Half finished posts from the unpublished archives:
I’m pulling this post out and making it live largely unedited. This is because it’s been sat there a fair while and I thought the idea deserved to be put up, even if the post isn’t ready for prime time…
Anybody who’s worked in software know that one thing is virtually impossible to get: Positive feedback. You’ll get negative feedback up the wazoo, but meaningful positive feedback is a right bugger to get hold of.
So how about we start asking for it more? We’re always very good about inviting people to tell us what we’re getting wrong, but we’re also terrible about asking what we get right.
Why don’t we have a bug reporting tool that’s specifically designed on a “one up, one down” basis? The idea here isn’t that you can’t submit bugs without giving praise too, but that giving meaningful, useful positive feedback gives the bugs you raise a higher priority. Yes, folks, I’m talking about bribery.
Raise a lot of bugs without giving any commentary about what we’re doing right? Well, you’ll still get help, but we’d prefer it if you engaged with us on a less superficial level. Tell us what you like. We probably already know about the stuff you hate – we probably hate it too, but can’t get it on the table to fix it. What we’re less clear on is if you’ve used the bits we don’t hear about.
As things stand, If you’re not complaining, it could go either way. Either things are not bad enough to make you complain, or they’re so bad that you’ve stopped using those features and so have nothing to tell us about them. We can’t know for sure. “We’re pretty sure it’s not bad enough to make people complain” isn’t a great marker for design to aspire to. There’s a big difference between “we got that right” and “we either did okay or did so badly nobody’s using it”, and being able to tell that difference would be nice.