Why are User-Agents so confusing?

I colleague pointed me in the direction of a very funny and very true post from the WebAIM.org blog:

History of the browser user-agent string

The last part really points out the mess that the current browsers are in:

and Chrome called itself Mozilla/5.0 (Windows; U; Windows NT 5.1; en-US) AppleWebKit/525.13 (KHTML, like Gecko) Chrome/0.2.149.27 Safari/525.13, and the user agent string was a complete mess, and near useless, and everyone pretended to be everyone else, and confusion abounded
How is any website meant to know what rules to use now?

UPDATE: Here is a great resource for testing out different user-agents:

User Agent String.Com

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