there's a high probability many of the people here really were gifted kids as children. Many Dilbert readers work in the IT industry - and programming is all about pattern recognition, and that is exactly what IQ tests look for. (And we're not the most socially gifted group on the planet, either). Otherwise, I'm with Nicole and John. As a child, I was considered gifted. Now, I'm pretty certain that a high IQ or the ability to sound eloquent in writing do not necessarily mean you become a celebrated scientist or anything of that sort later in life.


Wow! I think "virgil" really nailed it. From my own experience. When I was a kid, everybody thought I was gifted. The intelligence tests came up really high. My vocabulary was very complex. A couple of years later (say, at 14) I discovered irony and started to use more simple words to express more complicated concepts, while I still understood the meaning of the more unusual, complex words, that were usually applied to direct, simple concepts. I´m not sure I´m making much sense here.

Anyway, nowadays I am average. I am not solving any problem or making any discovery. I am even having trouble to find a job. So I guess I am a good example to virgil´s theory.

One more thing: I am extremely intrigued by your ability to know whether it is a man or a woman who is writing. Please, share your secret!


I was a "gifted" child, now I'm only an average adult :). I have to admit though, that at 10 I would have been hard pressed to write that. Not the way it's written, or the philosophical interest, but the research he did. Then again, the internet wasn't what it is today when I was 10, and we didn't get it for another 5 years anyway.

It gives me hope for the future too I suppose, that is if he makes it through high school. The poor kid's going to have a rougher time of it than most. Keep up the good work on the blog and he may make it yet!

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admiral krunch

take a look at some of my previous posts, I'm fifteen years old at the moment, turning 16 in september



The problem is not with the letter or with Bobby's age. The problem is with your credibility on the blogosphere. I can't even count the number of times you have taken your readers for a ride on this blog.. telling the something in (apparent) sincerity, only to explain later that you were conducting this experiment or that.

Remember that story about crying "wolf!" too often?


I believe the letter is authentic.

I'm dying to know what tells you in the first sentence or two whether a letter is from a man or a woman.


I will get to the point: congrats Mr.Adams, I think Dilbert is great. I also think Dilbert DVDs are WAY overpriced.

Finally when you say "For example, I can tell a man’s writing from a woman’s in the first sentence or two, It’s something I’ve been tracking for years." you turn into a really scary person. :)

"with about 98% accuracy"
Is this one of those bogus percentages pulled out of your arse, like politicians often do? are you sure it's not 95.3 or 89.92 % ?


Al Newberry

"Proper spelling is overrated"

That's a weasel excuse for any bad speller.



Yes please... Really intersting material. An update or two on this story would be much appreciated.

Ewan MacKenzie

>I teach my kids to ask questions constantly, and if
>they're not asking, I trick them into education anyway.

>Posted by: Oddity

I knew a kid once whose father encouraged him to ask lots of questions, and he did. Problem was, he never bothered to listen to any answers.


Few things are more tiresome than personal testimonials of giftedness, particularly in nerdy enclaves like this one. "That sounds like dog...AT FOUR!!" No, it doesn't, asperger-breath.

Gut feel says the kid's legit.

Harvey Sugar

I was an adult leader in Boy Scouts and Cub Scouts for over ten years. I worked with a large number of boys, ages from eight to eighteen, who were gifted in many different ways. Some were intellectually gifted, some athletically. Some were gifted outdoors men and some were amazingly understanding and sensitive. They were all curious about different aspects of the world.

I have no doubt that a ten year old wrote this email.


I have a 9 year old niece in the "gifted and talented" program. She will be 10 later this month. She does not seem to have developed any deep philosophical viewpoints nor does her grasp of the language seem to be as advanced as Bobby's.

I realize she is younger than Bobby but I don't think she is going to suddenly develop a deep philosophical viewpoint nor such an excellent command of the language in less than a week or so.

Which contributes to my suspicion of Bobby.


I definitely read and loved Dilbert as a ten-year-old. I also certainly understand your point about the sentence structure, although the letter was relatively flawless grammatically it had the style of a gifted young boy, not an adult. In fact, the lack of obvious errors shows perfectionism, not immaturity. The only thing that made me doubt for a second that it might have been a ten-year-old was the discussion of the speed of light and the fabric of space-time. That seemed to use terms which would be foreign to even an extraordinarily intelligent ten-year-old. Of course, I suppose that if he was exposed to these on a Nature show, he would surely be able to retain them and apply them.

Lazy Boy

"Proper spelling is overrated"

People that nick and pick at spelling errors are the same that look to see if there is dirt under your fingernail when you point at the sky. There's not much hope of them understanding anything out of the mundane or mediocre.

Lazy Boy

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