Providing Feedback with Courtesy

I don’t mind people giving us feedback on our products. I don’t mind people making suggestions on how the software could be improved. I don’t mind people pointing out glaring omissions, substantial flaws, bugs & crashes. I know our software has bugs, can & should be improved substantially. As Dave Winer puts it: “We make shitty software and we know it”.

In fact, we rely on the feedback to provide a better product.

What I mind is the way in which feedback is provided – and 37signals post showed some of the ways. What I mind is the general attitude of somebody not involved with the development of some piece of software presuming to know that some things are trivial & absurd.

I don’t talk about diplomacy – I talk about courtesy. That’s something we should have learned from mom and dad back when we were kids. Courtesy doesn’t come in the way of pointing flaws & bugs precisely. In fact, courtesy requires us to point out flaws & bugs precisely. Courtesy also doesn’t hinder us from cursing at software developers, screaming, yelling, wonder about their stupidity or using a broad selection of four-letter words. As long as we’re doing it while in a room all by ourself.

Courtesy is about treating others with the respect they deserve. Because we want to be treated the same.