Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Apple Discussions

Lawrence Lessig:

What’s striking about the comments on the Apple community site is the frustration — frustration because of Apple’s apparent policy not to respond to comments. Unlike really helpful companies which try to reward people who spend time making community boards the best source for technical support by engaging with posts, and at least acknowledging the problems, Apple’s policy seems to be a “never comment” policy. Which leads its users — and again, people who are volunteering their time to help lower Apple’s customer support cost — to express increasing exasperation at the unanswered problems.

The Apple support forums are an excellent resource. On the one hand, it seems unimaginable that Apple would encourage its support representatives to participate there on the record. It likes to carefully manage its public image. On the other hand, what a difference it could make if done well. If I’m considering buying an app and see that the user forum is full of unanswered questions, that’s a red flag. In the Apple forums, there are threads with hundreds or even thousands of replies, none from Apple. True or not, this leaves the impression that Apple doesn’t know about the problem and doesn’t care.

Lessig also mentions that Apple moderates the forums and deletes certain types of comments that are potentially useful to customers. This is a separate issue that I don’t think is clear-cut.

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