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Last weekend, the City of Montreal introduced “La Place Shamrock”, a project my girlfriend created over the last months. Here is an article from The Gazette for those of you who don’t speak la langue de Molière.

The goal with this project was to create a link between the St. Laurent boulevard and the Jean Talon Market. I’m aware that I may have a large bias towards Noémie’s work but the place is truly great. You even have a custom made carousel, which got busy all day and attracted kids but adults as well.

There were hundreds of people that came by during the opening day and everyone responsible for the project got great feedback from the public and surrounding businesses. There were still many people enjoying the benches and swings well after the main event was over.

The event was covered in many Montreal publications and my girlfriend was pretty excited about it, until she started reading the comments on the article Radio-Canada published. The article is in french but believe me, you’re not missing much.

Most comments are negative. Sounds familiar? There were and will be far more people enjoying the Place Shamrock in the future than there will ever be people that complains about it but yet, you mostly read negative comments about it.

Being Nice Is Hard

The situation reminded me of a discussion I had with Mike Lee last May, regarding an incident I have unfortunately witnessed: a cat got ran over by a car, was obviously in pain and yet the driver never bothered to stop to deal with the situation. It is possible that this person never even realized what just happened but still, it got me very angry about the whole thing, especially since I was the only one around that would take care of that poor cat.

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Still, I give this person ONE STAR.

The Internets Bring The Coward In All Of Us

It is easy to be negative on the web. We are not confronted to the person face to face and we feel the power to say whatever we feel like, even though we do not even have a good understanding of the whole situation or matter.

This brings me back to comments about my girlfriend’s work and about our apps:

It is much easier and rewarding for someone that is pissed about your app to leave a bad review than it is for a user that enjoys your app to disrupt his or her schedule and take the time to write a positive review.

That is just human nature, unfortunately. When pushing updates to the App Store, I and many fellow developers are sometimes asking users to take the time to write positive reviews. Some will actually do so because you are not disrupting them in the middle of something important; they are reading your What’s New In This Version notes and about to update your app. They are already in the App Store app so why not? I have had good success with that technique but it shows you what you need to do in order to get positive feedback: constantly remind people to be nice and do the right thing.

Last January, I had this ideal about The Rate Friday Initiative, which I am guilty of not respecting myself. Essentially, the goal is to give a good review to one app that you use and enjoy every Friday and tweet about this it. It has been over 6 months now and there are still people sticking to it, which is amazing. I will try to stop slacking off and get back in the movement this week.

At least, these gentlemen pretty much nailed it!