Android Central New Year's Resolution

The New Year holiday traditionally is a time when people resolve to do things better.  Many of us will resolve to lose a bit of weight, or stop a bad habit, or any number of things we can think of that would make life, or the quality of it, better.  Some things we resolve to do are big and important, others are a bit more simple, but they all work towards the same goal -- improving ourselves.  We all have our personal New Year's resolutions (guess who started smoking again and is going to put a stop to it), but here at Android Central we'd like to extend some more community-based ways we all can improve, and we're calling them Android Resolutions.  We'll start small:

Resolve to leave better comments in the Android Market

If you've ever made something for use by others, you know how important feedback can be -- and, more important, the right kind of feedback.  Android's open spirit and nature means there's more possibility for things to go wrong, so communication is important when you're talking with a hard working application developer.  Consider this:

Dis app sucks yo. zero stars

That's a real comment left in the Market, by a user whose name I won't mention for an app I'll also not mention.  The comment is 100 percent worthless, both to the person reading it and trying to decide if they should spend 99 pennies, and to the developer who would like the app to work well for everyone.  We have no idea why the app "sucks," and it may as well have not even been posted.  In contrast, look at this one from the same app:

Everything seems good until a text comes in, then the app crashes. Have to force close it and reopen to get back.  3 stars for the effort (Optimus V-Froyo)

Same app, and very likely the same issue "Mr. app sucks yo" is having.  But this time around, the developer knows where to look for the problem, and you and I know that if we have an Optimus V (which is an amazingly popular Android phone) or if we're running Froyo we might experience issues.  This is helpful in every way. 

So I'm suggesting we all resolve to leave clear and concise comments in the Market for apps we try and use.  We all benefit, and it's really not a lot of effort.  (If you really want to go the extra mile, take 60 seconds and e-mail the developer. They'll likely thank you for it.)

Remember -- developers and the applications they create are a huge part of any smartphone platform, and we're lucky to have a ton of them.  Let's all do our part to help make them better.

 

Reader comments

Android Resolutions: Resolve to leave better comments in the Android Market

59 Comments

I agree. I'm not exactly sure what effect it has but I always rate a few reviews as I skim through them.

It's actually called "adolescent humor" and it's the equivalent of a 12 year old retard dropping his pants in the local supermarket.

Well quite frankly any retarded person dropping their pants any where is sad. And a 12 year-old dropping them is embarrassing. Message is: over-analysis ruins anything, lighten up.

remember, though, that the comments section is not the place to ask for support or report bugs!

It's not (easily) possible for developers to respond to comments there or adress support requests. Frequently, problems users have would have been able to be solved, had they used the right communication channels - either by providing support or fixing bugs in later versions.

No you should report bugs to the developer themselves. But it is nice for other people to know what kind of bugs you're having so that if they download it and begin to have problems they can see whether they are the only ones with that problem.

Yeah bit the comment is helpful to the rest of us. If we know that we are running Optimous V (or another similar device on Froyo) then we are likely to have problems. That's the point Jerry was having. Yes it is always a good idea to report a bug directly to a developer and if your phone asks permission to send a bug report to the developer then you should do that to. Otherwise you have no right complaining when the big doesn't get fixed in the next version.

Yay, I have been doing that the last 2 years :)

Also people should rate it properly. Not having 1 function you want is not a reason to leave 1 star.

Agreed.

Personally, I have sent detailed Email outlining app problems to developers. Some I never hear back from. But the majority are thankful for the constructive feedback. And I am especially partial to spending extra time helping and troubleshooting for free and/or open-source applications.... it is the least I can do.

I have a rotating schedule at my work. The first and only app I ever purchased (before the 10 cent sale) was an app called CopApp which lets me program in my rotation. I bought it and then decided to email the Dev about some suggestions and to tell him it was an excellent app. We exchanged a few emails and then I get an email from him personally asking me to check out the update and get back to him. I did and since the app has become incredibly useful. The dev is a really nice guy who just wanted to make the best app possible. I suggest everyone follow this resolution and we all can benefit greatly.

Anyone know why my commenter name is different? It should say Hand_O_Death but to me it is displaying HandsofDeath...

I am still signed in correctly. Is this knew or am I just not as observant as I thought?

I tried changing it but Hand_O_Death is taken.  Not sure what happened there.  I hope Hands_O_Death works :)

eMailing the developer is a great idea. Two key things: 1) Be polite. 2) Explain what the problem is, and what you're doing when it crops up. If you're going to ask for help, don't tie the dev's hands by being difficult or vague. That helps no one. I recently had an issue with the Executive Assistant app.. the support was awesome. See eMail chain posted below:

Hi ______,

I just posted the update (it may take a bit for it to become visible on your phone). Please let me know if you continue to have any problems.

All the best,
Steve

------------------------------

On Wed, Nov 30, 2011 at 4:17 PM, Appventive Support wrote:
Hi ____,

Thanks for bringing this to my attention. I will post a fix shortly.

All the best,
Steve

------------------------------

On Wed, Nov 30, 2011 at 2:39 PM, ______ <______@hotmail.com> wrote:
Hello,

Hope all is well. Wanted to report a quick bug found with the latest update of Executive Assistant +. (Version 1.8.3b) Error returned in Android indicating "Problem Loading Gadget" on EA+ widget.

Steps taken to reproduce issue:
- Enable the following tabs: Missed Calls, SMS, EMail, Tasks, Agenda
- Summary tab enabled with all previews checked (this includes all items in previous point)
- No other tabs enabled
- Widget theme should be set to "Classic" (with or without top buttons)

Under these conditions, "Problem Loading Gadget" error is returned. Workarounds include:
- Enable an additional tab, such as google reader, facebook, or twitter. (Something that cannot be viewed in Summary.)
- Use another theme for the widget other than Classic.

Issue might related to recent update of classic theme that added the option for top buttons.

Phone: HTC Thunderbolt (Verizon)
Installed ROM: Das BAMF 1.0.7
HTC Sense Version: 3.0

Hope this helps. Please let me know if you need additional information.

I always try to email the dev, but most of them just dont reply back. That made me sad of course ...

Whats up with that?

I know, if the dev answered all emails, they wont work on their app.

But, your suggestion to email the dev will only frustrate the user who got no feedback.

So, then the situation back again. Users got iritated, annoyed, feel ignored, they start screaming in the market.

I guess it just depends on your expectations. I don't *expect* a response when I send a developer information. It would be nice, but I understand that they (just like I) have limited time.

And don't forget the gazillions of one star "this doesn't work on the XXX tablet" ratings when honeycomb was first released. Then the user doesn't revisit it when the app is updated for their tablet.
Comments aren't the right place to report bugs...report the problem to the developer directly...

It wouldn't be a bad idea for Google to have an alternate ratings view that put more weight on ratings with more recent versions of the app. If an app has had a dozen updates (not an unusual number) in the year since someone rated it, it's likely in much better condition.

For example, MLB At Bat 11 was a good app, but its rating never recovered from the horde of angry users who rated it one star when audio didn't work on Opening Day. That was a serious issue, but it lasted one day.

The apps for the MotoActv in the market have low ratings. Not because people used it and didn't like it, but because they felt it was bloatware on the Motorola phones. As I read through them I thought, "what a bunch of morons."

Most annoying comments are from the morons who believe that just because they paid 99 pennies, they are somehow entitled to have the app customized to their own needs and it MUST have features that they want. I don't even bother reading the reviews because most seem like they came from someone with a 3rd grade education anyway..

The three letter comments are so annoying. Especially if an app doesn't work and the developer gets 3-stars for his effort. People need to be a bit more detailed of what the problem is so that they could get the app working properly for them, or other people have similar problems.

Not only is it rude to leave such poor comments, but it's also nerve wracking for the true (educated) enthusiasts to wade through this muck to get to the core of the matter. Is there any way that the Admins can delete or hide the comments that aren't contributing to the overall wellness of the app?

Personally my least favorite reviews are the ones for the carrier installed apps saying they suck and get them off my phone, etc. Doing so will not get the carrier and OEM to not put it on the phone and those of us who are honestly interested in what people who actually use the app think about it or about the new update have to wade through all that crap.

Jerry: You would only encourage BETTER app comments in the market if you prevented sock-puppets from commenting in the forums and site here. Take care of your own backyard. Ya know? The fewer refuges America's "brightest" [Note: Heavy sarcasm) have to exist, the better.

Here comes the dissident voice, again.
(You've been warned.)

I'll say, do not email the developer unless you really love the app and have good suggestions for the developer, or you really need the app to work and a bug is preventing you from making use of the app. In any case, keep emails professional and to the point.

But don't email developers for every little issue you nitpick. Between coding apps, having a daytime job and having a personal life, developers don't have enough time to read through endless screens of email messages. If we avoid flooding their inboxes, they'll have time to take care of users who report important and critical issues.

If one goes into the app development BUSINESS, one has a responsibility to manage one's overhead well enough to take the heat. In other words, maybe some should NOT be in the BUSINESS of app development IF they cannot truly support the effort. No person who chooses to use an app has ANY reason to accommodate a developer's other life. Comes with the territory. And that's life.

If a developer has very limited ability to sustain their efforts, it is THEY who owe it to the consumer to DISCLOSE that their support is limited.

Those developing just for grins and giggles are playing in the same MARKET as those who are using this business model to sustain livelihoods. And because 'free' apps are supported by ADS, it's ALL business, ultimately. Again: DISCLOSURE by the developer would do wonders for the consumer.

Then maybe devs like you should put something in the app description to the effect of "I'm doing this as a hobby so if it doesn't work right or doesn't have the features you need just delete it and find something else". Why leave us guessing then piss and moan when we guess wrong? It may be "life" as you put it, but it might be "smart" to let people know beforehand.

Edited to add: Sorry, didn't see your response just above mine before posting this.

IMO, people leaving poor comments for apps is due to the increasingly lazy thinking that seems to be permeating society. From personal experience, I see it every single day across various facets of life. Sad to see many just "dial it in" without any real thought involved. Life is hard yo!

Some Dev's want you to send a bug report and not state bugs in the comment section. So I don't see the whole New Year Rez for this.

Dis Thre Wortlezz...

Good God man, read the article. He's not saying you shouldn't rate it, he's saying leave a comment in line with your education. If "it sucks yo" is your education level, then fine, if not we're just suggesting you take your brain out of the garage and give it a test drive to make sure it still operates and while you're at it, leave an intelligent comment.

Right in line with my comment about most reviews seeming to come from those with a 3rd grade education... Reminds me of the type of person who would download a *theme* that clearly says you need another app to make it work, and then they'll leave a comment stating "sucks don't work"... Just shows the sad state of people lately... It seems many are not smart enough for a "smart phone"...

I'm a developer myself and the Market comment system is a total pain to deal with. I loathe it each time I have a look at the comments.
The comment system is abused in every possible way and there is no way for us developers to defend or help users as we cannot join them.

Here is the crap that every developer must face:

- users thinking the comment system is a support forum
- confused users about the features of your app and making false claims
- users downgrading ratings if you ever make the sligthest mistake in a upgrade: "..bla..bla...used to work....NOW USELESS!!!"
- condescending users giving you orders: "bla..bla..., please fix!"
- cheap users stating the obvious: "trial version is limited. WHAI IT IS NOT FREE????"
- users perverting stars as a tool: "...5 stars if ZZZ feature is implemented"
- users citing competiting app: "YYY is SOOOOO much better !!"
- haters that just hate randomly

One day when I stop Android development I will make a special "fuck you" version of my apps.

What I love are the low ratings because an app isn't free, even though the description clearly states it's a demo or beta.

Nice article Jerry (as usual). It is so frusterating to be looking at the comments and see a million one star comments from users that don't even bother attempting to look into the problem. For example when the Galaxy Nexus (a phone you would think would attract "smarter" users) launched I immediately looked into the market to see if GTAIII would run and per the devs comments right above the comment section (no seriously, right above) It clearly stated, "Working on a release for the Galaxy Nexus" and the three showing comments stated, "Uninstalled did not work on Galaxy Nexus" "Want Refundz no work GNex" and "Uninstalled no work Nexus." Come on people look at the application before purchasing cause all these ratings do is downrank an application when a dev is clearly working on bringing the application to a wider audience. As a person that is is the meat of my programming courses and learning to code it is really frustrating as I see this happen all the time and it is so hard to code applications to work on all the Android phones that are in existence and even harder to keep running when new phones are launched everyday (when I saw this it was 2 days after the release of the LTE Galaxy Nexus here in the states and the application itself had only been released for less than a month). People need to use their brains and if something doesn't work then use Google (as it is integrated into an Android phone btw) and attempt to see if it is your device (or your own stupidity) before downranking a paid app.

You realize that the type of user that leaves asinine "reviews" most likely doesn't visit websites like this one.. The extent of their "internet savvy" is most likely Facebook and Twitter, and they most likely have no clue that sites like this exist. Writing articles like these are almost a waste of time for more than one reason.

Thank you. Wholeheartedly agree.

Speaking of which, I just got some awesome comments on ALL my apps from the same guy:
"Waste of time. Worse app ive dld yet, uninstalled, rubbish developer"
"Poor Utter rubish, kills phones ram, uninstalled"
...

You'd think I spilled coffee on his lap or something.

I've also noticed that a lot of people fail to utilize Grammar correctly. It seems to be a lost art.

Grammar is important! Capitalization is the difference between helping your Uncle Jack off a horse and helping your Uncle jack off a horse.