At the “Users in Charge” session at last week’s BloggerCon, Chris Pirillo defined the word “freedbacking” to mean “free feedback from software users to developers.” Later in his blog, Chris asked users (better known as “customers”) to use the word (or tag) “freedbacking” in any blog posts which give feedback to developers.

Chris, you know I respect you, but beyond self-promotion, what’s the goal here? If it’s to make developers listen, then I don’t get it. Any developer worth his salt is already subscribed to keyword search feeds about his or her software, and any developer who isn’t already listening isn’t likely to hear users just because they use the word “freedbacking.” So using the word “freedbacking” strikes me as superfluous.

What am I missing?

PS: Ironically enough, by using the word “freedbacking” here, I’ve made sure that Chris will hear this :)

15 thoughts on “Freedbacking?

  1. Yah know, sometimes you just gotta do something just to see what happens. :) It’s interesting, though – most traction I’ve seen has been coming from the library community. So while “geeks” may not get it, the reference folks apparently do – whatever there is to “get.”

  2. [note]I was not at the conference and don’t know everything Chris had to say, so my contribution to this discussion is minimal.[/note]
    It also seems to me that a good model for software developers to employ (and one that you certainly employed independently as well as with NG) is the forum or newsgroup, email list model. Get beta testers and users to be able to submit ideas and they will. Freedback isn’t. Instead the customers are paying for support in either buying the software or paying for support AND paying for the software. Freedback is communication that I think more and more consciencous users are offering so that their software of choice can continue to kick posterior instead of just being mostly handy.

  3. Perhaps it’s as simple as making a better signal/noise ratio, amplifying those posts which are actually productively oriented towards developers as opposed to those which are really for other users, etc?

  4. I don’t see the harm in it. Its just a keyword to make gathering feedback easier I guess.

  5. Stop polluting our folksonomy! The tag soup has gotten so mushy, I expect something to crawl out of it and into an IPO anyday now.

  6. I give it about a month before it is co-opted by people who just have a crazy beef with someone/thing and want to cast their bitch net wide.

  7. If chris wants to give a term to something that as you say, any real developer has been doing for years – well I guess he just loves his jargon ;)

  8. Seems unnecessary to me. I’m sure Nick’s looking at keywords like “feeddemon” and obviously wouldn’t be wise to ignore the ones that didn’t use the Secret Code Word.
    Also, we already have “blog” and “blogging” and “blogosphere” and “vlog” and “podcast”. We do NOT need any more silly words on weblogs that serve to further alienate the non-savvy audience.

  9. Yea, I agree. We don’t need to add more argot to a field drowning in it. The word feedback works well. “Freedback” has the connotation that the developer owes the user something more than the program itself.

  10. Hmm…well, I’d say if the developer charges for the software, then they *do* owe the user something more than the software itself.

  11. I was wondering the same thing, Nick. I think the problem is a mismatch in serving neither smaller nor larger teams well, for different reasons. As you point out, any good (small-team, I would add) developers are already tracking their own coverage… They don’t need this tag. For larger teams (software with high web coverage, like Apache, PostgreSQL, etc.), it’s harder to sift feedback ideas from the web, and ‘freedbacking’ could be useful… except that (a) those projects want suggestions channeled into their own forums and bug-trackers; and (b) Chris’ idea is only half of an edgeio-style tagging system that aggregates suggestions and feeds them back into the different legacy systems used by the various projects.
    Good seeing you at Bloggercon, btw. I’ve posted that “big-grin” photo of you on my site (click the photo to see the larger version). Keep up the great work on FeedDemon. :-)

  12. Chris is starting to look more and more like Dave Winer all the time. (But just the arrogant, hard to deal with part. Not the brilliant technologist part.)

  13. Peter, while I was being critical of the “freedbacking” idea, I wasn’t being critical of Chris himself. I’ve known him for several years, and have never found him to be arrogant.

  14. Nick – The minor dealings I had with him were me saying I didn’t like one of his ideas and him telling me to get lost.
    His project to “help out” MS by setting up a Vista torrent also seemed a bit full of himself. I think he does a lot of things just to draw attention to himself.
    But that’s just me, I don’t know him personally and I know many people think he’s great.

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