Here at DaniWeb I have always been rather proud of the fact that not only is member feedback encouraged, but the powers that be read what is being said, participate in the debate and sometimes their minds, and system policy, are changed by it. For any real community this feedback process is vital. OK, not everything is going to be determined by the opinions of those members choosing to debate the issues, sometimes executive decisions need to be made. The point being, though, that DaniWeb does at least listen and does at least allow members to express their opinions even when those opinions are highly critical ones. Read through the threads in the DaniWeb Community Feedback forum for some classic examples of this. The only time I can recall a thread being moved out of the public forums and into a closed arena was when system moderators started arguing amongst themselves, and messages were posted explaining how to circumvent the advertising that helps keep DaniWeb up and running.
Which is why I was happy to see that Yahoo! launched its very own Suggestion Board last week, encouraging feedback from users as to how to improve its services.
Unfortunately my happiness was soon squashed by a blog posting from David Dalka which reports on how he made use of the suggestions facility to suggest that the Yahoo! Email spam filters were improved as he thought they let too much spam through. Just the kind of thing this feedback system was for, you might imagine, as indeed David imagined and I myself assumed.
It seems that others agreed, and soon enough the suggestion had garnered 9 votes. I should point out that the Yahoo! suggestion system works by asking users to vote upon the postings as a way to highlight the issues that matter to most people. We will never know if this particular suggestion would have gone on to attract popular attention over and above those 9 users, however, because it was deleted by Yahoo!
Here’s the email that David Dalka received from a board administrator:
“Suggestion is not actionable by owners of this Suggestion Board, therefore we are removing it.”
Short but not sweet, and rather flying in the face of the whole point of a suggestions board in the first place, surely? Certainly it raises more questions that need to be answered, such as: who owns the Yahoo! Suggestion Board if not Yahoo!? And if Yahoo! does own it, then why can it not action a suggestion regarding the email service it also owns? Is the real problem that Yahoo! doesn’t like criticism of their system? In which case why bother asking for suggestions to improve things in the first place.
Hopefully all will be revealed soon enough, and it will turn out to be a misguided and over-zealous moderator with an itchy delete trigger. If not, then I have a suggestion of my own: close down the Yahoo! Suggestion Board until such a time as you are mature enough to listen to all suggestions made, even the ones you don’t like much.