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28/Feb/2006 | 13:40

I stumbled across this (admittedly dated) write-up the other day:

http://rixstep.com/1/20030112,00.html [Google cache.]

Just to get this one out of the way:

Freedom of speech is a protection that applies to the government's inability to prevent you from saying what you want. Civics 101. Tossing around the First Amendment as though Apple or another company have somehow removed your God-given rights to say or do whatever you want is absurd and inflammatory.

And now, on with the article.

Noise is a Symptom of Hearing

Apple didn't "censor a critical post". The post was removed because it added nothing but noise; the thread didn't detail, investigate, or solve a problem, and therefore added nothing to the Discussions community.

Apple Discussions is a forum for user support, not anything else. A thread that consists of complaints about something that isn't a technical issue is not productive. The Rixstep rant takes plenty of time to discuss the reasons posts and threads can be gassed, according to the Discussions Terms of Use, but it misses The Point™ entirely:

Stay on topic. Apple's discussion forums are here to help people use Apple products and technologies more effectively. Unless otherwise noted, don't add Submissions about nontechnical topics, including:

People who get angry that these sorts of threads get 86'ed have never done mass-level user support. How does a thread that just complains about policy do anything to help users of a technical support forum? Remember that every word that isn't helpful in regard to a technical issue is by definition unconstructive; it is noise that must be sifted through by both users and AppleCare employees who monitor the forums to track technical issues, monitor support levels, and develop support strategies. Does anyone honestly think that their mission is to kill threads that criticize the company?

There are thousands of new posts every day that have to be reviewed by Apple staff—every post gets reviewed by human eyes. This means NOISE IS COUNTER-PRODUCTIVE. If you leave the thread or post in the wild, it will continue to generate more noise, which must be read. Noise is dissonance, and dissonance dilutes the ability to provide support to people who are actually having technical support issues. It's all aggregate.

But I guess it's easier to blame Apple for "censorship" than to think about the entirety of the user base instead.

We now return you to your regularly scheduled Internet.

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