Give The Damn Star

I have a confession to make. I am stingy. I am stingier than an Indian housewife in the Sunday market. I am stingier than a billionaire at a charity auction. Nobody gets a five star review from me.

I leave four star reviews to best of the apps. I give only four stars to Amazon deliveries — even on those rare occasions when the delivery person finds my door without me needing to walk them through the entire neighbourhood. I give four stars to the restaurants even when they request for five. (Or, especially when they request a fiver.) The other day, my Uber driver arrived exactly where he was supposed to, drove very comfortably, did not blast my ears with ‘music’, and dropped me exactly where I needed to be — without saying a single word. Best human interaction of the day. Ron agrees with me.

Yet, when the Uber app asked me to review my ride, I found myself hitting the fourth star.

And as I steal a star from each review to grow my hoard, I pretend that I am doing something noble — that I am encouraging people to strive for improvement and perfection. The truth is, I am just stingy. This is toxic and it needs to stop.

It Is Widespread

It’s not just me. This stinginess is very common. In fact, it is so common that the industry has come up with thoroughly thought out strategies to counter it.

A couple of restaurants I frequent to have trained their staff to ask “Would you like to give us five stars?” instead of “Would you like to leave feedback?” — all because of widespread star hoarding.

Some apps redirect users to the private feedback form if they notice that the user is about to give less than five stars with no textual explanation.

MakeMyTrip app takes this one step further with its tricked out interface. It adds an extra star.

This is really getting out of hands

This is really getting out of hands

It Is Bad

Here’s the harsh truth: It serves no purpose.

While reviewing something, I always assume that there is scope of improvement somewhere. Probably, I am right. After all, Commander Vimes has a point here:

Everyone’s guilty of something, especially the ones that aren’t.

But until I can specifically point out what to fix, deducting a star is pointless.

I recently had the misfortune of having to deal with the reviews on one of my apps. I found myself looking at a bunch of three and four star reviews with no other feedback. I had no clue what to make of it. As a developer, I lose on ratings while consumers don’t benefit since I don’t know what to improve.

Do This Instead

Unhappy about something? Deduct the stars by all means. But also, write a feedback and mention what needs to be improved. We all stand a way better chance of getting things fixed.

While you write feedback, make sure it is useful. You can do better than the one here. One star with an “Ok” isn’t helping anyone.

Too lazy to write detailed feedback? Leave it alone. Don’t review them at all.

Can’t find something specific to complain about? Give that damn fifth star!

And while you’re at it, hit the clap button below (or leave a comment). Don’t be stingy — all it takes is a click.

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