Apple Support Discussions – Online Community Management Gone Bad

Apple really let me down when their community manager deleted my post asking for community feedback on the iPad upgrade to iOS 5

Photo entitled "Dirty, Rotten Apple" by Lara604 on Flickr

Wow…my perception of Apple Support just dropped 2 more notches.

Not only am I having a terrible time with the iOS 5 upgrade on my iPad, but now my post on the Apple Support Discussion Forum has been deleted because it “contained feedback or feature requests”.

Really?!? Feedback or feature requests aren’t appropriate for the Apple Forums? Last I checked, that was the entire point of community support forums. “Community” implies that members can talk to each other, but apparently that’s not how Apple sees “communities”, unless the conversation is talking about the positive aspects of their products.

The exact message provided to me from Apple Support is as follows:

Dear Sean,

Your post was removed from Apple Support Communities as it contained feedback or feature requests. These areas are intended to address technical issues about Apple products. Although your feedback is appreciated, unfortunately these forums are not designed for it and your thoughts/concerns will not get the attention they deserve.

If you would like to send feedback to Apple about a product, please use the appropriate selection at http://www.apple.com/feedback/
As part of submitting feedback, please read the Unsolicited Idea Submission Policy linked to the feedback page.

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.

Best Regards,
Apple Support Communities Staff

Essentially, because I asked the iPad support community whether other users were having issues with their iPad after the iOS 5 upgrade, Apple Community Managers chose to delete my post and asks me to send my “technical issue” or “enhancement request” privately to them via a feedback form. What happened to openness, honesty, and transparency? Oh yeah, Apple has never been into openness…one of the reasons I hadn’t purchased an Apple product prior to my iPad since 1993.

In case you’re interested, my post on the community was as follows:

I upgraded my iPad 1 to iOS 5 and the number of crashes I have daily is just ridiculous. Both the email client and Safari are crashing frequently, so I’m not chalking this up to app issues. When it happens, whichever app it is lags for a good 5 seconds, and then just closes out. No jailbreaking, no highly customized apps, just the standard apps plus Evernote, Angry Birds, and a few others.

At first, I thought it was the cloud services and I disabled those services, which helped out a bit, but it’s still crashing. I guess the next step is a complete factory reset…which SUCKS!

Anyone else out there seeing these issues? If you want info about my experiences so far, I’ve been documenting a few of the issues on my blog. If you’re interested a link is in my profile, just search for iPad.

Would love to hear if I’m in the minority, here…

–Sean

My goal was to try to identify whether others were having the same issues with iOS 5 to determine whether this is a one-of in my case or whether others are having the same issues and whether others have done any troubleshooting and found resolution. I guess I won’t be able to find out whether other member of the Apple Support forums are having issues as I assume that the Apple community managers are deleting their posts, as well. Nice community, I guess only Fanboys are allowed.

I guess if I ever have something positive to say about Apple, I’ll head back over and post it there. I’m sure they’ll let that comment remain live. Until, then, I’d love to hear from the other Apple community users who are experiencing issues. If you’re having a problem with your iPad, iPad 2, or iPhone after the upgrade, feel free to add your experiences in the comments. Apple may never look at them, but at least they’ll be tracked for posterity.

To the Apple community managers – If you’re afraid of what people are saying about your products, just put your heads back in the sand and keep on believing that no one ever says anything bad about Apple products on the Web. Forget the fact that blogs, Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube exist. Go one, try controlling the conversation in your one little corner of the Web. If a bad comment is posted on the Web and you can’t delete it, it never really happens anyway…right?

So if you haven’t already upgraded your iPad or iPad 2 to iOS 5, I’d really recommend holding off. If you have already and you’re experiencing issues, don’t bother posting about them on the Apple Community Discussions.

I guess this experience is just one more grain of sand on the scale tipping toward my next tablet being Android-based.

–Sean

  • http://res-pons.net Damir

    Congrats Sean!
    My iPhone4 battery is worse after the iOS upgrade, even with no Siri on board.

  • http://www.socmedsean.com Sean R. Nicholson

    So here’s an odd update. Apple deletes my post because it discussed a “technical issue” or “feature request”. Yet, they let this post stay up about THE EXACT SAME ISSUE!!!

    https://discussions.apple.com/message/16626971?tstart=0#16626971?tstart=0

    #FAIL Apple.

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  • http://www.socmedsean.com Sean R. Nicholson

    Ok…Apple may not be happy about talking about issues with iOS 5 publicly on their forums, but it looks like they are at least taking steps to address some issues with the OS. 5.0.1 beta has been submitted to developers for testing, so hopefully the fixes will not only address the battery issues some are seeing, but also the memory issues that are causing the crashes.

    http://www.eweek.com/c/a/Mobile-and-Wireless/Apple-Admits-iOS-5-Battery-Issues-for-Some-Users-Issuing-Fix-205770/

    Hopefully, we’re on our way to fixes for this issue without factory resets.

    Stay tuned…

    –Sean

  • http://www.socmedsean.com Sean R. Nicholson

    FYI…it appears that iOS 5.0.1 has resolved some of my iPad crashes! I’d be interested to hear if others are seeing the same thing!

    Holy Cow! Apple iOS 5.0.1 Resolves Some Crashing Issues With The iPad

    –Sean

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  • Gyro H Gearloose

    Upgraded my iPad 1 on first day. Experienced the same issues. Upgraded to iOS 5.0.1 and still have the same issues. Safari crashes usually when opening a webpage with a lot of data associated with it. There are several I frequent that are guaranteed show stoppers and will crash after loading for 10 seconds like a clock.
    I have terrible lag in most apps on keyboard.
    I have had a little relief by using Atomic Browser instead of Safari.
    It still crashes, it just takes a little longer, leading me to believe that the issue is IOS memory management and Atomic simply has a smaller initial footprint than Safari so takes a bit before cached gets up to crash size.
    No more Apple for me as well.

    • http://www.socmedsean.com Sean R. Nicholson

      Gyro,

      Yeah, I’m still seeing some crashes. For me, they’re not as frequent as with 5.0 but they’re still there. Apple says 5.0.2 is on the way next week, but I think it’s fixes are primarily aimed at iPhone 4S users and their pitiful battery life. Hopefully the more patches they release, the more stable the OS is.

      Be sure that your iPad is reporting the crashes to Apple automatically and be sure to leave your dissatisfaction on the Apple Support Forums so they hear your voice!

      Let us know if you find anything that helps with the crashes and I’ll do the same!

      –Sean

  • Scott Hardisty

    Hey Sean,

    I am afraid if all users set their iPad’s to auto report diagnostic’s apple may experience a denial of service attack! Might get us all on some anti patriot act report somewhere…….

    • http://www.socmedsean.com Sean R. Nicholson

      LOL! You are probably right, Scott!

      It sounds like they are focusing all their efforts in patching iOS 5 for the iPhone right now, since their wonderful new phone eats battery life faster than an Android phone. Unfortunately, it sounds like they are ignoring the woes of the iPad in the meanwhile….

      –Sean

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  • http://www.socmedsean.com Sean R. Nicholson

    Well, true to form, Apple continues to delete threads regarding the iPad crashes on their own support forums. One user, MartyFromWalnutCreek, posted an update based on phone conversations with Apple and Apple community managers deleted the post. Luckily I still have access to the email that details the post, so to demonstrate the kinds of content that Apple is deleting, here is the comment in full:

    Re: iOS 5 Crash Issues
    created by martinfromwalnut creek in Using iPad – View the full discussion

    This was a post I made to a related thread that I thought would intrest this discussion group:

    Update on My Communication with Tim Cook’s / Apple’s Executive Office:

    I had mentioned a few days ago that I had sent a personal letter to Tim Cook, Apple CEO, with printed out copies of this discussion board. The day after they received the letter, I got a phone call from Tim’s Executive Office and Corporate Executive Relations. I also spoke to high level Technical support with an introduction from the Executive Office. The theme of the discussions included:

    1. People on this forum and other related threads want Apple to succeed and are expressing their view because they care. They don’t want this to be a “post-Jobs era” where the other vendors catch up and surpass Apple’s luster and reputation. This could happen due to perception of not caring about the user experience the way Steve Jobs did. CES has demonstrated some competitive tablet technologies that people are now looking at because they need a tablet that works for them.

    2. Many of those on the Apple Discussion forum are long time faithful Apple users and some are crossovers from the Windows platform because they heard that Apple “just works”. They are now are wondering why they made the switch.

    3. The problems are not just with iPad 1s, but also with new iPad 2s fresh out of the box. These problems didn’t exist prior to iOS 5.

    4. Discussed the nature of the problems, such as logs indicating low/out of memory; safari crashes on sites with imbedded videos, flash on page crashes; crashes on text input to forums; back button on safari bringing up old pages from cache rather than the last recent page, etc…

    5. Discussed solutions and experiences we had with hopeful “fixes” and trips to the genius bar. Potential solutions tried by all that didn’t work: resetting Exchange Mail; back up, then complete wipe of iPad and reset as new with then syncing to reinstall apps; turning off iCloud, Spotlight Search, bookmark synching, limiting background processing; web root kits indicated as potential common cause, the whole bag of stuff…

    6. The biggest frustration being that Apple doesn’t acknowledge that there is problem or show empathy for what users with these problems are experiencing and that the discussion boards are being ignored or pushed under the rug.

    7. Corporations have bought iPads for their employees based on the reliability of pre-iOS 5 experiences, and now they are just sitting idle, due to inability to even access corporate websites without continually crashing. They don’t want to buy a developer kit to have a “ticket created” or reinvent Java.

    8. Users saying they don’t want to be forced to buy an iPad 3 to have their problems solved

    Apple’s response

    They listened; they acknowledge that these problems have been replicated by Apple’s engineers/technical department; that the discussion groups are read and reviewed for an understanding of what users are experiencing; that they do have a “culture” of keeping things close to their vest. They said that while they, individually, can’t change the culture they will relate our concern to the right people in Apple regarding our recommendation of acknowledgment and expression of sincere empathy while committing towards working on solutions.

    They agreed with my suggestion that the biggest “bang for the buck” as far as public relations with people on these discussion groups (and others) is an acknowledgement and expression of caring, and working towards a solution.

    Tech support/engineering offered to work with me on my problems to see if they could fix or mitigate them. The contact at Executive Customer Relations from Tim Cook’s office gave me her personal number and committed to working with me to solve my specific issues. I told both people (Corporate Executive Relations and Tech/Engineering) that I would rather they work on solving what they have already replicated rather than dedicating resources to me personally and adding to the load they already have. They assured me they understand and want as much as we do to get these problems behind us. They are also considering a response directly to the discussion groups.

    My background: I was on the launch team of the Xerox Star/6085 which, while in development, was seen by Steve Jobs and became the inspiration for the Lisa and then the Mac. I am currently an SEO/Internet Marketing Consultant and owner of multiple iPads, iPhones, and MacBook Pro’s. I was in line day one for each of Apple’s new product launches since the iPhone 3Gs, crossing over from the Windows platform. But I too want and need my iPads to work for both personal and business use. I can no longer rely on them they way I could before iOS 5.

    Marty from Walnut Creek CA

    • http://www.socmedsean.com Sean R. Nicholson

      Too funny….after I posted the reply above, I went over to the Apple Support forums and I posted a note letting Marty know that I reposted his post here. This is the message that I added to the forum:

      Marty,

      Saw that Apple community managers deleted your other post. I hope it’s okay, I grabbed your post from my email notification and added it to my blog post about this issue in the comments, here:

      http://www.socmedsean.com/apple-support-discussions-a-great-example-of-community-management-gone-bad/

      If that’s not okay, just let me know and I’ll take it down. I’m trying to raise awarenses about not only the iPad crashes, but the fact that Apple doesn’t respond to these forums AND proactively deletes any posts that they find aren’t positive.

      I’m pretty sure this one will be deleted, but hopefully it will get to you if you have subscribed to email notifications.

      –Sean

      True to form…Apple community managers deleted the post, just like I thought they would. Nice job being open and letting your community members talk to each other Apple. #FAIL

  • http://chucksblog.emc.com Chuck Hollis

    For what it’s worth, I’ve had a flawless experience.

    I’m responsible for a “family fleet” of 2 original iPads, and 3 newer iPad 2s. Everyone loads them up with all sorts of stuff — from the pedestrian to the exotic. 2 of them are 3G, the others are WiFi only. 16GB to 64GB of memory, depending.

    No problems. Ever.

    OK, once I had to do a complete power-off on one of them to get it going again, but that’s about it.

    Your mileage may vary.

    — Chuck

    • http://www.socmedsean.com Sean R. Nicholson

      Sounds like you’re one of the lucky ones, Chuck! Thanks for giving some of us hope that the iPad can be stable in some situations.

      As you can read in comments on this post:

      http://www.socmedsean.com/should-i-upgrade-my-ipad-to-ios-5-for-now-no/

      and on the Apple support forums, this is a widespread issue, especially impacting the iPad 1, but also hitting the iPad 2 in some cases. For those of us that are experiencing the issues, factory resets don’t resolve the issue and even the so-called “Apple Geniuses” can’t fix it.

      Regardless of the issue, it’s bad practice for a brand to delete messages from their support forums. Nothing infuriates users more than to know that their posts are being edited or deleted by the community managers, especially when the users are trying to help each other.

      Basically, Apple is carrying their closed-architecture stance to their forums. It they’re going to censor their own forums, why even bother having them?

      I’ll ride my iPad out until it dies, but I have already bought a Nook tablet for my daughter and will be buying Android-based tablets from now on. Apple has jumped the shark, again, IMHO.

      Cheers!

      –Sean

    • http://defiantmarshmallow.blogspot.com/ Glenn McQ

      Me. Jealous! Glad you are not having this issue, Chuck. It’s a bear to deal with. I’m truly envious. Even my new iPad, which Apple replaced because it was easier than dealing with me continuing to show up in the Apple Store every week, is doing the crashing.

  • http://defiantmarshmallow.blogspot.com/ Glenn McQ

    Sean, terrific piece! I’ve been a part of those Apple Support group discussions and also received Marty’s email. Sure enough, as soon as I went to the discussion board to view it, it was gone. I found your blog through those forums, and now you have another follower.

    I wish some of the “Macified” tech outlets were reporting this issue. Haven’t seen anything from Mac|Life, TUAW, AppAdvice, ATD, or any of them. What gives?

    Glad you’re bringing this out for people to see.

    • http://www.socmedsean.com Sean R. Nicholson

      Thanks, Glenn!

      It a shame that Apple is trying to keep this on the downlow, when so many people are obviously experiencing the issue. I think they are having so many issues with the battery performance on the iPhone 4S that they are trying to get that resolved in iOS 5.1 first. In the meantime, iPad users are getting frustrated with the poor post-iOS 5 performance.

      Supposedly, 5.1 beta candidate 2 was recently sent to beta testers, hopefully something will come in the next release.

      Cheers!

      –Sean

  • http://twitter.com/SocMedSean/status/159498995247484928/ Sean R. Nicholson (@socmedsean) (@socmedsean) (@SocMedSean)

    @Apple community managers KEEP deleting posts on their own forums about iPad crashes. Closed-minded Apple FAIL http://t.co/acyHASx4 #cmgr

  • http://twitter.com/venessapaech/status/159523980397654016/ Venessa Paech (@venessapaech)

    RT @SocMedSean: @Apple community managers KEEP deleting posts on their own forums about iPad crashes http://t.co/oeyAsX15 #fb #fail

  • Jan Onjury

    After actually reading your post, I don’t blame them. Using slang that is considered offensive for very many people, trying to get people to go to your blog, and your post generally sounding like a rant are three problems I have with the post. It asks no technical questions and doesn’t offer any solutions. Neither does your blog post. I came here hoping for solutions

    • http://www.socmedsean.com Sean R. Nicholson

      Thanks for the feedback Jan. This post was just an example of one of MANY that have been posted on the Apple.com communities. Many of these posts (including some of mine) have offered crash reports, exact steps to replicate crashes, and suggestion for enhancements. Unfortunately, all of these types of posts have been deleted.

      The whole point of this post is to demonstrate that Apple has no interest in having an open, honest conversation with their customers. Instead, as they always have been, they are following their closed-architecture, closed-conversation model. In a world where the social customer is empowered, they had better wake up.

      They are not the only game in town anymore and the issues that Apple fanboys have always thrown at Android users (battery life, crashes, etc..) are now coming back to haunt them. Apple has always touted that they could charge a premium because they were a premium product. Any technical advantage they have had in the past is fading fast. Just look at the technical comparison between the Samsung Galaxy phones and the iPhone 4S. The 4S isn’t even a 4G capable phone.

      If you’re looking for solutions, I’d recommend talking to Apple. Oh wait…they wont talk to anyone unless they come to their stores and then their Genii are a bunch of undertrained salespeople who will just sell you on an upgrade to an iPad 2 to resolve the hardware/OS issue created between the iPad and iOS 5.

      –Sean

  • Philscbx

    Thank’s Mr Nicholson for a Great Blog on this.

    I tried to follow those missing deleted posts to log to disc, and now glad to see them here.

    A Special Thanks to – latebeat in Using iPad – from the Apple Community for posting the link to get here today.

    In my case, I never updated iPad1 4.3.3 to 5.0 to start with.
    By chance, I went to Apple Support the minute the iTunes update harassing me in to do so, and to Ck if things were being reported, being my fear of updates in General.

    All I can saw is Wow – what an enormous hit, but at the same time a sad outcome for all.
    Although in hopes something does come out to help all the thousands out there,
    and myself if brave enough to try it.

    It is somewhat odd how Apple is handling this. Acting as heavy Political Agenda.
    I’ve been booted before, with follow up quote by the’s God’s that live there claiming Apple doesn’t monitor the site, but obviously they do.

    No entity of a major product would purposely avoid ‘the holy grail’ of feedback.

    I’d say you are dealing one on one from Apple by a select few.
    One of the tech’s there totally spooked me on an issue of privacy in settings in System Pref’s.
    The issue that My Privacy Tab was missing/blank of any data,
    He told me exactly the 3 files that needed to be deleted, and quit loading them.
    I had no idea what he was referring to, but when I looked, he was spot on as if he
    was sharing my Finder screen in detail.
    When asked how, he declined. That’s pretty weird. With files deleted, the Tab recovered.

    I converted back in 05, with MacPro on down with most of the lineup.

    Cheers

  • Paul Haynes

    I’m following these OS5 problems with interest! I own an iPad 1, bought around Nov 2010 – so its not exactly old or a write off. I’ve been considering buying an iPad 3 for a while because my 64Gb + 3G iPad lags most of the time since upgrading from OS3 to OS4. It’s been this lag that prevented me from upgrading to OS5 when it came out. Just out of interest I googled OS5 on iPad 1 and found the Apple forum = WOW!!!! So glad I didn’t upgrade BUT I’m not happy with OS4 for similar reasons either! Puts me off spending so much in future on APPLE. Their product are not cheap and too expensive.

    I think “Jan Onjury” must be a fangirl? I don’t agree with her view at all! There wouldn’t be a problem is APPLE simply let customer downgrade backwards if new OS didn’t work out would there??

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  • Janie

    I got the gen 1 32Gb WiFi iPad the second week it was out. Loved it. Still do! But I am very cautious about upgrades and the only reason I’m not adding to the complaints is because I committed the terrible sin of NOT upgrading past 4.2! And I only went that far because some apps wouldn’t work unless I did so. I have the apps I want and don’t even browse iTunes anymore as everything is for OS5. No thanks, Apple geniuses. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. My iPad would be considered obsolete at 2.5 years old, but it’s never crashed on me, battery life is the same 10+hours it’s always gotten, and I’m using the machine I think SJ had in mind. Keeping up with the Jones’ can be an exhausting, expensive and ultimately frustrating path. Of course I can say this because I don’t depend on this product for everything. It’s still a pleasure to use, and I’m sorry for anyone who got conned into the endless upgrade nightmare. I do have an android 4g phone that just plain works so well that my iPhone-using riends are trying to trade with me. No thanks! Janie

  • http://www.thebestva.com Kathy McCabe

    All this is why I’ll be going WINDOWS 8 for the next tablet. Then at least my desktop, phone and tablet will all speak to each other!

    Keep up the great work Sean!

  • http://miApple.me Gee Are Pabst

    Hi Sean,

    I experiened the similar problem: Posts of mine stating about a wrong Apple Support Ducement (http://support.apple.com/kb/HT4864) on the Apple Support Communities were removed because of ‘incorrect or misleading information’.
    However, it is not to blame Apple, but dedicated persons who bullied you, me and others! In my case, I know the person who bullied me: A Level 7 user. Check which user answred your posts in a kind of counter way. This person is the one who bullied you!

    I would be interested in connecting with people who had similar experiences like you and me.

    Cheers,
    Gee Are

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