That's an axiom from Alan Cooper's book "About Face - The Essentials of Interaction Design" - an excellent book for anyone who does program interfaces.
That means, don't pop up some confirmation dialog that is unnecessary or confusing or pointless. Here we are, almost 25 years into the use of GUIs in mainstream systems, and still have to deal with stupid dialogs.
Example: AVG antivirus. I press the menu option to "Update", after a moment of checking home it lists the available updates and asks me if I want to install them. There is no ability to select/unselect any, it's all or nothing. I chose to do an update, the darn program should just go ahead and DO IT!.
Example: Go to update M$ Office products. Updater first must validate that I'm using legal copies (it's checking for "my" protection!?!?) and after running the Genuine Advantage tool, tell me what a good boy I am and gives me a button I must press in order to go on. If my copy is legit, just go and DO IT! If there's a problem, that's the time to present some options.
If I bothered to keep track, I could list many more similar pointless dialogs that add no value, only frustration and time wasting. Do the designers of these things not use software themselves, experience the same annoyances? Do they not study anything about good design, like Cooper's book? It should be mandatory reading before any interface designer/coder goes to work.
Amen brother! The only problem is the software developers are not in charge of making decisions about if they should put in a pop-up or not... The advertising "experts" are in charge of that. So the poor software developer just grits his teeth and does his job. And the fact is, there are still very few geeks compared to "average users", and from time to time the average users actually still click on the TRASH that pops up in front of them! Our only hope of being pop-up free is to actually teach the average user how to avoid clicking this TRASH. As long as the software company gets a few hits on their flash screen/pop-up, then its worth writing into the program. For instance, NOT using the pop-ups OWN 'CLOSE' button! The sad truth is that your normal, everyday "email checker" has no idea that what the button says has NOTHING to do with what the button does lol. .... Anyway, thank YOU for letting ME rant lol