I’ve been thinking a lot about the terrible state of App Store review culture, such as the vicious reviews and staggering entitlement that you see for $3 apps that took months of sweat, blood, and sleepless nights to create, and I realized something.
The typical user feels pretty powerless around technology. The industry is run by large, faceless corporations that are usually almost impossible to get in touch with. Exhibit A: part of the popularity of Apple’s retail stores and online interactive support tools is that customers feel like they’re getting a direct line to Apple, or at least someone really smart who’s associated with Apple. But in general, computers have been so complicated for so long that it has become commonly practiced behavior to immediately admit fault or being “stupid with computers” the second anything goes wrong or even if someone don’t understand a new technology.
Maybe leaving these nasty reviews in the App Store is the first way a lot of people have felt any kind of power around technology in a really long time. If you felt personally repressed by a faceless entity that’s taken over and disoriented so many aspects of your life, wouldn’t you lash out at your first opportunity?
Sure, the internet anonymity factor is clearly at play, and I am in no way trying to justify the behavior. But perhaps a different perspective on the root of the problem can help us understand and combat it better, whether the solution comes from the community or ultimately Apple with some kind of a broad-sweeping policy or feature change in the store.