Pearls Before Swine / The Value of Anonymous Reviewers and Freeloader Opinions

I’m a freeloader. I like to use a lot free stuff. Seems like ever since Microsoft provided Internet Explorer for free in order to undercut (and eventually destroy) Netscape, a lot of fellow netizens have come to expect, even that they’re entitled to everything for free. Including being catered to while contributing absolutely nothing in return.

Among the many things I freeload are a lot of add-ons to extend Mozilla Firefox — the browser that rose from the ashes of Netscape. As a web developer, there are certain productivity tools that have become indispensable to me. They’re also frequently built by volunteers who choose to share the fruits of their labor and personal time investment. When this freeware happens to malfunction for whatever reason, I might be disappointed but I also understand that I use it as-is, having offered the maker no incentive whatsoever to pay any attention to my demands of them.

The Firefox Quantum Add-on-pocalypse

Earlier this last year, Firefox forewarned developers of a critical update that would essentially reinvent the browser: Firefox Quantum. It would also leave out many key technologies, especially the now legacy add-ons API that many of the tools I use were built on. So it was imperative that developers port their extensions using the new WebExtensions API. However, as the date of this impending Add-on-pocalypse™ approached, it began to sink in that these extensions I took for granted weren’t going to make the cut.

Some devs were explicit about their intention to let their projects die. The guy that thanklessly maintained Tab Groups put out a detailed statement with his final update listing all the fucks he no longer had to give and why. Others struggled to upgrade or create replacements, given the new API limitations. And a few features quietly ghosted away.

So over the past month and a half I took it upon myself to recreate three frequently-used features that I would miss not having: Speed Dial for quick access to frequented sites, Tab Groups to maintain distinct project work spaces and Chrome Logger to facilitate server-side debugging in the web console. Each are freely distributed so that I could conveniently push them and subsequent updates to my various devices. Oh, and if anyone else could benefit from their use too. Fine.

However, rather than the afterthought they actually are, several reviewers of these no-strings offerings of mine seem to have it in their heads that I built these tools for them in particular at their pleasure. Or displeasure. They are not fine with my free shit not being good enough for them. As though they’re paying customers somehow and the impotent whining of these ingrates is actually supposed to be some sort of incentive to take them seriously, much less serve them personally hand and foot. Yeah, I got your refund right here, buddy! ? Don’t spend it all in one place now.

What Are Bad People Good For?

Does this faux-entitled victimhood work so that they are rewarded with unearned reparations from their parents? Spouses? Not enough hugs to go ’round? What is the mentality that drives any of these worthless cretins to critique or expect anything from work provided to them that they do not provide for themselves without once even attempting to engage with said provider? More importantly, what can one do with such special, self-important enslavement? What is the potential utility or yield of ruined creatures like these?

Because they’re not going away anytime soon, if ever. They creep through every dark crack of the internet. Yelp! is infested with them.

As annoying as these shitty people can be, I can – as Marilyn Manson apparently does – find them useful as indicators witlessly bringing attention to that which they are trying but have no actual power to destroy. They’re just looking to annoy to death whatever it is that threatens them. And odds are that it’s probably far more worthwhile to indulge whatever that is than a rabble of anonymous shamers hellbent on commiseration. Oh, the beautiful people. The beautiful people. Those who feed trolls, enable them. Better to starve the beasts, if only by actually having a life.

And maybe being less of a freeloader, myself, as well. I used to be against offering anything for free but I’ve changed my mind on that; it’s important to give back. And pay forward. I’ve been contributing more to producers of products and content that I would like to continue to enjoy, including Mozilla. A few dollars here and there can add up and is literal appreciation that demonstrates gratitude. Certainly more so than an unhelpful comment or a useless one-star review.

I see your ⭐✰✰✰✰ and I raise you , fucker!

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Escaped Hippie Gamete, Art Geek, Sci-Fantasy Nerd, Political Junkie and Code Monkey.

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