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malevolent design weblog

This blog is now defunct, but you can find more stuff over at my personal site

TextMate (my main editor for a while now) released a Halloween-themed version with a special icon and cobweb background for empty windows. A nice Googleish touch, but risky for an application.

You see, some users worried they’d picked up a malware-infected file that was more trick than treat, some others just didn’t like being surprised, and at least two found it deeply offensive.

Today’s exorcised version contains possibly the best changelog entry ever:

[REMOVED] TextMate no longer pays tribute to human sacrifices, rape, nor does it show a picture of the God of the deaths in your dock -- ticket 945BEB5D

It’s pretty much impossible to avoid offending anyone without resulting in bland, dehumanised communication; culture isn’t universal, and the world is full of conflicting language, symbolism and religious beliefs. But unexpectedly messing about with installed software is a bad idea, particularly when most users have automatic updates enabled.

(Last year I was slightly surprised when Nick Bradbury raised issues with the naming of his FeedDemon product; it hadn’t occurred to me that the word ‘demon’ and the flames/claws imagery would prevent people from buying it.)


I shudder to think of how many customers I'll lose if FeedDemon ever reaches version 6.66 :)

Nick Bradbury, 3rd Nov, 10:56pm

Don't worry about it, you can simply release 'FeedAngel', a special version with a nasty-words filter, different icon and premium pricing!

Matt Round, 4th Nov, 5:15pm

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