Following a recent incident where I left an experienced retailer neutral feedback after quite a negative experience only to receive negative feedback in return as a sort of bitter last-shout, I felt it was important to express to people the importance to honesty or dishonesty in leaving feedback.
The case for being honest. Apart from the issue of simple morality, it is possible to maintain a level of status quo on Ebay by being honest. 'Positive' implies a positvive Ebay experience, 'Neutral', ambivilent and so on. If everyone responds honestly then it is possible to maintain an unbiased ebay.
This obviously precludes the possibility of malpractice; i.e. the possibilty of people leaving Negative feedback in order to maliciously trap an individual. This can be avoided by waiting to leave reply feedback. Of course, it can also get to the stage where no one leaves feedback. This is a stalemate and will get everyone nowhere. If you suspect, however, that someone may leave you either first-off negative feedback or reply negative feedback, then it is possibly best to avoid the feedback system altogether. It is no great loss.
The case for being dishonest. There is a trend on Ebay to leave positive feedback regardless - out of fear of reply negative feedback. This trend means that people avoid stains on their record (a form of playground bullying) and so placate stronger individuals. What is a stronger individual on ebay? This process furthermore leads to a situation where feedback becomes meaningless. Afterall, if positive feedback is left regardless then what of the negative.
The case for misunderstanding. Furthermore, it is possible that there has simply been a misunderstanding. Your feedbacker may have read your emails with jaded interpretation or you may simply be incorrect about the process of events. In short - be careful.
Idealogically, and for the sake of the practice, it seems 'right' that one should honestly leave feedback. However, it cannot be denied that it is much safer to lie. Make of it what you will.
Strategies for Leaving Feedback
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19 May 2006
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