October 28, 2013 · Lessig
I upgraded my iPhone (“what, you have an iPhone” — ok, you win, sin #1) to iOS 7.0.3. It killed wifi. I went to the Apple discussion site to see what the community had to say about it. Seems there are lots of people who had the same problem. I followed the recommended fixes — including reinstalling the system software and “restoring” from a back (which, in Apple-land, doesn’t really mean restoring, but means giving you the beginning of a restoration, which, with a couple more hours of tinkering, get you back to where you were) — but nothing worked. Wifi came back for an hour. It’s gone again.
What’s striking about the comments on the Apple community site is the frustration — frustration because of Apple’s apparent policy not to respond to comments. Unlike really helpful companies which try to reward people who spend time making community boards the best source for technical support by engaging with posts, and at least acknowledging the problems, Apple’s policy seems to be a “never comment” policy. Which leads its users — and again, people who are volunteering their time to help lower Apple’s customer support cost — to express increasing exasperation at the unanswered problems.
This link is a great example: link. As you read through it, you’ll see that’s it’s fairly clear there’s a bug which is causing significant trouble; clear that there’s been no response from Apple; and clear that the troops are getting angry.
This morning I noticed a post by LouLou71: It was as follows:
Re: wifi greyed out after update to ios7
Before I have another post removed I urge all those affected with wifi issues to exercise your rights as I have done as published on apples vet own website.
There are far too many of us affected for this to be a coincidence or consumer caused problem, I had a 16gb white 4s purchased in July 2013 and wifi was completely greyed out no matter what fixes I was advised to try.
I have been successful in my claim and am now in receipt of a brand new iPhone 5, this was provided to me by the phone shop I signed my O2 contract with last year.
Good luck and persevere
Later, I tried to post a question to the post — basically asking whether Apple indeed scrubbed comments, meaning it was worth it for them to censor the community, just not respond to it — but it wouldn’t post.
Then I noted LouLou71’s comment had been deleted. So I reposted it — noting I had thought his comment was a bit paranoid, but anyway, his information was certainly valid. Imagine if we had the same warranty rights in America that Europeans have in Europe!
But then, to my utter(ly naive) astonishment, Apple removed my comment. Their email to me is as follows:
Dear Lessig Lawrence (Lawrence Lessig),
Recently you posted a poll or petition in Apple Support Communities. We are including a copy of your message at the end of this email for your reference. We understand the desire to share experiences in your topic, “Re: wifi greyed out after update to ios7 ,” but because these posts are not allowed on our forums, we have removed it.
If you would like to share your experiences with Apple directly, you can submit feedback here: http://www.apple.com/feedback . As part of submitting feedback, please read the Unsolicited Idea Submission Policy linked to the feedback page.
Apple Support Communities Staff
A copy of your message for reference:
LouLou71 had posted this here. I had tried to ask him a followup question (does Apple really scrub comments), having thought his assertion was a bit paranoid. As apparently the comment was removed, maybe it wasn’t so paranoid: Before I have …
Ok, so what precisely is the valid objection here? Sure, the community site is intended for technical issues. That was what the thread began with — a technical issue. When there was no corporate response to that technical issue, some started to offer advice to other customers about what they could do to deal with that issue. That was LouLou71’s purpose — exercise your warranty rights.
When did it become inappropriate to inform people about legally protected rights related to technical issues? Apple doesn’t scrub comments that try to help people by telling them to refer complaints to the feedback page — for in the Sharing Economy that is the Internet, that’s free information donated to Apple. But when someone offers advice that tries to help people by telling them to exercise their rights, it gets purged?
So, hey #Apple, if you want the free help given by members of your community, treat them with respect. A simple — “thanks for the comments; we’re looking into it” — would be a really cheap way to show respect. And a policy against scrubbing comments offering people completely legitimate advice for dealing with their technical problems would be one more, though admittedly, that’s less cheap. For remember, when Jobs was at the helm, many (maybe too many) of us were willing to cut the genius some slack. That willingness is, let’s say, waning.
An Apple Support Communities Customer
(Original post on Tumblr)