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I Don't Want Your Fucking App (idontwantyourfuckingapp.tumblr.com)
560 points by rustc on May 12, 2013 | hide | past | web | favorite | 256 comments

How about we drop the prudishness, and discuss the points raised by the article? Seriously, what's with all the language moralising? This guys is totally free to make his points colourfully and passionately however he wants to. If it upsets you so much (it really shouldn't) then don't read it. His word choices are not hate speech or discriminatory so the fact that they may offend your sensibilities has precisely zero relevance to anything.

(I'm the creator of the site)

I've noticed - and I may be wrong - that all the folk in the UK are unfazed by the swearing and have reacted quite positively either in person or on Twitter.

The Americans, by contrast, seem a lot more upset about the swearing. I wonder why that is?

Either way, I do wonder if some sections of the tech community are to... corporate in their approach to language. Look at the fuss when Linus went on a rant about Nvidia. That's how people speak in real life when they are angry or passionate. We shouldn't lose that simply because of a perceived lack of professionalism.

The swearing, in my tumblr's case, is designed to be repetitious to the point of banality. It is, if you like, an exercise in over-reaction.

The Americans, by contrast, seem a lot more upset about the swearing. I wonder why that is?

There's a prudish streak in the US that I really believe comes from the fact that the country was originally settled by people too religious and too concerned with overtly moral social interaction to be tolerated in 17th century England.

That may seem like too easy an explanation but I really do think there is some truth to it. Despite the excesses in American culture, that sort of casual swearing still gets backlash when it goes beyond people who are familiar with each other.

As an agnostic American, this is pretty much exactly it. There are lots of subtle social stigmas - like cursing - due to the widespread Christian influence.

Due to a specific strand of Christianity. In the Southern European countries, for example, we have the opposite: plenty of Christianity inspired swearing.

I've mentioned it here before, but Your Mother's Tongue: Book of European Invective is a great and extremely funny book on the subject.

The oldest city in the US was established by Roman Catholics - who spoke Spanish. The first English Speaking settlements were commercial.

But more to your argument, Roger Williams was a Puritan, but anything but a prude. He figured that going to Hell was punishment enough to justify practical acceptance of non-believers in this world.

Our National myths don't necessarily conform with the facts, amigo.

Roger Williams was also exiled from the other Puritans in Massachusetts (5 years after arriving in Boston). Not implying that was related to his colorful usage of the English Language, but marginalizing the influence he had on the Puritan culture of the New England region. Can't really say he represents all Puritans and is just one example of those that ended up settling in Rhode Island. He also became a Calvanist/Baptist following his exile to Rhode Island after disagreements with the Puritans in Massachusetts, so he was not exactly a Puritan for long after settling in the New World. I know I'm reaching with this statement, but I would say he probably had a slight contempt for what was considered "normal" or "acceptable" by others at the time as well so cursing would fit his personality.

At any rate, the English speaking country founded by convicts certainly swears quite a lot.

Indeed. I recently encountered the phrase "pardon my Australian" from one such inhabitant.

I think that in America today, it's less a religious thing and more of a social status thing. Saying "fuck" and "shit" a lot is a social signal that you are low-class and probably not college-educated. "Swearing is a sign of a poor vocabulary" is a phrase I heard a lot growing up.

That is how I always thought of it. Not being able to express one's self without copious amounts of explicit language thrown in just lessens any point the speaker was trying to make 99/100 times. We all have pet peeves that can turn us off of listening or reading a point of view, but for many, uncouth language for the lack of better adjectives/verbs/nouns is one of the most common.

Don't have a problem with cursing used in moderation when used appropriately, but like any ingredient in a recipe, too much is a bad thing.

Fuck you. I'll just leave this here:


George Carlin, inspired by Lenny Bruce

this video is actually just the exception that proves the point. Because this was so controversial, it was so popular.

I'm American, and I have no problem with cursing or politically incorrect speech in person with a group of friends, coworkers, or even loose acquaintances. I just don't like it on public-facing (or "customer-facing," although that doesn't apply in this case) media. For me, it's not a question of morality, offensiveness, or corrupting children, but rather of perceived professionalism and legitimacy.

the mark of a true HN user - everything is about money and status.

I don't think anyone said anything about money, and "status" is such a vague term that it can be used to describe any concerns.

I believe puritanical is the word you're looking for.

Oh, it's definitely true. When Brits riot, they throw "stones". Americans think the word reminds them of testicles and so throw "rocks" instead.

Which to Brits is ridiculous as to them "rocks" are rather larger bits of stone that are pretty hard to pick up, let alone throw.

I'm told. Not being a native speaker of either British or American English I wouldn't know if this is true or not, but I thought the story was amusing enough to share.

This is an amusing story, but it's not accurate. America just lacks the British size distinction between rocks and stones, and someone (likely a Brit) made up this explanation as a way to poke fun at Americans.

After all, when it's time for a proper riot no one really cares about the subtext of the name of the thing they're chucking. "Hey, share some of those stones with me, I bet I can smash that cop's windshield." "They're rocks, Jake - we're anarchists, not perverts."

Hm well "stones" and "balls" can mean "testicles" in context, but it's usually pretty clear when they should mean their literal definitions. If someone was "throwing stones" or "throwing balls" I doubt anyone would think they were throwing testicles.

Yah, well fuck you and your stupid piece of shit POV on why Americans have a folk up their ass.

The English aren't exactly swinging naked from the trees now are they? Every freaking day in France some man or woman is letting it ALL hang out, having a public chat with poor little children around no less, and nobody gives a shit!

Hah, hah, Anglophones are prudish in general, although we probably take the cake in the States.

You know what, why don't you go eat some tea and crumpets while daintily extending your pinky finger. I'm gonna go cuss out some Brits while I drink whiskey and smoke a Marlboro.

Drinking tea certainly sounds more appealing to me.

I suspect that this is the case too. They also get married younger and more often than the British, for the same reason.

While I have no idea about other places (unfortunately), as an American, I find my countrymen (oh crap, should that be countrypersons?!) are indeed eye-rollingly oversensitive about profanity and political correctness in general.

It ends up being a good measure of a social situation. As soon as I decide I'm around people that might be interesting, I will slowly decrease the child-friendliness of my language. The subtle reactions to the first use of "fuck" tells you a lot about how open-minded people are likely to be.

I can understand being careful in your use of language in corporate environments, simply because -- at least here -- offending the wrong people with colorful expression can easily compromise your employment or promotion opportunities. Granted, I'd say that's not a great environment to work in, but some people don't have quite the flexibility in what they can do or where they can do it in terms of taking or leaving job opportunities.

> as an American, I find my countrymen (oh crap, should that be countrypersons?!) are indeed eye-rollingly oversensitive about profanity and political correctness in general.

I know it sounds trite, but it's mostly about the children.

I couldn't care less about people dropping F bombs around me (although it does taint my opinion of them if it's done for no particular reason), but the less kids hear the word, the more they realize that it is not to be used lightly.

It's been fairly effective in the US, from what I can tell.

> It's been fairly effective in the US, from what I can tell.

Seems something of a straw man. It's not like we swear in front of our children over here in the UK :) I can count the number of times I heard my parents use profanity, before I turned 18, on one hand. And the lecture I got for using the word 'pissed' in front of my mother, aged 14, still rings with me!

However, during my travels in the US I found people very adverse to profanity even without any children in evidence. And it's not like I am particularly foul mouthed!

Of all the countries I've travelled in, the US is where I'd make a point of not swearing ever. Which is sad; just in general I often feel I have to self-censor lots of my personality/language in the US.

When I was a 12 year old skater punk every third word out of my mouth was an F bomb.

I hardly ever swear anymore. It's not so much that I perceive it to be rude, but that it seems to show up more often as a placeholder than anything else. To the point where any power in the word is completely gutted and it comes off as lack of confidence in communication skills. Similar to people saying 'like' or 'um' all the time.

Now how Linus/Zed Shaw use it, and as well how it's used in a site like this, all I have to say is, awesome.

You're on to something here. The reason why "fuck" is not used as much in the U.S. is most educated Americans think you should be able to express yourself well without profanity. And "fuck" is the most overused swearword of them all. IMHO, "shitty" would be a better word in this case.

It really takes a skilled person to give the tired-old swearwords some zip. The insane sorority letter that went viral a month ago was remarkable not only because of sheer quantity, but also the quality of the swearing (for example, the verb "cuntpunt.")

> I know it sounds trite, but it's mostly about the children.

> the less kids hear the word, the more they realize that it is not to be used lightly

I don't agree. The less lightly kids think swear words are to be taken, the more they will use them to prop up their own attempts to be taken seriously by their peers and the adults around them.

Once a kid hears someone who swears every other word, they realize that overusing swear words dilutes their impact until they become effectively meaningless. They come to the natural conclusion that, in order to maximize effect, swear words should be kept in reserve for truly exceptional circumstances.

These are somewhat circular arguments, of course :)

And really the "right" answer depends on the viewpoint of the observer (i.e. whether you approve of profanity or not).

> it's mostly about the children > it is not to be used lightly

See: "begging the question".

I don't think you really understand what "begging the question" means because these two excerpts are nowhere near doing that.

I don't understand what you mean. Would you mind expanding on that?


From http://begthequestion.info/ :

"Begging the question" is a form of logical fallacy in which a statement or claim is assumed to be true without evidence other than the statement or claim itself. When one begs the question, the initial assumption of a statement is treated as already proven without any logic to show why the statement is true in the first place.

laureny is claiming that it's "about the children", but the implicit assumption there is that there's something wrong with cursing in the first place. laureny assumes "it is not to be used lightly" and that children need to understand this - but that's exactly the item under discussion.

> there's something wrong with cursing in the first place.

There is when it's used in regular speech for no reason, like using "like" every other sentence instead of just pausing.

straw man.

I cannot speculate on the behaviour of Americans but as a Brit I can agree on your point that I am rather unfazed by swearing. In fact I worked in an environment in which my boss and MD both swore during general conversation and even more passionately during some interesting discussions. I was drawn to those people and that form of communication because it felt we were really free to say anything we wanted and that meant a lot less bullshit, we'd speak our minds and get straight to the point leading to more honest viewpoints coming across.

This has probably been posted before but Stephen Fry's opinion on swearing is pretty valid in my opinion.


Swearing is a really important part of one's life. It would be impossible to imagine going through life without swearing and without enjoying swearing... There used to be mad, silly, prissy people who used to say swearing was a sign of a poor vocabulary -such utter nonsense. The people I know who swear the most tend to have the widest vocabularies and the kind of person who says swearing is a sign of a poor vocabulary usually have a pretty poor vocabulary themselves... The sort of twee person who thinks swearing is in any way a sign of a lack of education or a lack of verbal interest or -is just a fucking lunatic... I haven't met anybody who's truly shocked at swearing, really, they're only shocked on behalf of other people. Well, you know, that's preposterous... or they say 'it's not necessary'. As if that should stop one doing it! It's not necessary to have coloured socks, it's not necessary for this cushion to be here, but is anyone going to write in and say 'I was shocked to see that cushion there, it really wasn't necessary'? No, things not being necessary is what makes life interesting -the little extras in life.

Stephen Fry on the joys of swearing. Stephen Fry: Guilty, BBC4, September 8th 2007


In my research during a (somewhat fruitless) comment transaction here on HN about pirates (actual salt sea-dog type pirates) I came across the following story which I think some of the people commenting here might find interesting... I'm in the process of writing this up as a sea shantie:

A pirate captain by the name of Bartholemew Roberts captured a British official by the name of Plunkett who had double crossed a company of pirates and shot them down under a banner of truce - few things could enrage a pirate more! Old Roberts was incensed and, upon finally capturing Plunkett, took to cursing him in the most foul and heinous of language - of which a pirate dialect was primarily composed. Seeing himself a dead man and with no other hope left to him, Plunkett stuck out his chest and being a proud and experienced Irishman, gave back a measure and then some more in such illbegotten slights of character on Old Roberts name that the crew hung limp and incapacitated with laughter. The whole exchange inspired such a regard for Plunkett's tongue that dispite his crimes against pirates, the whole company agreed to send him on his way no harm done.

If you do get around to writing this up as a sea shanty, please send it my way!

Also post it to Hacker News so the rest of us have a chance of seeing it. It sounds awesome.

There was a discussion about cultural differences regarding swearing here last month - https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=5594356

And yeah, we Brits really couldn't give much less of a fuck :)

There is a difference between corporate and mature. Your article sounds like a kid who just discovered swearing. It lowers the information density of your post and distracts from your message. Furthermore, it reduces your credibility and hurts your persuasive writing goal. Lastly, it makes you sound like a fucking idiot.

American here. His colorful use of language sounds exactly like the thoughts in my head when I can't access a mobile site.

Imo, GP is right. A couple of well placed F-Words in an article do make your feeling apparent. Dozen swear words per paragraph is distracting. Even in real life nobody swears that much! (May be sailors do. I have never met one personally).

I fucking do, if I'm fucking pissed the fuck off about some fucking thing or another.

Agreed! I HATE when I'm searching for something, find a link and when I click it I see these download our app pop-up's or dialogs and then they redirect to the home page and lose the context of what I was trying to see! How hard is it to forward the querystring!

Ditto from Boston MA.

What do you know, you're American.

As an American who isn't offended in the slightest by swearing, all of this Brit condescension is much more offensive. We get it. You like to think you're so much more sophisticated. Even a slack-jawed blog proves this.

You have to admit that in general Brits are much better than Americans at swearing though. The problem in this case is simply the stylistic choice to rely primarily on "fucking" instead of the usual variety of flowery vituperation.

I'm not sure any of us Brits think our ability to swear is "sophisticated".

It is possible the posting could have been made with humorous intent.

I'm also male, but I know better than to make sweeping generalizations about women, if I ever hope to work with one.

This is the internet. There are Americans here. In fact, most of the sites with these annoying mobile experiences are American companies. Let's assume for a moment that the generalization is accurate... Consider: Successful persuasive writing must be written with a particular audience in mind.

Why would you assume it's supposed to persuade you of anything? Seems more observational to me.

I'm sure there's another joke at the expense of Americans here, but I can't quite figure it out.

To me it reads more like someone who's been reading Maddox.

> " Americans, by contrast, seem a lot more upset about the swearing."

Consider the term "f-bomb". The reason the term exists is because it's evocative: a bomb produces a "sudden and violent release of energy", typically intended to destroy a target or to draw attention, often producing a sentiment of "shock and awe". The word "fuck" can intensify a destructive sentiment, or draw attention and produce shock. It carries some amount of emotional payload (possibly more in the US, but some wherever it's spoken); you would not be using the word otherwise.

The effect changes when you lob f-grenades indiscriminately. The underlying sentiment you're trying to draw attention to can get lost in the chaos -- being "repetitious to the point of banality" makes the mobile app criticism into an indistinct mass of lexical white noise (see the alt text on http://xkcd.com/1210/ ). I found your tumblr obnoxious, not so much due to lacking professionalism or corporate-ness, but because the commentary is flat, tiresome, and flavorless. You've gone way beyond spicing it up with f-pepper, and all the way to burying it under f-spam. With some nuance and cleverness, you could turn it into hilarious overreaction rather than banal overreaction.

See also https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=3212694

I've always thought of the term "f-bomb" as being the domain of mothers and housewives who are uncomfortable saying fuck.

Am I wrong? Is it more common in America?

Also to me it always seemed less descriptive and more an attempt to link the concept of bombs (which we can probably all agree are bad) with the word. Maybe it's a cultural thing.

The HN discussion linked from my previous post includes a fairly extended set of comments on this exact issue.

My read is that "f-bomb" (and other -bomb terms) can be merely a case of being uncomfortable with swearing, but it is also used by people of various demographics to describe the conversational effects. I hope my use of terms like "f-grenade", "f-pepper" (which came from the previous article), and "f-spam" are likewise evocative.

Fair enough. I've amended my impression. :)

In the same line as when people over-use the phrase "get shit done"; it just seems like a bunch of try-hard developers trying to appear super edgy. We get it, you're not a "corporate drone" and you can curse, but you're a developer, not a rockstar. Phone-apps aren't that serious.

Wait, rock stars are known for being serious now?

I didn't like the swearing, but for different reasons - it was just annoying/tiring to read "fucking" (or some variation) every fourth or fifth word. This is similar to some people finishing every sentence with "you know". Just a nitpick, that's all.

I agree with the content though.

>The Americans, by contrast, seem a lot more upset about the swearing. I wonder why that is?

Some cultures apply morals in their actual life choices, where other cultures apply them in their pretend politeness. Some of them seem to believe that being nice equates acting nice. But acting is deceit and manipulating, hence by definition not actually nice behavior.

But they do mean well, its just that they focus more on the symbolism of "good" behavior, than the reality of it. And thats generally the pattern: cultures that focus strongly on symbolism will also strongly apply morality symbolically. For example: americans worship their flag, but hate their government.

Right. The problem is that you used the American spelling of the f-word. My guess is that if you had spelled it with an English accent, everyone would have thought it charming, quaint, positively British, and blooody brilliant.

> that all the folk in the UK are unfazed by the swearing and have reacted quite positively either in person or on Twitter.

I'm English. I'm unfazed by it. But it's not a good example of lots of swearing. It's just lots of "fucks" and "fucking" scattered through the text. There doesn't appear to be much rhythm or flow to it.

It's not funny. It's not effective at conveying anger. It's just poor writing. That's fine, not everyone is a great writer, but don't try to defend shitty writing with some kind of "Anyone English gets it and it's only you uptight Yanks who don't like it".

You're no Malcom fucking Tucker.

There's also a "laziness" factor whereby dropping F bombs left and right starts to feel like a cop out vs thinking of some cleverer ways to articulate feigned outrage.

It's this reason, more than any other, that's brought me to clean up my language as I've gotten older. Calling someone a motherf* is easy. Being able to point out their promiscuity would make an 18th century French libertine blush, now that takes, if not skill, at least the effort of reading some 18th century French libertine literature.

Well as an American sick of the #doorslams, I say, Fuck Yeah Man, hopefully this makes a difference. Usually I don't even like a mobile site and have to spend a minute scrolling all the way to the bottom of the page (after clicking I am not interested in downloading the app) and click take me to regular site. Then I have to wait for the regular site to load. All around, companies are just skeeting their brand everywhere and dont know how to keep up. Everyone just seems to ride every band wagon possible in hope that one of them pays off rather than setting a path for themselves and creating an identity by sticking to that path. I mean seriously do companies need a flickr, facebook, twitter, instagram a mobile site, a mobile app, a regular site etc.? How about going for one, succeeding there and the building from there. Seems like these companies have no vision for the future in tech and are just throwing money on every bet thinking one will hit.

I agree and this is a world where we humans can entirely misinterpret a text message because someone forgot to put an 'Emoticon' at the end.

As a cauliflower faced, bucktoothed, tea swilling brit I didn't have any issue with it at all. My concern is the potential ramifications of a 'colourful' post. Given the job market and the general sensitivity in the work place it can cause real and genuine problems.

When I recruit I look for talented and colourful people (geeks of old?) but when the shoe is on the other foot I do try and be much more conservative then I otherwise would be.

It's a sad fact and one that has proven true more than once

[Ninja Edit] Pseudonyms are useful if you need a good rant. Take Inspector Gadget - even if he was outed by some spineless journo

In Denmark we have a drum n bass band called f.u.k.t. I was told that when touring in England, there was no chance in hell that even the most hardcore toaster would pronounce it "fucked".

My impression has always been that England is a very well-mannered country, even in the ghettos (of course they swear, but it just seems that a sense of etiquette permeates the country)

It's a American thing sadly. The difference in culture. Where I'm from every second word is pretty much a swear word.

I swear too much, it's something I'm not proud of. Not least for the example I've set. I really admire people who can respond to difficult situations in a dignified manner. I never heard my mother curse and now I wince every time my children use one. I even hypocritically scold them for doing so. I get that from my father who ironically never uses bad language around his grandchildren.

> The swearing, in my tumblr's case, is designed to be repetitious to the point of banality. It is, if you like, an exercise in over-reaction.

This is exactly how I interpreted it's meaning. So, another UK data point...

An American data point: I don't normally like to see profanity used, particularly in what is supposed to be persuasive writing, but in this case I agree with you... it was clearly and deliberately over the top and for some reason it works here.

I went to your blog but it doesn't have an app :(

> This guys is totally free to make his points colourfully and passionately however he wants to.

I agree. He's created a very good and useful showcase of a specific frustration that many of us would prefer to never implement or deal with. For an exercise in venting, this style makes a lot of sense.

> His word choices are not hate speech or discriminatory so the fact that they may offend your sensibilities has precisely zero relevance to anything.

The language chosen to express his feelings means that I can't reference this site to anyone I work with in the enterprise world. For giving people materials in fighting against implementing these things, it collects a lot of great examples of why this is frustrating. Unfortunately, sharing it with the people who make these kinds of decisions has "career-limiting move" written all over it.

Maybe it will be (is?) licensed in a way that allows for business-friendly adaptation.

That's interesting, I'd have no problem linking this to my boss or PM if they were trying to convince us to implement something that resembled a doorslam. I'd probably include some reference to the fact that the language is colorful in the email and suggest this is the kind of passion that the proposed doorslam will raise in our own customers.

I'm a brit living in the US so add that as a datapoint too!

It doesn't even register on my offensive scale... did we have this same hand-wringing over zed shaw's programming motherfucker website? I don't recall it if we did. http://programming-motherfucker.com/become.html

Not really no - quite a few people questioning the validity of it, or it's place on HN, but only one person against the swearing.


On the contrary, most people really motherfucking joined in.

> It doesn't even register on my offensive scale

Does it have to? In my experience, taking into consideration how the message receiver might be offended is more important. I'm not personally offended by the language of the tumblr, but I still wouldn't bring it into a business setting because of how others may feel.

> did we have this same hand-wringing over zed shaw's programming motherfucker website?

To me, the target audience of this site is far different. Some of the same rules apply, but Zed Shaw's site is unlikely to be the basis of an argument for or against any sort of business-level decision. With that being said, I probably wouldn't point an aspiring programmer (or anyone) toward Zed's site unless I knew they were very casual with profanity.

I do seem to remember a fair bit of hand-wringing over "heroku fucking console" though.

If I can find a way to add Creative Commons tags to each image, would that help?

If not, please take this as permission to copy those images and make your own non-sweary version.

That'd be great! If it's possible to throw something on the footer of the page, that would also be useful to people who don't happen to find it through HN.

Nice work in collecting all of these. They make for a great showcase.

I posted this comment about obscenities on another thread recently, but I think it is relevant to this thread as well.

According to Paul Fussell's Class: A Guide Through the American Status System, aversion to profanity is a middle class thing. The upper class[1] do not use euphemisms for profanity or obscenity. Fussell wrote that Jilly Cooper reported "I once overheard my son regaling his friends: 'Mummy says pardon is a much worse word than fuck.'"

I doubt that many members of the upper class (see Fussell's book for a definition of upper class, it is roughly the tastes of "old money" but not dependent upon actual wealth) read Hacker News. It is likely that those who do not object to obscenities such as the word "fuck" are more socially liberal freethinkers who dislike formality. Those who do object are likely to be members of the middle class who believe (foolishly) that in censoring profanities and vulgarities, they are emulating the upper class. The phenomenon of "professionalism" is also a product of the middle class — to the upper class, selling things for a living is distasteful and déclassé. "Professional" language is usually very timid and full of circumlocutions as the primary goal is to not say anything that anyone may find offensive.

[1] http://www.amazon.com/Class-Through-American-Status-System/d...

Hah. Cheers for this. I was going to comment about this book, but then I realised that I didn't remember what it was called, or when I'd read it, or any actual details, and didn't actually have enough content for a comment.

It's a good book, and I'd recommend it if you have an interest in this area.

i loved all of this except the [1] thingy - it smacks of the trying-too-hard pretention that causes all the bland US javascript salesmen to worship "professionalism" and conformity. maybe you could edit it out and just put a link instead?

I don't mind Americans being oversensitive to swearing. I can respect cultural differences, and IRL I will usually make an effort not to swear in front of Americans.

What pisses me off however is the judgmental bullshit excuses Americans use for their intolerance, like swearing being "unprofessional" or "childish". Utter nonsense.

Please stop pretending your oversensitivity to "bad words", which in my experience is unique on the planet, has some kind of logical reason, and stop lecturing people about it.

Especially on HN, a place one assumes is mostly visited by well-educated worldly people, such lecturing seems completely misplaced.

If you have an issue with swearing, keep it to yourself. Even grammar nazis are more constructive and useful.

My perception of any kind of language is a matter of pragmatism and presentation. I don't ascribe any particular ethical or moral value to the words themselves, or how I Say them. To me, it comes down to what your goal is, what the context is, and how it impacts other people.

As far as goals go, I'll use whatever language I think will get the point across that I'm trying to make. Sometimes it's nice that there are words that I can reserve as "I'm really crossing a social line here to demonstrate irritation."

That said, I generally avoid making people uncomfortable or offending them for no reason. For instance, I don't think there's anything inherently unethical about cussing around someone that thinks cussing is immoral, but I'll generally avoid it if there's not really some strategic use to the language. It saves them a little discomfort (however unjustified someone might think the discomfort is) and it can save me a little big of grief if they're really adamant about it.

I follow the same road with how grammatically correct I try to be, or how politically correct I try to be. It's ethically N/A to me, so it's more useful strategically. I do the same thing with clothing/fashion, pictures I post on social media, etc. There's no use for me to self-righteously defending myself if I do something I don't really care about when know will be poorly received. Could just be a lazy path-of-least-resistance thing, though.

I will say, that if it's within my design and goal (and this website seems squarely within the authors intent), I'm not going to lose any sleep over someone finding my website and being offended by my language. I might do my best to be considerate in public, or where it makes sense for me, but if we're hanging out somewhere semi-private or you're on my website and act pissy about the presentation or language, well, no one made you read it, and I'll just as happily ignore you.

Oh yeah. Also. I hate app requests. Make a slick mobile website and leave me alone pls tx.

It's simply low-class and adds nothing. Extra words from an author that cannot make a point without pointless, useless, extraneous, immaterial, unrelated, redundant extra words.

Wow, I think this is much more offensive than someone saying 'fuck'

Just because you choose not to do something does not mean that people who do that thing are lower than you.

showing too much class obsession is a red flag, probably. like saying the word "classy."

I'm pretty sure you're allowed to say "classy" if you're talking about fake moustaches and top-hats, a la reddit. That's firmly tongue-in-cheek though.

Also, replying to GP, I'm pretty sure swearing is less "low-class" and more "not middle-class".

The swearing is relevant and good.

Calls to download a fucking app when you're in the middle of doing something else, and when the app itself is entirely unnecessary and doesn't provide any more value, are incredibly annoying and lead to strong language.

If you were in a hurry and tried to heat up something in a microwave, and the device insisted you must absolutely set up the time first, you'd swear and probably kick the thing. So why not here?

The app strategists deserve this and much more.

The swearing is capable of being both non-funny or interesting and not offensive and or detrimental to the point of the article at the same time.

Of course the point of the article is probably more interesting so I agree with you on that point.

So much this.

When I come to your site it is very unlikely I'm looking for any sort of long term relationship. What I want is access to the information I'm looking for as quickly and painlessly as possible.

Secondly, your app probably wants various permissions on my system. No.

Third, why the hell would I want hundreds of apps grunking up my menus?

Fourth, you already have my whole screen, what more do you want?

So yeah, you make my experience of your site worse and probably even reduce your already small opportunity to advertise to me.

I agree with all points. What I'm wondering is, what percentage of mobile users are like me, you and almost everyone that commented here? Does the proverbial "average user" share the sentiment? My guess is no, or else the marketroids that push the app agenda would have gotten the message by now.

I don't think marketroids care about reality based things like data -- the good ones does, but not the kind that is employed by the daily mail.

The daily mail is actually better because they _explicitly_ wrote "you wont see this again for 7 days", which is insane, since if I didn't want it the first time I don't want it the second time.

As for quora, well they are run by people who wants to make the world a worse place to be, so no surprise there.

> As for quora, well they are run by people who wants to make the world a worse place to be, so no surprise there.

I actually quite like Quora. Any particular reason for the hate?

Forced registration to read it would be my guess. Nothing else against it really personally. Some people just don't like having to create an account to (passively) participate in a community. I read hacker news for well over a year before I decided to create an actual account for posting.

If I feel I reach a point I can contribute something useful to a community, that is when I create an account. However, I think forcing people to create an account either detours some or nudges others to participate more (whether they have anything useful to contribute or not).

Even then, creating an account to post to a community is an absurd idea in the first place, why do you need my email, name, dob, and social security number to post on a bloody internet forum and contribute content to your website?

There is your usual suspects: combat spam and the anonymous coward effect but even then there is many ways to combat these without invading my privacy / lessening my security online.

I think it mostly comes down to lazy analytics and shitty metrics. "we have xx registered users",90% of those are made up of shell accounts and inactive users but at least the numbers sound good.

This app thing is just the new incarnation of shitty metrics and the same old story of

developer: oo new tech, me want to makey makey.

boss: can you justify it, isn't our mobile site fine?

developer: waaaaaah

boss: ok ok, jesus, fuck. Just, we'll have to make sure users actually install it though, or we'll be out of the job.

They attempt to break the web by app-walling user supplied content.

Imagine having to register and install a special program for each website in the world -- the WWW was made to make it possible for everybody to read it.

The mobile market has been exploding. Even if you did a lot of stuff wrong it's almost impossible to not have had a growth curve. My feeling is that most content-driven apps would have been more successful as mobile sites, but that it's impossible to derive this from statistics due to the unstable pattern of the market as a whole.

It's actually much harder to monetize mobile web than to monetize in-app.

Until they look at bounce rate before viewing content vs. number of downloads of app. That should be a big indicator of whether this works or not.

Which is a weak signal at best when you define actions like "Cancel to continue" (http://idontwantyourfuckingapp.tumblr.com/post/50193815132/t...).

The conversion rate should still be fine for the apps who are asking for the installation.

There are a lot of web designs that the average user finds annoying, which is in the same category as this - 'I don't want a splash page, I don't want your artsy and convention-breaking layout, I don't want your app - I just want to find what I need without anything getting in my way.' It can be hard to find web pages that don't violate some useability principles that seem pretty obvious.

Maybe it's just cargo-cult programming.

Fixed elements on a web page are my biggest pet-peeve. Just eats away at the precious vertical space on my monitor.

Fifth - if I do give in an install the damn thing you're just going to want me to update it all the time anyway

and fifth, I do not want your app to litter into my notifications or eat RAM/battery on my (android) phone.

I am very surprised that so many people are not complaining about Mobile Safari's missing automatic word wrap feature. This is the number one reason why people want to use apps for anything (because their mobile browser is just broken). With word wrap like you get on Android's browsers most traditional desktop websites are totally sufficient on mobile devices, there's even no need for a mobile web version (HN is the best example).

Some could think that Apple is indirectly pushing an app ecosystem with its broken mobile browser experience and I am just seeing excited folks traveling to some worldwide dev conferences and building shitty apps for every and anything. For end users there isn't often any additional benefit and for developers building a native app is a nightmare -- software development like 20 years ago, long release cycles, different platforms and on top one gatekeeper deciding about your fate, wtf and no thanks. No surprise that most mobile first and only startups are struggling like living crap.

Web based apps are still the way to go for most use cases, just check the awesome mobile versions of Airbnb and LinkedIn, both based on Node, fast and ultra responsive. Building native apps belongs to the traditional publisher business model and are good for games and interaction heavy use cases (Facebook, communication, photo sharing, etc.).

EDIT: downvoting != disagreeing

Because word wrap and fluid layout are design decisions made by web developers and designers, NOT the web browser. Fluid layouts work just fine on iOS and wrap as expected. IMO the decision by Apple to scale a site's layout proportionally without breaking the intended layout is a valid one.

And with this decision you break 99% of the web on mobile devices.

It's a tiny thing to override this CSS property and makes mobile browsing of desktop sites so more convenient -- there's is no difference between Chrome on a mobile device and Chrome on desktops in terms of speed and usability of sites. In contrast, using the web browser on iOS is a real pain considering that Apple forbids to install any other rendering engine.

And if you don't like the text reflow just turn it off, it's optional on Android. Finally, it's a much better solution for visually impaired people since you can scale the fonts quickly as big as you want and the text just reflows. This even works on mobile sites since you can override zoom locks. There are so many benefits Apple just ignores with their "design decision" (mainly driven by commercial interests in favorite of the app store).

> And with this decision you break 99% of the web on mobile devices.

There's nothing broken about it. You can zoom in just fine; you just have to scroll back and forth, much like if you had a desktop browser opened to a tiny size.

What you describe is "broken" is actually conforming to HTML and CSS spec; Android is the one that's technically "broken". Internet Explorer had a knack for creating "features" that broke spec, too, and look how that turned out.

> Finally, it's a much better solution for visually impaired people since you can scale the fonts quickly as big as you want and the text just reflows.

Again, accessibility has always been the responsibility of the the web designer and developer. Do you also expect web browsers to analyze images and generate missing alt text? (That would actually be pretty cool, but again, there shouldn't be an expectation for it).

I understand why Android has chosen to include those features, but by doing that, they're potentially breaking the UX that the web designers expect the user to have.

It really has nothing to do with commercial interests and everything to do with separating the responsibilities of the web browser and the web developer.

EDIT: I'm not saying that Android is wrong for including that functionality, but to say that people should be up-in-arms at Apple for not including spec-breaking functionality is a bit ridiculous.

Scrolling back and forth to read each line sounds pretty broken to me. On the desktop, if I had something open in a small window I'd probably pull out Firebug and "fix" the css.

Personally I'm a believer in the original scheme where the site provided the content and it's largely up to the user agent to decide how to present it. This whole "Every rendering engine should create the exact same rendering of the page down to the pixel" is super useful for web apps and stuff, but most of the time I just want to read stuff. Honestly, I'm surprised there's no web browser that just runs the Readable scriptlet on any page that looks like an article by default.

I think it's a bad decision. In order to read the text, I need to zoom in. But I can only zoom in on a part of the page, so I need to scroll sideways back and forth to read the beginning and end of lines in the same paragraph.

It's a bad decision. I should be able to size and flow the page to fit my display, wrapping it appropriately.

Yes, the designer should a layout that does this for mobile devices anyway. But the phone should also make it possible to sensibly read sites that don't.

Setting a static div width should not be undefined behavior for developers. It creates a situation where, if a mobile browser breaks the layout of a site in order to wrap text, the developer then has to go back and create a workaround for a single browser.

People are also not complaining about Apples implementation of Retina, whereas they just double pixels, instead of properly interpolating. They then go around and complain your website looks crap on Retina.

I read dozens of sites on mobile Safari that have wrapped text. There must be a solution. Example


That's not wrapped text, it's a mobile layout. Also if the layout is fluid it's wrapped quite nicely by mobile Safari.

What I assume Android browsers have is something like Opera mobile, which force-wraps all text no matter how the site is coded.

I am with you, and I don't mind the harshness of the title. It explains exactly how I feel. This "download our app" trend has abolutely been ruining my browsing experience on my phone and tablets. I've used other browsers that allow user agent hacks, but there are just too many other factors that we developers can use to determine the hardware the user is using. Perhaps we need a way to create a new blacklist of annoying sites and a way to notify the user of it so they can just avoid it.

The other annoying sites are the type that use that horrible 'mobile experience' JavaScript/CSS hack that is just awful, I don't know what it's called because I haven't looked for it but as soon as you hit the page it redirects a loads some giant framework to mock a native app. The browsers we have on the devices are just fine for sites, they were built that way! Leave it alone!


Yeah that is another company that has decided to make world a worse place. What I can't understand in how they got so many content owners to ruin their websites by using their crap.

Indeed, I hate, hate onswipe "enhanced" sites. Bad enough you have to wait for the redirect and then all the assets to load (they are always slow) but then there are even more annoyances. There is no way to retain a preference for the regular site (at least not without allowing 3rd party cookies) and then they spawn a new window when you choose to view the desktop site! I've stopped visiting sites that use onswipe. The pain is just not worth the content.

From: http://www.onswipe.com/demo

"This site is a dish best served on an iPad"

"The content you’re trying to view has been optimized for viewing on the iPad, unfortunately there’s no desktop alternative available right now."

#doorslam on Android or Win8 tablet

I see two primary problems with this. First is the #doorslam, as the article mentions, which is really just bad user interface. Plus who wants to get an app for a one-off reading of some article on some site? But I also see companies release an app that appears to have some useful features - it looks better on the mobile device, it has better navigation on a mobile device, etc. Why they chose to do it as an app vs. in-browser is another question but whatever, apps are hot so companies think they need/want one, and in my experience people are often happy to have them.

But it turns out that websites are really freaking easy to update, and apps are not. And now you have two completely disparate codebases to maintain. So once something rolls out on the web property, the shiny new app is not so shiny and new, and may be missing critical features. Some companies do this well, Facebook for example finally has an app that more usable than the mobile site IMO. But Facebook has serious resources to dedicate to this type of thing, and it took years for them to get to the point they are at now, their app was barely usable for a long time.

Case in point: I've been using Piazza for a number of classes over the last few years. They have an iOS app, and a lot of people in my classes have expressed that they are glad of this and use it exclusively. But it hasn't been updated for the iPhone 5 so the app display is cropped. Worse yet, there is now a course documents section that some teachers use almost exclusively, that you simply can't get to on the app. And the web page itself does not work terribly well on mobile Safari. So I hardly ever use it on my phone, and my overall impression of Piazza has seriously declined because I've spent so much time cursing the (lack of) usability on my phone. Plus you get the #doorslam every time you try to go to the web site on an iOS device.

The crux of the site is that the mobile web experience is getting worse, not better. I agree with that. With today's smartphones, one of the easiest and user-friendly things many sites can do is just direct users to their full web page. A properly done mobile-optimized website can improve on that experience but often "optimization" means a banner at the top that tells you the name of the site in 15% of the small screen and a banner ad at the bottom of the site that takes up 30% of the small screen.

These calls to install apps are just as annoying. Several years ago I remember going to LinkedIn.com on my iPhone, it prompted me to install their app, I installed it. I must've agreed to something I didn't intend to because suddenly my contacts list was filled up with all 350 connections I had on LinkedIn, rendering my phone contact list all but useless.

This one, along with other blog hosts, bug me the most. I'm toying around with various blogging sites, looking to get back into the practice seriously and when I go to see how a theme looks on mobile and get the "INSTALL OUR APP!!!" pop-up, it's a great reminder that it's not MY blog.

Out of his control I think.

Yes and no. He could use a blogging platform that doesn't do what he's complaining about ;-)

Something he already mentioned on his tumblr site.

I have at least one anecdotal perspective on app proliferation.

Currently, I'm struggling with higher-ups who have decided that we must have apps.

They don't know what these apps will do or who will use them, simply that we have to start pushing out apps because, well - others have apps. Therefore, we must have apps too.

They don't seem to care that the apps they envy have dismal reviews and download stats, that we lack a mobile website entirely or recognize that spending a few hundred thousand on an "enterprise" framework does not equate to instant apps.

This is exactly how I imagine most big companies operate, and why I am not afraid of any of them.

Anyway to you: update the CSS to work with a mobile site, wrap the thing in javascript that fetches the HTML of the target of the webserver and put it in a full iframe. Wrap that in PhoneGap and be a hero.

And that's why this infection is a meme. It's management-fad-of-the-week driven.

I really loathe these app popups, unless you are doing some serious processing like a for a game there is almost no reason for an app. It breaks the power of a browser to have multiple documents and it breaks urls and linking to content. And, as they point out, it also is highly redundant when a mobile site has already been built. That's to say nothing of further redundancy in having more than one app: one for iOS, one for Android and maybe one for Windows mobile. That's potentially four different expensive mobile development processes for an entirely inferior experience and causing significant annoyance.

There is a damn good reason for all these apps - tracking and monetizing datapoints. The app itself does not necessarily have to provide any value to the datapoint.

Egocentrism inclines me to think that apps were written for me. Reason leads me to believe they were not.

Apps will give you a few more obscure datapoints that web analytics won't but I'll bet that very few companies actually use them. I doubt many even study bounce rates when they present you with these app download modals.

By "obscure datapoints" are you referring to my contact list and geolocation?

Apps can gain access to all sorts of information inaccessible to the browser.

I was thinking more device orientation/velocity/camera etc Geo is available on web, and SSO via fb etc allow virality through contact lists in much the same way as an app (I think). I guess the biggest reason why a business should get you to install an app is push messaging (though I guess that could be approximated with email).

An app with access to your camera can shoot fucking video or pictures and run them through analysis. For example, an internet radio station can adjust its playlist based on who it sees. Well, that and its ads.

What internet radio station is "access[ing] your camera[,] shoot[ing] fucking video or pictures and run[ing] them through analysis" to "adjust its playlist" and ads "based on who it sees"? For that matter, what app is doing anything remotely close to this?

Of course there are things you can do with apps that you can't do with sites (though I guess HTML5 is looking to challenge this) - but the OP is talking about sites pushing app versions of themselves through modal blockers to the content she/he is trying to reach, not separate apps which couldn't be remotely realised as sites.

Not without getting additional permissions, they can't. And If the daily mail wants to access my contacts, they can go to hell.

Most mobile browsers on the platforms getting these popups expose a geolocation API.

The apps themselves are usually not "inferior experience". They can be snappier and better offline performance. That's not to say I disagree with all of the other things you said.

My experience is counter to this - most apps created from websites are inferior experiences.

Most common reoccurring problem I find is that all links off-site, are displayed in a webframe. Which doesn't give me access to the normal things that Safari does - I can't email the page, add it to my reading list, or bookmark it, so inevitably I always open it in safari. I'd've rather stayed there in the first place...

But this is not the only sin, just the one that leaps to mind.

The vast majority of these apps are brochureware that wouldn't function properly without an internet connection.

It takes a certain special skill to use high-frequency profanity and make it funny. I doubt I possess it, and now I know that these guys definitely do not.

The fucking point is that it's fucking annoying when dealing with repetitious annoyances. I wrote it because I'm fucking annoyed and if, perchance, I've annoyed you - then my fucking work is done.

You ossified wank rag.


[Obligatory smiley face so you don't think I actually hate you. I do, obviously, but the emoticon might sooth your fucking soul.]

Point taken - and I agree with your frustration, etc. All satirists and devoted ranters must remember the chief hazard of their occupation, however, which is becoming that which they parody, or rail against.

I'm not sure what you were trying to accomplish, but you simply left me confused.

Then my work here is done.


The profanity is expressing the author's frustration and driving home the ubiquity of app pushing. It's not supposed to be funny. The repetition is made more striking by the formulaic use of "fucking" and its dispersion. "I fucking don't fucking want your fucking app," would be gratuitous, but wouldn't work as well.

What makes the article weaker is that the author goes off topic and criticizes the institutions over unrelated matters - "Daily Fail" wallows in lameness.

The Daily Fail I found one of the best :) They probably found out that the web is a European Socialist invention. got a laugh from me.

Thank you for explaining the jokes to us.

You're one of the luck few of us that actually understand the joke. There is a very large portion of people in this thread that do not understand the swearing and are simply 'offended' by fuck all and are throwing their toys out of the pram because of a few fucking words.

Simply put, in this instance it is acceptable to explain the joke because a large percentage of people are pathetic fuckwads.

You don't need to be an native english speaker to understand what the site is about - it is mostly pictures. We don't need some 'pompous twat' (as we say in the UK) explaining blindly obvious stuff in pretentious language.

And defending the Daily Mail newspaper to top it all (they are a poisonous bunch of scumbags in case any non-UK people don't know it).

I think the idea was to start a conversation. A conversation about why so many companies are thrusting these stupid apps on you. The idea was most certainly not to start a conversation about swearing, which is what 90% of the comments seem to be about.

> Rightmove? Wrong move you fucking muppets!

That one got a chuckle out of me.

Reminds me of this Onion piece on the new Sony fucking piece of shit:


hahaha this video made my day. it's incredible funny. I can't wait for the next smartphone with a 96 cores APU haha.

Steve Martin has that skill: Planes, Trains and Automobiles, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nWRxPDhd3d0

Can't you tell the difference between attempted humor and frothing-at-the-mouth frustration? I for one FUCKING agree with this guy.

"Can't you tell the difference"

Apparently not.

Just read it in the voice of Hugh Grant.

I find it funny that Tumblr immediately asked if I wanted to open the page in Tumblr for iPhone

FYI to developers:

Apple tried to fix the obtrusiveness of these popups with "smart app banners" in iOS 6: http://www.macgasm.net/2012/09/19/ios-6-smart-app-banners/

Please use them!

There's an upside to using them too: You can send tracking data back to your app through the Apple App Store 'black box' allowing you to track where your users come from. Use the 'app-argument' meta tag variable and put your tracking info within the URL.

While that's neat, I feel like the kind of developer who makes a fullscreen pop-up ad for their app every time you visit the site simply doesn't care enough to do this thing.

Unrelatedly, I feel like I saw a presentation about security flaws with these a little while back? (Not a danger to people using them on their site, but rather they could be used to sniff various information about the user's device)

Argh - that site uses onswipe! :-(

This gives me an idea. Wouldn't it be cool if had some sort of run-time environment/virtual machine that everyone could target for their applications, where it used some sort of markup for forms and layout and a built in language for automation. It could post back to your server to send and receive data. Everyone could use that instead of their own native app that has to be downloaded.

I'm sure there would be some challenges to this, but I imagine it could be done.

Nobody but physicists would ever use anything like that.

Quora. (n). Definition: A site I used to visit.

I've chosen to extend[1] that definition to:

Quora. (n). A site that used to appear in my search results.

[1]: https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/personal-blocklist...

Nice! My first entry will be w3schools

2. (adj) Equally bad on a real computer. “It's not just the fucking app, that site's quora.”

I like the content on there, I really do. But why the hell do you have to sign up just to read it?

I agree. I can't imagine it is working out for them.

I feel the same way about onswipe. At a time where mobile devices have ultra-high screen resolutions and very fancy zooming features, I find the use (shoving into our eyes) of onswipe by many websites to be disruptive and annoying. I usually don't bother the moment I see the spinning wheel. Swipe right to left, paginated content, larger fonts (less content), hard to scan content... it breaks the whole internet experience. I know how to browse, I know how to read web pages, thank you, please give me my web page or gtfo. .

.. Maybe wrong thread?

I agree. In most cases, mobile apps are just fancy website bookmarks with a few more advanced abilities (native code, more hardware access, permanent local storage)... Except you have to download the app, organize it within all your other apps, download updates, delete it when you no longer use it, make sure its settings are in order, etc.

Imagine you had to download an app on your desktop computer before you were able to visit any website for the first time. How crazy are these people? Why do so few companies put user experience first.

Except that they also break bookmarks, deep linking, and the ability to share content other than how the app itself dictates.

Most "shares" are _still_ links copied in emails if I'm remembering apocrypha correctly.

A properly written android app avoids most of these issues, most notably deep linking.

A website guarantees the features noted.

Few apps are properly written, and all require me to look extensively at permissions.

Worst thing is when they detect my browser as mobile and show links to apps, but don't actually have app for my platform.

I don't want your fucking "mobile-friendly" site either, doubly so if it can't fucking handle the redirect process to a specific piece of content, or keeps fucking reverting.

And as usual, any HN post that contains profanity is immediately overrun by 'offended' fuckheads that simply don't understand the joke and are offended by fuck all.

Stephen Fry says it best: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s_osQvkeNRM

Hmm....perhaps there should be a "I don't want your fucking app" setting on Android and iPhone. This would make sure that an X-App-Fuck-Off header is sent with every browser request, informing the site not to prompt you about its fucking apps. That way everyone would have a choice.

Many HN readers are guilty of contributing to this problem. Instead of complaining about the site having a naughty word in the name, you should be quiet and rethink what you've done.

Site prompted me to install an app: http://t.co/CfOxUiLobq

That’s humorous, but it’s not a modal message, so it doesn’t actually get in the way.

Yeah, it just made me chuckle :)

Reading through the comments I am glad I am not the only one who finds over the top profanity upsetting. Yes , the author is free to make his/her point any way they want to. and No, not everyone who thinks that this profanity is undue is a prude. and I dont think it is fair to make a culture or age characterization based on a user's response. Extreme or sometimes, any profanity changes the tone of the article. that alone is a good reason to avoid over the top proclamations. IMO the author comes across as loud and noisy , and not strong and forceful. Just like a stand up comedian, who says 'fuck' for every joke.

As to the point in discussion: yes, it can be extremely annoying at times when companies prompt you to download their app. they have good reasons to do it too.

a) you spend good money to build an app, you want to drive users to the app instead of the site

b) many times , the app can be more functional than the site

c) one of the harder things for companies to do , is to retain user engagement. ex, if you have a firm that delivers stock quotes for users, you want to modify the users behavior to use your firm instead of a yahoo finance, or google. by making the user commit to download your app , in a way you get the users commitment to use your service.

d) you get a piece of users mental space , when you get their phone's screen space.

I personally think, having a small, disappearing toolbar to remind the user an app is available is the best way to go. Since every business with a website, also trying to get a mobile presence, a dual strategy of mobile web and app, seems to be the norm.

p.s I usually upvote the stories that I find interesting enough to comment. I choose not to do it this time.


I think it's interesting that you find the author's use of profanity to be strong and forceful. I found it to be comical and colorful, and extremely relatable.

They (companies) may have reasons, but their motivations are not parallel with my own.

a) It's very nice that you spent a lot of money on your app, but please don't pester me at every pageload to use said app. I'll choose my own medium, thank you kindly.

b) I understand that the app can be more functional than the site. This is often why I intentionally use the site instead of the app, to prevent sites like Facebook and LinkedIn from messing with my address book, as they have both demonstrated they will do at their convenience. This is unacceptable to me.

c) I completely understand retaining user engagement, but my point is that by pushing and shoving me towards your app when I have already assessed both and chose the website will simply drive me away from both. Good job.

d) This is why I don't want your app on my phone. Your app isn't important enough to me to deserve said mental space, and until I decide that it is, you don't deserve it.

I agree with you that a small toolbar would be sufficient, and I'm disappointed that more sites don't do this, but I would add that I think it's important to have an option tucked away in the user preferences so that I can disable said toolbar if I choose to use the website.

I'm up-voting your comment not because I think you're correct, but because you have interesting arguments which could foster good discussion. And I would do so regardless of your use of profanity.

I would argue that most of these aren't "good" reasons.

a) "Throwing good money after bad", see also "Sunk Cost Fallacy"

b) If the functionality the user wants is "Read the fucking article in piece without having to deal with app stores and downloads and installing and finding my article again once I've got the app installed", then the only reason your site is not functional is 'cause you're pushing the app.

c) This one is probably an acceptable reason if you don't care about the people who are driven away from your site by the stupid pop-ups, and only about the small percentage who download your app and actually start using it instead of better sites that just give you the information you need. It may make business sense, but it's still sketchy.

d) Point D is actually the biggest issue for me: I have a limited quantity mental space, and I don't want sites I don't give a fuck about to take it up. No-one but you cares about your "brand". Be good at answering my questions and I'll prefer your results in my searches. Nag me to install an app, and I'll avoid you.

>Reading through the comments I am glad I am not the only one who finds over the top profanity upsetting

It upsets you? Do we need to call a doctor? Millions of people are dying from war, but this upsets you? Some people hate others for the color of their skin, but this upsets you?

You do realize that morality only has value in reality, not in symbolism? That words are just characters that express either ideas or emotions? That to be upset about symbolism, means you dont understand the difference between being nice and acting nice? The differce between having empathy (for example by allowing somebody to express themselves) and being a sociopath?

I hope this concept upsets you.

Considering you're brushing off everything he said and trotting out tired justifications nobody asked for maybe you're just using any excuse - the profanity will do - to justify ignoring him.

Besides, those good reasons aren't.

a) You spent good money, but did you make it a good experience for the user?

b) But usually the app is trash compared to a web browser, and offers a far worse experience.

c) Retaining user engagement is hard when you pop up unrelated nag screens instead of making the user's task easier on your site than your competitors'.

d) I want a website, you want to implant a brain worm.

This is exactly why I would agree with the poster. Tons of entitled nonsense justifying making your users' experience worse - for them.

What sites are you affiliated with?

Wow, the hostility!

"trotting out tired justifications nobody asked for maybe you're just using any excuse"

I never asked you to respond to my comment, but you still did! I am part of the discussion , the same way you are. and to take a step back and think why things are the way they are, IMO is very good thing. billions of app downloads happen for a reason. I was not justifying the the practice. in fact i did say "I personally think, having a small, disappearing toolbar to remind the user an app is available is the best way to go"

there are enough apps to draw an example for every case discussed (good mobile app, bad thick client vice versa..)

a) linked in does b)fb, the app is way better than the mobile website c) I agreed with this. "yes, it can be extremely annoying at times when companies prompt you to download their app" d) this is jsut hyperbole and i have nothing to say to this.

I agreed with the poster too. I had trouble with his tone like many others. with app downloads not slowing down, it is important to understand why things are the way they are. this might also help to predict the winning strategy.

and it is not just big firms that prefer an app over a website. piggy backing on my previous example, a search for stocks brings up an entirely different list of services in the apple App Store than google. the mechanisms in play are different when it comes to mobile apps. As a coder, i prefer rich mobile websites to app's whenever possible. But, I am unsure about the trend ( as it seems many business are..) and that is a discussion I look forward to have.

Google Fucking Plus. The only social network more fucking useless than MySpace

Well, he does make a good point here.

   Thanks to James Fucking Whatley for the tip.
That guys got a great middle name.

He probably abbreviates it most of the time, like John F. Kennedy.

It's true, I do.

Since you're over-fond of profanity I'll say this in a language you understand:

Relax. For fuck's sake.

Since you seem to be overly fond of coming across as highly sophisticated, I will have you know that you said it in language the OP understands, not in a language, good sir. Furthermore, I disagree with you in substance, and although I don't feel motivated at this point in time to write an essay on the matter, I do sincerely hope this quote from the movie "Network" might suffice:

We know the air is unfit to breathe and our food is unfit to eat, and we sit watching our TV's while some local newscaster tells us that today we had fifteen homicides and sixty-three violent crimes, as if that's the way it's supposed to be. We know things are bad - worse than bad. They're crazy. It's like everything everywhere is going crazy, so we don't go out anymore. We sit in the house, and slowly the world we are living in is getting smaller, and all we say is, 'Please, at least leave us alone in our living rooms. Let me have my toaster and my TV and my steel-belted radials and I won't say anything. Just leave us alone.' Well, I'm not gonna leave you alone. I want you to get mad! I don't want you to protest. I don't want you to riot - I don't want you to write to your congressman because I wouldn't know what to tell you to write. I don't know what to do about the depression and the inflation and the Russians and the crime in the street. All I know is that first you've got to get mad. You've got to say, 'I'm a HUMAN BEING, God damn it! My life has VALUE!' So I want you to get up now. I want all of you to get up out of your chairs. I want you to get up right now and go to the window. Open it, and stick your head out, and yell, 'I'M AS MAD AS HELL, AND I'M NOT GOING TO TAKE THIS ANYMORE!' I want you to get up right now, sit up, go to your windows, open them and stick your head out and yell - 'I'm as mad as hell and I'm not going to take this anymore!' Things have got to change. But first, you've gotta get mad!... You've got to say, 'I'm as mad as hell, and I'm not going to take this anymore!' Then we'll figure out what to do about the depression and the inflation and the oil crisis. But first get up out of your chairs, open the window, stick your head out, and yell, and say it: "I'M AS MAD AS HELL, AND I'M NOT GOING TO TAKE THIS ANYMORE!"

One of the best speeches ever written, Chayefsky deserved the Oscar he won for that alone.

"Let me have my [..] steel-belted radials and I won't say anything"


I'm mad as hell, and I'm not going to take it any more!

Dead right. It's people with pitchforks outside the Bastille. It's starving people rioting to reclaim common land taken as 'enclosures' by the rich people.

I somehow think that saying something like "Relax. For fuck's sake." isn't going to help.

Spot on.

"It's starving people rioting to reclaim common land taken as 'enclosures' by the rich people." == Complaining about having to click a cancel button on a mobile browser.

You've completely missed the point. At the moment we have a free web and we can use a variety of browsers to access it.

If instead we can only access the web via apps and those app are controlled by the likes of Apple or Google, then we don't have a free web anymore. Maybe today the apps are free (as in beer), but maybe tomorrow they won't be. We would no longer be in charge and the web would have been appropriated by business interests.

Huh? The original post wasn't about bringing a walled garden approach to the web; it was about modals encouraging visitors to download an app.

I don't think you need to worry about only accessing the web via apps - it just won't happen.

FWIW, I abhor the popups in question but I can understand a company's decision to add them to their site. However, the way to stop this pattern is by showing decision makers statistics that prove they don't work (if that is true of course). The blog in question just seems like one big hissy fit - not the most convincing of arguments.

"I don't think you need to worry about only accessing the web via apps - it just won't happen."

That's all right then.

That Tumblr would be so much better without the useless and unfunny commentary.

The worst case of this I've seen recently as an offer of free wifi at an airport after you.. <wait for it>.. download their app which gives you push notifications about hotels.

From my experience they are unable to track the install of the app, so they give you access to the WiFi as soon as you navigate to the app store page.

Yes, I noticed that too. They used some strange wording about when you were supposed to be able to access wifi that led me to believe that they were bluffing.

I agree that is annoying, but access to their wifi network is not an inalienable right, nor is it free for them to maintain. I don't see the problem with them trying to make money off of it via an app + ads... plus you always have the option of not using it?

They definitely have a right to do it, but there are less offensive ways of making money.

Wow that resonated with me. So tired of the push to install apps.

Last night I watched for the first time "The Gilmore Gang" podcast and was surprised to hear all but one pundit talk about the future being apps + Internet, and not the web. I don't want to see that. There is so much content, including interactive web apps, that fit well with HTML5.

What is worse (if you can believe that is possible) are mobile apps (yes I downloaded your fucking app) that then nag you to download their iPad app while I'm on the fucking iPhone

See http://imgur.com/yRLTOsd and Go Pens :)

I fully agree with the basic point. Forcing these "download our app" doorslams is annoying and mostly pointless. I would never download an app for most of the sites I use, preferring the linkable, cross-platform web experience instead.

This is particularly annoying for me because I actually use an Android tablet as my "programming workstation", and so I get these popups on both my desktop service and when mobile.

Of course the irony us that tumblr where this site is hosted has such a pop-up as well... http://imgur.com/uPMetSR

Google anything about Accor hotels, say what the benefits of Platinum are. You'll find you can't even access the content from mobile because the page is "not ready." Been like that for a year.

Well seems like the discussion has moved away from the central thought of the post; let me try and add some of my life into the thread.

Here is how I live today:

Web is good for me. Porn is good for me. Anonymity is good for me. Given that I have an iPad, Galaxy Note 2 and a Chinese tablet with Android on it, the total installed 'app count' of my toys is zero. Zilch.

I have said it a numerous times before, and I'd proudly say it again ... I hate all the native apps on the planet. Keep all that great, smooth and butter-y experience up your garden's ass.

how do you get around without native skype and gmaps?

Maybe it's a "feature" of the tumblr skin, but it took me a few minutes to realize the small and almost invisible arrow to the right at the bottom leads to another page.

Make it bigger, if you can.

Have done so. Thanks.

Wha? But we spent all this money on our glorified webview wrapper!

Lots of people follow the newest trend. The same thing happened with the web in the early days. Everybody (person, company, entity) wanted a website. They didn't know why, who would use it and what for, but they said all their clients/customers/friends were asking for it. The same thing is happening now with mobile.

As time progresses, people will get a better understanding of who uses mobile, when and for what and will adapt development of mobile apps accordingly.

I hate to me to, but me too.

I've found and am using Readability increasingly (both desktop and mobile) to get around just this and many, many, many more failures of both mobile and desktop Web experience.


I feel this way about random advertisements I see on sites (mainly intrusive ones- well don't we all) . especially on the Forbes website. forbes can have interesting information (mixed with too much opinion maybe) but the writing is good...shitty site though because of ads and millions of click throughs to read an article .

As someone actively looking for a new job, I am getting severely frustrated by the number of corporate Web sites that now have an 'apply online' function that requires me to deconstruct my carefully-crafted CV into pieces that fit the un-formattable boxes on the web form. It took me over an hour to complete an application today. I suppose it gauges the candidates' genuine interest in the job though.

On a side note - darn fine IT Manager looking for a new home on the UK South coast - I'll email a CV - just don't point me towards a web form!

ZOMG! Nice blog entry! Lots of steam released. :D

And now the question: why do people build apps and shove it down other people's throat? Most of what they do can be done via a ("mobile") web site. Hell! Most of them are useless without internet connectivity anyway!

So why not make a great web site and just let people bookmark it?!

Cause menagement is stupid (as always) and wants an app because all the other children^h^h^h^h^h^h^h^h/companies have one.

Ironically, this site suggests downloading their app when viewing it from an iPhone. :)

Apps like that are really idiotic as concept. Why the fuck do we have mobile view ffs? Can't you do your mobile version of the site looking the same as your idiotic app ? Why do I need to have 77 entrances to the same thing?

Apps are the flash widgets of this era.

Thank you Mr Jobs for making the internet proprietary again.

Think of four-letter words as exclamation marks: you can use them on occasion when you want to drive a point home, but they appear less punchy! and less funny! with every! successive! use!!!

Not! Fucking! Always!

Oh, hell yeah! I want a mobile-enabled web site on my iPad, not another useless app-wrapper proxy for a web site. Shouldn't the fact that I remember the URL be enough??

Everyone should try to have a good user experience, but it is not always the best business decision to dogmatically follow some usability guidelines.

They exist because they work - i can imagine lots of novice users clicking OK perhaps because they think its the only way to continue.

for android on dolphin browser you can change the user agent and get around all of this but then the mobile version of the site doesnt load so thats kind of a hassle. i agree that a really good mobile site would work a lot better in most cases.

Love your man's way of putting the point across.

Never seen the point being made so fucking clearly. ;)

On a positive note, almost all of these offer to say "no" to the app.

Which is forgotten when you reset cookies. So you'll get the nag. Again. And again. And again. And again. And again. And again. And again. And again. And again. And again. And again. And again. And again. And again. And again. And again. And again. And again. And again. And again. And again. And again. And again. And again. And again.

Certainly, this "door-slamming" practice is detrimental and is a UX decision that needs to be confronted, but this sort of incoherent diatribe doesn't contribute to the discussion.

Fucking Brilliant.

You should make an app to display this list.

Angry titles attract the most clicks, i read that somewhere yesterday. This has now been proved. I would like to make it an eponymous law now.

potty mouth.

The author is trying to convey a point that is clearly way above your head. Stop being 'offended' by stuff that doesn't fucking matter.

Get over yourself. I like the option to select the mobile version or web version.

Non-sophisticated users might be looking for the mobile site but do not know how to get to it.

I think the best UX pattering is:

A: View the mobile optimized site B: Download the mobile app (if applicable) C: No thanks, continue and remember my choice

No, the best UX is to show you the fucking website. It may well make sense to include links to a mobile app and to the desktop version, but those links are clearly of less interest to the user than the website they want to look at, so they should not interrupt the user before the website itself is displayed.

"Non-sophisticated users might be looking for the mobile site but do not know how to get to it."

So ask if they want the mobile version of the site. I am not seeing where an app actually comes into play here.

The only time I would want that pattern is if that app is present on my phone and that option B takes me straight to the content I was about to look at!

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