RE: Follow-up to question about getting feedback from users

Subject: RE: Follow-up to question about getting feedback from users
From: "Boudreaux, Madelyn (GE Healthcare, consultant)" <MadelynBoudreaux -at- ge -dot- com>
To: <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 25 Sep 2009 12:13:14 -0400

First of all, I imagine that any company tracking user information has
embedded the approval for doing so in the user agreement you accepted by
clicking a button during install, or possibly by breaking a seal on the
packaging. Typically, you can break that agreement by uninstalling to
product. I sincerely suspect that the Madcap legal department is savvy
to this, in far more detail than all of us put together. Quite possibly,
they (and about 40 other software companies) already have the legal
right to your first born, and you don't even know it. The question is
whether they ever intend to call in the debt.

I know, I know. You read EVERY word of every user license agreement, and
you understand them all, in detail. I'm talking about everyone else.

***

More interesting to me is the psychology of this whole kerfuffle*. The
reality is that Madcap's tracking may be along the lines of those
traffic counters you see on streets -- the hose-based ones that track
how many people use a stretch of street. These gather very generic data
-- how many people traveled over the stretch, but not what kind of car,
which way they were going, or what their spouse's middle name is.
There's no warning that they're coming up; you just drive over them.

By contrast, the reaction people are having here is as if "traffic
counting" involves a roadblock with a mandatory blood sample, urine
test, trunk search, and demand to know where you're off to this fine
evening.

It's also interesting how you can use psychology to get around people's
knee-jerk fears. Tell people that a piece of hardware is tracking
purchases by counting the number of items in their cart, anonymously, as
they walk under a camera, and people will FREAK. Offer people prizes or
rewards or even just appreciation, and they will fill out a complex
form, tell you exactly what they buy, how much it cost, and what they're
going to do with it.

Never mind what kind of information it is, how personal it is (or
isn't), what will be done with it, how much its collection and use will
benefit the users -- people don't like having ANY information taken from
them without their agreement. It's all in how you present it, or whether
you ask.

Sincerely,
Madelyn Boudreaux

* It's Kerfuffle Friday!
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

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Follow-Ups:

References:
RE: Follow-up to question about getting feedback from users: From: Combs, Richard
RE: Follow-up to question about getting feedback from users: From: Sharon Burton
RE: Follow-up to question about getting feedback from users: From: Combs, Richard

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