3

It does not take much effort to put up a website nowadays, which is both a good thing (allowing more people to express themselves easier and cheaper) and a bad thing (allowing almost anything to be put out there regardless of quality, veracity, or standards).

Many websites, then, provide a poor user experience. But some are just dreadful. Even some large, commercial sites. When I come across something awful I feel it is my civic duty to let the world know, not just to rant but because--from a user experience perspective--one can learn from bad examples as much if not more than from good examples. UX StackExchange just seems to be the ideal place for this. But what is the proper way to rant constructively (diplomatically?) about such egregious manifestations?

7

The best way to rant is to not rant and instead figure out how to transform your critique into a constructive, useful question.

For instance, Windows 8 is currently a controversial topic in the UX community. You could post a rant about this, which I'm sure could be very thoughtful and compelling, but would be off-topic for our site. Or you could transform it into a question. But you would have to extract a useful question that other people would have and that is answerable by the UX community.

  • A bad question to extract: Is Microsoft making the right choice by deciding on such a radical change from the Aero interface? This question isn't answerable because no one can know something that hasn't happened yet. It would be closed as subjective and inflammatory.

  • An example of a better question: What research has Microsoft done that influenced its decision to move forward with Metro on the desktop? This question is direct, answerable and actually quite interesting. The only problem is that the research you ask for may not actually be available - but you can't really know that until you ask and someone pulls it out of a hat or someone from Microsoft stops by.

If the topic is controversial enough that you feel the need to rant about it, I'm sure there are lots hidden questions you can uncover. Asking them here would certainly gain you a lot of reputation. And you could even try answering them yourself (as long as your answer is useful and not a rant!).

Rants are often your answers to unasked questions. Try asking the questions and see what you can learn from our community.

4

If you're asking how you can turn a rant into a constructive question, take a specific feature you particularly don't like and form a question about "Why would they do X?" As an example, see my question about Why is the new Twitter menu bar on the bottom on iPhone?.

Don't sound ranty, make sure your question is a constructive question fit for the Q & A format. If there's some guidelines they're breaking, someone should be able to point it out. If there's a reason they're doing it we can point it out as well and you might learn something, as I did with my Twitter question. Sometimes there are reasons for behaviors that seem unusual.

Just remember that UX.StackExchange is a place to learn and share knowledge. Turn your rant into a constructive experience. If you just need to vent and share a link "check out this terrible site", you can do it in Chat and join us in a laugh. Don't be excessively rude, but a quick joke is okay on chat, or maybe even a comment.

3

Some blog would be a good place for such posts. Or you can join us in the UX.SE chat room. However, the main site isn't the place for rants.

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