The comment section can be a scary place, where users flock to air their grievances, complain, and sometimes bash the author. Now, Microsoft is giving Windows Phone developers a chance to participate in the conversation. The company announced a new feature that would allow developers to respond to user reviews of their apps and games.
“This new capability enables developers to respond to reviews of Windows Phone apps directly from Dev Center. Once you create a response, users will receive the comment via an e-mail from Microsoft, and they can even contact you directly if you include your support e-mail address in the app submission ‘Support e-mail address’ metadata,” Microsoft wrote on its blog.
The feature was announced earlier this month at Microsoft’s Build Conference and was expected to roll out in May, but to speed up the process, the company is launching a small private pilot program and will expand on it over time.
“Some customers may start to hear from developers in the pilot program as early as later this week,” Microsoft wrote.
From a developer’s perspective, this is a great opportunity to create the best user experience and increase app ratings. From an end user’s perspective, this is a great opportunity to get questions answered and request new features.
But what happens when these conversations turn into a war? If you actively peruse the comment section, you’ve seen the backlash that can erupt over one remark or opinion.
Microsoft will allow commenters to report developers who abuse the privilege through the Report Concern form, and if the company finds developers have misused the feature, it will revoke their developer access. But what will happen to the app or game once a developer gets reported?
If a developer doesn’t have access anymore, how will they be able to update or improve the app? Or will the app cease to exist?
Do the benefits of this feature outweigh the losses? The implications are unknown.
Microsoft says users shouldn’t be shy about writing honest and detailed app reviews, but maybe you are better off playing nice.
Developers have feelings too.