Up Vote Down Vote, a poor way to gather Product Requirements and the message you send to Customers

Brent Walker July 20, 2021

First I do not like voting on requirements.  It is one of the most impersonal way to gather requirements and a shade tree for companies that use it.  If you cannot manage and prioritize your incoming requirements then maybe you are in the wrong business!  

I see things like

  • very useful requests get down voted by some yahoo who thinks they understand your problem, then your request never sees the light of day
  • requests sit in limbo for months, years resulting low customer involvement/excitement
  • Support staff by proxy of the PO defer the decision making to voting options rather than attempting to answer the customers request.  Are you or are you not going to entertain my feature request.
  • Many many requests rarely see more than 4-5 votes, why and what do you plan to do about it?  Keep that customer in the dark on your plan how to address?
  • Mostly all you will get upvotes on are the most popular not the most valuable requests.  Sure something may be popular but may not drive usage or revenue.
  • plus many more...

Atlassian, please please please stop sending people to voting boards.  I am actually ok with forums and the discussion around a given feature request and find those valuable.  However voting is my number one turn off for a product and product company.

Atlassian, have a look for yourself.  How many requests are sitting in your boards with unresolved status? or are way old?  

Community, what are your thoughts?  You can agree or disagree, but if you disagree please keep it respectful.  We all want our requests heard and this hopefully will help us all submit requests and get better responses from Atlassian/Jira/Confluence


Here is an excerpt of an article written by Kareem Mayan:

Here are the key reasons why you might NOT want to use a public voting board to collect customer feedback.

They're not customer friendly

A typical workflow looks like this:

  1. Customer sends in feature request
  2. Support replies telling customer to go vote it up on a board

As a customer who's taken the time to share incredibly valuable feedback, it's a slap in the face to be told to share it again in the correct format that's better for the receiving company.

When I get emails like this, I think "I've just given you feedback. Now you want me to waste my life giving it to you again?"



This response makes me think the company doesn't value feedback: if they did, they'd save it instead of asking the customer to do more work to give it to them in the preferred format.

Assuming a customer DOES decide to upvote it in another tool, there's a lot of friction: they may have to create an account, they have to find the right feature request, and they may just upvote the feature and not share the verbatim feedback.

You can get customer group-think

When you have a public list of features, it's not uncommon for customers to upvote the ones they want from that list. Sounds good in theory, right? But there are two problems with this.

  1. You're often only going to get feedback on just that list. Customers will find the list and upvote features they think sound good. Valuable feedback comes from running into problems in the product, not upvoting a bunch of features on a list.
  2. Popular features get more popular. If you have three pages of features, the first page will get more looks (and votes) than pages two and three. Do you really want to base (expensive) decisions to build features on which features are most popular (instead of most valuable)?

Bottom of Form

Requests can stay in limbo for a long time

When you ask customers for public feedback, you set an expectation that you'll listen (which ultimately means solving their problems by building features). When requested features don't get built after months (or years!) angry customers will air their grievances in public:



This genius request talks about how too many requests are left in limbo for too long:

under-reviewWhen prospects or customers stumble across these little ❤️ notes, it doesn't inspire confidence in your team's ability to deliver.

You don't always get qualitative feedback

If your voting boards allows upvotes without comments, you're missing out on the best part of customer feedback: the qualitative part!

Hearing the customer's description of the problem is the most useful part of getting feedback. It helps you understand the shape of the problem so you can build a good solution. Rahul Vohra, CEO of Superhuman uses a benchmark of a metric for “dissatisfied with the product” of greater than 40% as a qualitative feedback measure.

Over-indexing for "squeaky wheel" customers

You know those customers (bless their hearts). The ones who speak up all the time about everything that's wrong with your product. This gives all of them a public platform to shape discussion that you'll base expensive feature development decisions on.

To do it right you'll want feedback from your squeaky wheels. But you'll also want feedback from the silent majority. Often the best way to get this is to reach out directly to get their feedback - something voting boards don't help with.

Disagreeing in public is difficult

It's hard to gracefully say "no" to customers in private. Saying no to customers in public is even more difficult. It's risky because whatever you say on a voting board is a public and permanent statement. This means customers often see unsatisfying milquetoast replies to legitimate feature requests. Again, not confidence inspiring.


I am not advertising nor endorsing the Savio product.  I do agree with most if not all his statements above.  Link to article below


1 answer

0 votes
Nic Brough -Adaptavist-
Community Leader
Community Leader
Community Leaders are connectors, ambassadors, and mentors. On the online community, they serve as thought leaders, product experts, and moderators.
July 20, 2021

Um, there's no downvoting on JaC...

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