Vitriol never helps

With the rise of social networking services, a disturbing trend has emerged. Whenever Facebook changes their design or Twitter has a glitch (or removes a feature), users erupt in a spontaneous worldwide ragegasm.

If the change was intentional, they’re pissed because nobody consulted them. If it’s a bug, they’re pissed because it isn’t being fixed fast enough. Half of them are probably just pissed because their friends are pissed and they don’t want to feel left out.

Few of these vitriol-spewing angerballs seem to realize that the companies behind the products they’re pissed about are made up of actual people, and for the most part these people genuinely do not want to make their users unhappy. What’s more, thanks to the nature of social networks, many of these people — real people with real feelings — actually read this hate-filled asshattery and are affected by it.

When Twitter goes down, they’re not playing a cruel trick on you. When they change or remove a feature you like, it’s because they thought they had a good reason. Maybe they’re wrong. By all means, speak up when these things happen, but don’t be a dick about it.

As a developer, nothing makes me happier than going out of my way to fix a problem for a user who brings it to my attention politely. On the other hand, when a user implies that I’m a moron and makes angry demands, I’m not exactly going to feel motivated to respond to that person’s concerns. And it might just ruin my day.