The quote from B.F. Skinner is a beautiful non sequitur. "I don't know what this means, but I know that Skinner's bad. Skinner's still bad, right? Or is he cool again? Damnit, I can't keep up with these trendy psychologists!"
The fact is, mate, that people do use our software. They use our software to do a billion different things. Even slightly-less-general terms like "reader" fall down (the blind have the web read to them), and terms like "consumer" and "student" only reflect a small segment of the users.
Everybody I know who designs web sites knows the types of users they have in mind. They use words like "student" and "investor" to identify those segments. God forbid we should have a general collective term, eh Mr McGovern?
I guess what really bugs me is this pseudo-linguistic righteousness about language. It reeks of paranoia (mind control through the VERY WORDS WE SPEAK!). It smacks of postmodernism (the idea that nothing is as it seems and subtext is everywhere). And, of course, it's self-serving (I'm on the Common Man's side, unlike those nasty technologimical elitists! Only I know the secret to success!).
Another snake oil salesman. *spit*
Teaching William about answering questions, I just realized that the old line about "it's okay to say you don't know" is truer than I had thought. I am very distrustful of people who claim to be authoritative on anything to do with software or life, two subjects that there are thousands of books about but still no guaranteed road to success. I've a lot more time for people who can admit they don't have the answers.