This Week in devot:ee #24 - June 28, 2012
June 28, 2012
by Ryan Masuga
This week, a note on 1-star ratings and “censorship” of add-on reviews.
The Rise of the 1-Star Rating
It started with a 1-star rating and review for Crumbly. A customer buys the add-on, has trouble with a parameter, and claims the developer isn't available to help. To quote the review they left on devot:ee:
I’ve contacted the developer numerous times about couple things that I’ve run into using this addon and I’ve yet to get a a response.
Fair enough at the time it was written. However, shortly after the customer posted this review it became terribly obvious that Stephen Lewis, the developer at Experience Internet, was desperately trying to get in touch with the customer, which rendered the review false and misleading. Stephen posted an open letter to this customer on his blog, tweeted to the customer (and the ExpressionEngine community at large on the #eecms hashtag) to see if anyone knew this person. Stephen also emailed this person, and even called them, only to get hold music.
I contacted Stephen and we had a discussion about the matter and we agreed that we had reasonable cause to remove this review, which was now obviously false, by almost any definition. Stephen has always had a stellar support record and cares about his products and the people that use them.
After removing the rating, the customer finally connects with Stephen to get the help he needed. Than the customer emails me to say that devot:ee is engaging in censorship and that what we're doing is illegal ("I'll guarantee you that and put my money where my mouth is"). He also said that we "decide to remove ratings from software that you profit from especially if the add-ons make more sales, get the picture" (never mind he was responding to my questioning of his other 1-star review on NSM Override CSS, which we have never made a penny from, and which everyone else has given 4 or 5 stars). The customer also states, despite having left a review that was subsequently proved to be untrue, that devot:ee "doesn't give people looking to purchase something through devot:ee an honest reflection of what previous purchasers have wanted to display." He might consider that if his last statement is true, that he is part of the problem.
Yesterday, Issac Raway emailed be to ask about a 1-star rating (no review!) on his new Shortcode add-on which wasn't even available for purchase or download at the time the rating was placed. What to do? Does putting the developer in touch with the person leaving the rating help the situation (will that person be responsive and think about changing their rating? was it an accident?), or should we risk being accused again of "illegal" censorship because we feel that the rating is deserving of being removed because the user couldn't have possibly used the add-on?
Today I found a 1-star rating/review on Datagrab, which is a very popular add-on, and it's a proven fact that Andrew Weaver offers fantastic support for his products. The rating and "review" had absolutely nothing to do with the product, or the developer's level of support. In this case I left a note on the review with fair warning that it was going to be removed (and received an email from Andrew thanking me for being diligent about watching those reviews). Judge for yourself. Does the following sound like useful information to you as a potential Datagrab buyer?
(One Star) I tried to purchase this add on 2 days ago and it charged me twice and didn’t let me purchase it. Sadly I need it for a tight deadline but wont be able to buy it. Contacted DEVOTEE and no answer!
We subsequently learned you had likely entered the wrong address for your purchase. There is no need to punish the developer with a bad rating…that’s bad form. Giving you fair warning that I am going to remove this rating and review, because it has nothing to do with the product. - ryan
Do I really need to think twice about removing this? For better or worse, this is a review of devot:ee, not Datagrab. Will this customer come back and yell "censorship"?
The bottom line is this: Use your head when rating and reviewing add-ons. You're a member of the ExpressionEngine community, which says something. Please act like it.
And, you know, we have plans for the weekend. We don't want to be imprisoned indefinitely for removing ratings that have nothing to do with reality and can potentially hurt a developer.
This Week in Add-ons
RedirectURL EE2 Plugin (for EE2) by Rodrigo Passos
Perform 301 Redirect to a given URL
Hijri Converter (for EE2) by Laisvunas
Converts Gregorian date to Hijri and vice versa.
Interspire Email Marketer Subscriber (for EE2) by Laurence Cope
The Interspire Email Marketer Subscriber plugin allows you to easily add user data, including custom fields, to an IEM contact list from an ExpressionEngine template.
Shortcode ($, for EE2) by Isaac Raway (Airways)
Shortcode aims to allow for more dynamic use of content by authors and editors, allowing for injection of reusable bits of content or even whole pieces of functionality into any field in EE. Shortcode provides two types of codes for use in any content in EE: user-defined Macros specific to each author and each site, as well as a simple API for third-party plugins and modules to expose their tags through the shortcode Rich Text Editor dialog (or manual entry in any type of field) - complete with automatically rendered options forms.