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Apple Nazis Strike!
12 January 2003
On 12 January 2003 a message posted by Rixstep to the Apple discussion forums was removed by Apple.
The message explained that Rixstep only wanted to keep their mac.com email addresses, that they'd paid for three addresses for the first year, but that they'd never used them, either before the $99 annual subscription rate was initiated, or afterward, and that they had no intention of ever using them either - but that they wanted to keep them anyway. Their objection was having to pay to keep them.
Rixstep had no interest in any of the iTools. They weren't into file sharing or any of the other dubious benefits of the .Mac subscription. They only wanted the email addresses.
Owning a Mac, Rixstep wrote, was a cool thing, and having a mac.com email address was a matter of prestige; and they'd be happy if their mac.com addresses only forwarded their mail, so that the Apple servers did not need to reserve storage for their benefit - just so long as they could keep the addresses they'd had all along, and without paying the $99 annual subscription fee.
Rixstep received the following letter from Apple at the end of the week.
Subject: Removed Post
Date: Sun, 12 Jan 2003 23:46:45 -0800 (PST)
Your post titled 'All I Want for Xmas...' has been removed from Apple Discussions. Posts including (but not limited to) any of the following are not appropriate:
* Discussions of Apple policies and procedures (including pricing and repair policies)
* Speculations about future Apple decisions
* Questions about unreleased products
* Posts in the technical forums that are not directly related to a technical support issue
* Polls, petitions, auctions, or advertisements
* Posts that are only complaints
* Posts which contain or imply abusive or obscene language
* Posts which are abusive to other Discussions users
Please see the Overview section at http://discussions.info.apple.com/WebX/help for more information on the purpose of the Apple discussion forums, as well as the terms and conditions for posting on Apple Discussions. Each Discussion user is required to agree to these terms before gaining posting privileges. You reserve the right to not post on Apple Discussions should you disagree with these terms.
Sometimes you have comments or concerns for which there is no technical response. If you need the kind of help that a troubleshooting expert can't provide, you can call Apple's Customer Relations group.
This message is sent from a send-only email account. Any replies sent to this address are deleted automatically by the system.
If you have a technical support question about Apple products, please go to the appropriate area of Apple's support offering on the Web at http://www.apple.com/support
Freedom of Speech?
It was clearly the first point - 'Discussions of Apple policies and procedures' - that did it.
- 'Speculations about future Apple decisions' - there was no such speculation.
- 'Questions about unreleased products' - there were no such questions.
- 'Posts in the technical forums that are not directly related to a technical support issue' - this wasn't posted in a technical forum, so it doesn't apply either.
- 'Polls, petitions, auctions, or advertisements' - there was no poll, there were no petitions, there certainly was no auction, and as for advertisements, the Rixstep AppleCore software product is mentioned elsewhere on the Apple site and wouldn't have been even considered for inclusion in such as personal post.
- 'Posts that are only complaints' - the post was not 'only' a complaint. Maybe it should have been, but it was not. Inadvertently, it made the nod to Cupertino, praising the company for fine products, and speaking of what prestige there was in just having - and not even using - a mac.com email address.
- 'Posts which contain or imply abusive or obscene language' - this is impossible, as there is an automated Nazi to take care of this before posts are even entered. Call it childish, especially from the avant-garde of Apple, but that's the way it is. For example, the phrase 'Windows sucks' will not make it past the Nazi Apple automaton, because the word 'suck' is considered to be objectionable.
- 'Posts which are abusive to other Discussions users' - the post did not mention other discussion users at all.
One thing is very evident, and should be noted right away: Apple monitor their own discussion forums closely.
Perhaps visitors should take this into account, and think twice about posting anything there. For the spectre of having Big Brother watching over one's shoulder all the time is quite enough to warp people's minds.
Andrew Orlowski of the Register spoke of how Apple really blew it when they started charging for the mac.com address. They'd had the most lucrative mailing list in the world; charging for the addresses did not net them very much at all, but instead only lost them most of the addresses on that list.
It is also worth mentioning that Apple do not take to public criticism. Questioning their policies; questioning what one as a customer of Apple has to put up with: these are prohibited actions. Whether or not they appear at the Apple site is immaterial - if Apple really had their ear to the consumer, they would be glad that such things came to light. Outside Cupertino it's called 'feedback'. But evidently Apple are a corporation bent on a Nazi-like pursuit of 'image', where nothing can be allowed to stand in their way. Certainly not dissatisfied customers.
It makes one balk at being a customer of such an organisation ever again. In a word - two words actually: 'Apple sucks'.
Rixstep: Xmas Wishes Illegal?