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How does Apple reward it’s App reviewers?

I am a developer with a reach of a few hundred thousand people using my product. For me, some ideologies matter more than others. I’m a hacker and I find Apple’s regulations toxic. Here’s why.

Complaint

My complaint with Apple is not so much that our business had to take hard calls, as much as how Apple is deliberately denying at worst or delaying at best a free and open internet.

Hackers

I have not met a single developer in my life who has had their app approved into the AppStore in the first attempt. Even though the terms of use are publicly available, they’re unclear and subject to personal judgement. Even if they were crystal clear, I don’t think hackers even think in those direction. All a hacker cares about is whether they’re able to bring about some efficiency in the world. That’s all we care about. If we’re able to do that using an app. We’ll make that and launch it.

We’ll write elaborate build instructions on GitHub, but reading a review process documentation? What’s that? We don’t even have a system to do that. We have systems called test cases that will find the most obscure of the cases where the app might crash. But not one way to figure out whether it adheres to the policies. Like scientists and engineers, developers happen to lean left.

Detrimental

I feel Apple’s approach has been greatly detrimental to the progress of significant technologies in these recent years. It is unfortunate that great engineers are not able to advance their science just because a legal(?) team somewhere is not as fore-sighted as them.

Crypto Currencies have taken a significant hit because of Apple’s terms. I myself had tried launching a crypto product a few months back. I thought it was a cool idea. It was not even an app that was going to give me any monetary benefits. I just thought it’d be so awesome if we could use crypto currencies in this fascinating new way. Apple had some policy regarding Crypto Currencies which would deem my app inappropriate.

That said, lot of people have gotten scammed in crypto currencies. Apple’s apparently trying to save them. A great way to play safe is to play conservative.

Stakeholder

My fundamental problem is not in the policies itself. Though they’re a source of major concern too, but I really care about the right policies the by the right stake holders. I challenge Apple to show us how many developers they have on their App Review team. We have the same problem when Governments try to moderate AI research. Not that we developers somehow magically know what the right thing to do is, quite the contrary – but developers are as important a stakeholder in this as much as the end-consumer is. We need a free-flowing expression of art and a open-minded approach to scientific advancement. We might have scams on the way. But, as humanity, we’ll learn to deal with them.

This last part is not as much as a rant as it is a genuine question. I’m sure the app review team is a huge team. I’m sure there are hierarchies. How is the incentive structure defined for a team like this? I’m sure it would be hard. How does this team promote the right people? What behavior does it reward? What is the north-star metric to see if the teams are doing well? I really want to know. I want to know how a company builds such parts of it’s organization.


Disclaimer : The views are that of the Author, not the company.

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