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Summary:

Last week saw the launch of a curious web-service that isn’t an obvious web worker tool, but may just prove to be a useful communication feature amongst other tools. New York marketing director, Erik Riesenberg’s NiceCritic enables users to send anonymous messages to coworkers, essentially to […]

NiceCritic anonymous message in GmailLast week saw the launch of a curious web-service that isn’t an obvious web worker tool, but may just prove to be a useful communication feature amongst other tools.

New York marketing director, Erik Riesenberg’s NiceCritic enables users to send anonymous messages to coworkers, essentially to ‘communicate difficult thoughts comfortably’.

The service enables users to select pre-written messages from nine categories, including…

  • cubicle etiquette
  • neighborly advice
  • personal hygiene
  • appearance
  • general behaviour
  • anonymous praise
  • office behaviour
  • sports etiquette
  • thoughts for schoolmates

Each category lists several templates messages that can be delivered via anonymous email to recipients in a safe, embarrassment-free and constructive manner. Preventing senders from editing the outgoing message seems limiting, confining users to templates provided by the service creators, but perhaps centralizing etiquette in this manner prevents the service from being malicious…as long as new templates can be submitted and vetted transparently.

Riesenberg describes ‘cubicle etiquette’ and ‘personal hygiene’ as the most popular categories – areas which suggest that web workers may not be the target audience. However, with most web workers functioning in isolation, it arguably becomes more difficult to understand the context of remote coworkers and actually more difficult to broach a sensitive subject when deprived of the surrounding context and trust.

It’s certainly a curiosity and one wonders if it’s more a marketing exercise to glean clean email addresses for advertising purposes.

Regardless, anonymous messaging can be useful but perhaps with some abuse protections – incurring a micropayment per message might restrict abuse and encourage only really very neccessary messages. Anonymous messaging seems a more natural web worker fit as a feature of a broader service…perhaps NiceCritic is more useful as a Gmail Labs feature.

  1. An nice anonymous way to be courteous with regards to issues?

    Sounds good to me!

    Niceness sometimes seems to be quite the lost art nowadays.

    Data points, Barbara

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  2. I could have done with something like this about 12 years ago when I had to explain to an employee that he smelled pretty bad, and to just… well… stop it!

    He left soon after :)

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  3. I saw this through StumbleUpon yesterday. I tried it out by sending myself a note and I never got it, which means my company’s super-aggressive SPAM filter ate it.

    This would be fun to send to completely random people to make them paranoid. I see more pranks coming out of this than good.

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  4. always amazed Monday, July 21, 2008

    i just checked this out because i thought it sounded mean and rude, but then i read the ‘about’ section where they describe the site and why it is the way it is, and i was pleasantly surprised. i kept reading words like ‘positive’ and ‘helpful’ – a nice change to all the negativity and meanness out there!

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  5. remember justatip.com? Just like that.

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  6. [...] WebWorkerDaily » Archive NiceCritic.com: ‘It seems like your thong is showing’ « “NiceCritic enables users to send anonymous messages to coworkers, essentially to ‘communicate difficult thoughts comfortably’.” [...]

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  7. I received two messages from NiceCritic today… One accusing me of not sharing my candy jar… I don’t have a candy jar. The other asked me to limit my use of jokes… I’m not a big joke teller. To me this site is a waste of time for the person sending the notes as well as the person receiving them. If you have something to say, be a grown up and say it.

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  8. [...] Worker Daily: NiceCritic.com: ‘It seems like your thong is showing’ – new service enables users to send anonymous messages to coworkers, essentially to ‘communicate [...]

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