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My dream dating app has been banned by Apple (webworm.substack.com)
71 points by forgotmypw17 22 days ago | hide | past | favorite | 68 comments

On the one hand, I do think it's silly that Apple is discriminating against this app, but I don't really buy the entire idea that a dislike of astrology is reflective of some sort of deeper bigotry. I'm a gay man of color myself, and I find it trite and annoying when you re discussing some interpersonal issues and someone chimes in with "oh it's because of <X astrological sign incompatibility>".

I think it's fine and fun as anything else to make memes about star signs or whatever but some people take it seriously to the point of making sweeping generalizations about people based on what the alignments of planets when they were born.

I agree and think them making this about "white men" is wrong, unreasonable, and perhaps even racist itself. I also agree it's fun, harmless, as it's pattern matching they're doing and a conversation topic for them to try to relate, connect to others. Whether it's fluke that they think they have observed a pattern matching or not, or perhaps if someone resonates with the majority of described traits of any sign, is harmless. Maybe everyone or just some people's biology and development is somehow guided or influenced by the position of the energy and certain traits are more highly selected for because of that, who knows, I don't personally believe we have a certain deep or full understanding of consciousness nor how our brain/body-mind interact, etc - and so I leave room for the potential.

In my experience, people mostly use astrology to excuse their poor behavior.

"Sorry, Mercury is in retrograde right now and that's why I --"

No. You're just kind of a shit person. The sooner you own it and stop blaming the stars, the sooner you can start to improve.

Don't you think you perhaps have selection bias? "... people mostly use astrology to excuse their poor behaviour" is quite the generalization, especially since this thread is about using astrology for people to meet other people, not make excuses.

> Don't you think you perhaps have selection bias?

Well, since I literally said "in my experience," yes.

I'm afraid I don't have the energy to do a proper exhaustive study on this topic... Mercury is in retrograde after all.

^ typical Capricorn comment!

This article has been updated to state that Apple has reversed their decision.

> I'm a gay man of color

What is the connection here? What does that have to do with linking relationship dynamics to astrology?

The article is mainly about how cis white males don't like astrology and thus it is misogyny. So the connection is pretty much perfect as he is giving an example of how you can be annoyed by astrology without being a cis white male.

edit: typo

I was thrown by the same thing. Both the article and the parent comment have the same premise - the author presumes that Rachel, as a woman, is more qualified than the average person to judge whether Apple's rejection of an astrology dating app is an act of discrimination. And then parent comment says that "as a gay man of color," he's more qualified than the average person to judge whether Rachel / the author's complaint about discrimination is well founded. It's a subtle form of the argument to authority fallacy.

I mean, is a woman more qualified to judge whether a situation is an example of misogyny? Perhaps not, as a man could reach the same conclusion. But it's certainly more appropriate than leaving it to a group of men, or an industry that is generally dominated by men. It's relevant, not because the logic is dependent on the fact, but because it is a perspective regarding societal power.

The article indicates that hating astrology is characteristic of white cis men. The parent comment says "FWIW, I'm not those things, and I hate astrology." They aren't asserting their authority to make a logical argument. They are offering their perspective as a sample.

Respectfully, I think you are letting your intellect get in the way of your ability to think by dismissing these perspectives, misidentifying a report of someone's subjective experience as a logical argument, and therefore a fallacy.

Personally, I hate astrology, but I wouldn't have this app flagged as spam and banned from the app store because of it. I think the argument that this is a form of (probably unintentional) racial/gender/sexual discrimination holds water. If nothing else, I find the idea that Apple happily exerts this kind of force on their customer's personal interests super frustrating and distasteful, and bad for business. Money talks, and bullshit walks. If there is no market for it, let it die on its own merit. I don't need Apple's protection from astrology.

We don't all have to embrace each other, but we do have to suffer each other. And traditionally, some of us have been suffering a lot more than others.

That's just my opinion. Take it for what it's worth.

TFA states that white men are against astrology because women and POC like it (???)

So if you read the actual text of Apple's rejection, it seems even worse that merely doing something asinine and dumb like rejecting astrology:

> "We continue to find your app to be an Astrology based dating app. As such, it duplicates the content and functionality of many other similar apps currently available on the App Store. While these app features may be useful, informative or entertaining, we simply have enough of these types of apps on the App Store, and they are considered a form of spam."

So, holy shit -- Apple will reject your app because there are already "enough" other apps that incorporate some particular functionality or theme?

While not illegal, that's so blatantly anti-competitive because it says "no more competition, nobody else can try, you lose, sorry".

That's infuriating. This isn't a grocery store with limited shelf space. Either reject an app because it breaks policies or don't, but don't reject an app because we already "have enough". Look, if it fails, it'll sink to the end of search results and nobody will find it anyways. Or de-list apps that don't meet some tiny minimum number of installs, but to it in the open, for all types of apps, with explicitly known thresholds.

But don't prevent someone from competing in the first place! It's just so... unsportsmanlike. And ultimately harmful to consumers who want better apps.

Yes. Apple rejected an app I was working on as spam since there are already apps which does the same thing. It was a simple app but I thought its appeal would be its simplicity anyways.

With this logic, they would reject new games as there are already many games in the app store :)

I'm not using the Apple ecosystem but I thought that was at least originally part of the premise of the App Store. Curated content, at Apple's discretion, where they could decide that something should not be included if it somehow didn't fit their vision by adding too many confusing choices or something.

Maybe that has changed over the years while I wasn't watching, either in letter or in practice, and it is indeed not something you would expect to happen. But to me it kind of sounds like just Apple being Apple.

The idea behind that rule is to prevent another flood of clones of the next Flappy Bird. That’s why it was added. In practice, it’s arbitrary.

I was with the sentiment, up to this line (which may have been in jest): “I’m a busy woman, I haven't got time to accidentally date a Virgo.”

So, you won’t date a person due to a characteristic that they can’t change or had any agency in choosing, while simultaneously decrying racism.

I just wish people could find peace...

You're complaining about astrology preferences which are, for all intents and purposes, a micro-niche of dating.

Wait until you find out the importance of how tall a person is (specifically, how tall men are). You're in for a surprise.

Heh, it's always funny to see a long paragraph in a dating bio discussing profound belief in progressive ideology: intersectional feminism, black lives matter, eco-mindedness, etc -- all good things in my book!

And thennnn a postscript at the bottom: "must be X height."

>black lives matter

That's also mostly a farce and social status signalling. Most of them wouldn't date a black person to save their life.

Everyone is entitled to their dating preferences, but not everyone is entitled to their ideological consistency.

I’m currently out of the dating pool, but I had my share of preferences at that time and my potential partners did too. Preferences aren’t the problem, holding two contradicting beliefs is (it’s ok to discriminate based on unchangeable properties when dating, but wrong when setting salaries).

And I will follow the regression further to fully admit that my desire for rationality is itself a preference and not an unmitigated good.

I mean, preferences kinda are what they are. You can convince people their preferences are stupid, but preferences in dating are amoral.

That is in poor taste. Or at least from a point of view that is failing to grasp the concept of racism. It wasn’t Virgos who enslaved Black people / redlined neighborhoods / segregated schools.

edited to remove analogy because it distracted from the point

Having a mustache isn't an innate trait. A person could shave or (possibly) grow a mustache, but they cannot change their date of birth.

So yeah, bad analogy from the parent poster. But what's the point of quibbling?

There are other innate traits that might factor into who we date, something about how they look, perhaps?

True. I edited to reflect personal preference.

>A more appropriate analogy would be “I won’t date anyone with a mustache”,

You can choose whether to have a mustache or not. A better analogy might be something like eye/hair color.

Hard to say, eye/hair color have some genetic backing. Astrology at least is pretty good at being randomly distributed

Which may be related to why those who have rolled traits which aren't in the existing power structure would be more partial towards this sort of equalizing trait to build first impression biases on

Maybe we should have a dating app that matches people based on the last digit of their social security number. The idea here is to artificially reduce supply in order to compel people to interact with someone they wouldn't usually

People choose to grow and maintain mustaches, they are choices not an invariant.

But point taken.

1. Apple banning this app is absurd.

2. The claim that "white men don't like astrology because women and nonwhite people do" is even more absurd.

The second claim appears to have worked though (absurd as it is). They are back in the store after 9 rejections per the post edit this morning.

Is this what we have come to? Appeals to logic and fairness fail, but as soon as a party starts squawking about sexism and racism and gay exclusion it works?

This quote is so good from the interview with Rachel Lo, co-founder of Struck:

“I’ve always been a very science-focused person (I studied Mechanical Engineering & Materials Science), and used to be more opposed Eastern philosophies and traditions (which is a whole thing to unpack as an Asian kid growing up in a white community), but I started seeing the benefits to having a more readily available language to express empathy/emotions in the form of astrology.”

It very briefly describes why you shouldn’t be so dismissive of astrology. Even if it’s not a hard science, that doesn’t mean that it’s useless in other people’s lives. It helps them communicate real emotional needs and wants.

It might help them communicate real emotions, but it is also used to skirt responsibilities of ones actions and be dismissive of others based on a trait they have no control over.

However, the app should be free to exist.

And I’m not defending people who do that. But this also kind of proves the point of the article that we are quick to stereotype folks who do astrology, when it’s likely a very diverse thinking group. I know a few friends into it and for them it’s a bit real and a bit tongue in check. Ask your friends who are into astrology, I bet not all use it as a tool to dismiss actions or predestine things.

> But this also kind of proves the point of the article that we are quick to stereotype folks who do astrology, when it’s likely a very diverse thinking group.

I don't think most people stereotype people who do astrology.

Some seem to think they display a dramatic lack of intelligence however but I personally am fine with them being a diverse group of idiots.

Making excuses for one's own bad behaviours has nothing to do with the context, it has to do purely with the individual's integrity and holding oneself accountable or lack thereof.

From my point of view is that it provides people and escape from decision paralysis. They’re not going to generally do something they’re opposed to because the stars say so, but they’ll use some arbitrary bullshit criteria to chose between multiple equally good options. It’s no different from flipping a coin, but coin flipping is a fine way to make a decision sometimes.

It's possible this is why divination and oracles are common across cultures: https://aeon.co/essays/if-you-can-t-choose-wisely-choose-ran...

How does astrology help express emotional needs and wants? Is it something that only works for some people, whose emotions happen to match those predicted by astrology?

A way I could see it work is that you get a series of (randomly generated) statements about who you are. You then go through them, and either say "yes that's me" or "no that doesn't fit". This exercise helps you reflect on your identity.

Then you might communicate to someone else "I'm pretty <trait x> for a <sign a>". Then they know that you have <trait x> and <trait y> (because it is associated with your sign and you didn't reject it).

Another article blaming something on cis white men being sexist and racist. Men don't dislike astrology because women like it. Men dislike astrology because men like to solve problems and astrology just says "oh it's because of the moons alignment". When listening to someones problems, women will give emotional support while men will give practical support. Astrology is firmly in the emotional support realm and men don't understand it or why people would use it. So they think it's dumb.

Their app got rejected so they've decided to play identity politics to get the decision overturned.

NOTE: I've used stereotypes of men and women here. I realise there are outliers on both sides.

Hum there is nothing wrong with allowing that app. However there is something very wrong with believing in astrology in a serious way.

My theory is that astrology is the religion for agnostics.

Humans have an innate desire to understand how the world works. If you're not a religious person (for whatever reason) but you still want to feel connected to a higher power, you're likely to turn to astrology.

Like religion, astrology offers a community of people who want to share their feelings and connect deeper with one another. Also like religion, if you take it too seriously you're liable to lose touch with reality.

I think this is why astrology baffles atheists the most. Atheists and agnostics are similar in many ways since they both reject mainstream religions generally speaking, so atheists are left wondering why agnostics have rejected 99% of religions but replaced it with another pseudo-religion.

>baffles atheists the most

Agnostic chiming in. People who legitimately believe in astrology and aren't just doing it for fun are irrefutably wrong. That is not an appealing belief system to me. It is quite baffling.

I think I am aware of the stereotype you're referring to - that of the "agnostic" who "isn't religious, just spiritual" (something that is similarly baffling to me). Just wanted to let you know that not all of us fit that description and I think you'd be hard-pressed to pigeonhole any one of us into a loose stereotype.

It's 'harmless', until the same ways of thinking lead to believing homeopathy and rejecting modern medicine.

I don't understand why a rational person would describe an astrology app as their "dream dating app," but clearly it's reasonable to allow it in the App store.

Didn't you read the article? The reasons listed made good sense to me.

I've been around astrology my whole life, as my mother was very much into it. I've always viewed it as a fun & convenient way to explain something that has or needs no explanation. I'm not personally into it, but I am surrounded by those who are. I just view it as a religion at this point.

I think at minimum it allows people who match between sets of characteristics, and so if you happen to resonate or match with your astrological sign - and someone else does - and you've both read and know the stereotypical or associated traits, then to some degree you may better know what kind of person you're getting involved with; obviously there's a selection bias that people aren't "into" or match with their sign's defined traits won't believe in it, and so they'll filter themselves out of this filtering system.

What does Apple hope to accomplish with this overreach? 1. People who really do believe in astrology are not likely to stop doing so, if anything, being marginalized is likely to make them more extreme in their beliefs. 2. People who just want to have fun with yet another twist on a dating app are, you know, just having fun.

But I think this article is unfairly conflating astrology with LGBTQ or POC issues.

Easier app moderation. So incredibly many apps are made and most of them are just garbage, Apple has an interest in maintaining quality in the contents of its store so a blanket ban on categories of apps that are most commonly low effort and low quality with high chances of taking advantage of people... just makes moderation easier.

Apple doesn't owe you the opportunity to sell on their platform, they need to be careful to not abuse their moderation and to act in a way which is reasonable and fair, but they also have to think about their customers and keeping them around for high quality content.

> Rachel has a theory: “The rule quietly went into effect in March (after we had already been in development for almost 6 months), so they’re effectively squashing any competition co-star might face.”

I also saw a slide from WWDC recently that featured co-star's app icon. Why is co-star so special to Apple?

According to the founder of Co-Star's linkedin profile, they raised "$6 million of investment from the venture firms behind companies like Glossier, Allbirds, and Everlane".

On Co-Star's website they have positive press reviews from The New Yorker, The Verge, Cosmo, Vanity Fair, Gizmodo, New York Times, HuffPo, Drudge Report, Newsweek, Financial Times, Vogue, and more.

It's obvious that Co-Star app is being pumped as a VC darling and someone wants to eventually get their money back.

Apple is playing their part in the $$ ecosystem by gatekeeping competition.


This isn't written by a cis white male.

Let's not forget that fortune telling is a confidence scam that fleeces people of billions every year[1]. It is absolutely harmful.

[1]: In the US alone, the "Psychic Services" industry brings in more than $2bn/yr.

I love how most of the comments on here are already proving the author's point by just picking on the irrationality of astrology.

Just came here to say more of this stuff on hn please.

Wherever you stand on Astrology, it’s ridiculous that Apple is able to just nix this app.

Funny how this article is now considered spam on HN. While I wish this article was just the interview with the apps creator, I was actually genuinely interested in this story and think its a much more important instance of Apple's censorship.

Wow talk about using a straw man as a human shield. I can’t believe I’m saying it but I feel bad for the snowflakes these guys are hiding behind to get around the restrictions on junk apps.

Is this really an article about how it's sexist to be skeptical of astrology? At what point are nonsense conclusions evidence per se that that the underlying worldview is nonsense?

Honestly seems kinda racist and sexist of the author to imply that people of one or another race or sex are more susceptible to this weird loony nonsense; then David decries “white cis men” while... by all accounts being one.

I think it's sad that this article is being flagged. It is pretty divisive, but it was also a perspective I haven't heard before about who the Appstore hurts.

Yeah, I thought the article itself was legitimate (and an important piece of the larger conversation that's been happening recently about the App Store)...

...but the fact that most commenters instead seized on this whole "cis white men" thing to make divisive comments that don't contribute to any meaningful discussion... I can unfortunately understand why dang presumably kept it flagged.

There is a rising problem in a growing section of society which is characterizing any disagreement with topics popular with the social-justice-protected groups of people as abject bigotry. I am honestly concerned about the sort of developing proto-fascist mindset in the far and not-so-far left wing of politics.

I don't have a problem with Apple banning or heavily scrutinizing astrology or other "fortune-telling" type of apps because it seems like the sort of thing which is ripe for spam and abuse (and lots of low effort low quality submissions). That doesn't mean there shouldn't be exceptions, but I don't feel like any app store owes you placement. It is a problem that there aren't (really) independent app stores, but that is a different problem.

I've never believed in astrology, but then again I'm a virgo and as a rule virgo's don't believe in astrology.

Trying to read through this was a slog. Just endlessly saying people only hate astrology because they're white cis men and saying cis white men are hellbent on denying their brilliance.

People of all sorts also believe in healing crystals, homeopathy, and antivax theories. I'm pretty confident that most anti-astrology types are also against most of those 3 other things, and people who legitimately believe in astrology are more likely to believe in those.

This came across far less as an article wondering why Apple removed an app, and more of an article justifying prejudice against people with immutable characteristics.

Has the Co–Star app been ban then too?

So what I'm getting here is that some poor quality app was banned from the store. Science knows Apple needs to do this much, much more aggressively. But because the people who coded the app were differently sexually preferenced, it has become something of a gay rights issue too even though Tim Cook and several other top Apple people are gay and Apple has had, since its earliest days, a tolerant culture toward gays.

Look at that Instagram post linked in OP's blog entry. I just don't understand what's going on sometimes.



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