The "accept-if-no-alteratives-available, do-not-accept-if-alternatives-available" suggestion has an inherent problem. If we later discover a nag-free alternative, do we then remove the previous entry?
Furthermore, how to determine whether it is an alternative? What if it covers only 75% of the functionality? Then someone can argue that it is not an alternative, since there are some functions missing. Therefore, I think any rule that we come up with must have minimal coupling with other apps.
However, we might be able to take usage pattern into consideration, since I am already doing it to some apps that write to the registry. One can argue that he uses eg. a file recovery app 8 hours a day, but I think for the majority of people, it is probably a once-in-a-blue-moon affair.
(Actually, even that has some gray areas. For example, I think it is OK for CDRW/DVDRW apps to write settings to the registry, since a lot of the settings are typically hardware dependent, and it is unlikely that you have the same CDRW/DVDRW drive on every machine that you run the app on, so it makes sense for the settings to be tied to the machine. However, I can see how some people might disagree with that!)
Well, I noticed that a recent virus cleaner app that had a nag was accepted with a disclaimer, so I guess this one has to be added too.
To me, there is a difference. The virus cleaner app merely informs me that there are other apps from the same company available, or a more powerful paid version of the app available. It is a little different from popping up a message and asking me for money.
Anyway, I realize I am standing on a slippery slope here. So I am hoping that by soliciting your opinions, we can come up with clearer guidelines on what constitutes "nagware" that is acceptable to most people.
It seems like there is no concensus so far. The 3 types of responses that I gather are:
- Nags are no big deal as long as they are specified clearly in the synopsis
- Depends on the nature of the app and how annoying it is (eg. timeout)
- Any nag is bad and the app should be removed
Anything I missed?
What about some DonationCoder apps that I removed earlier? Those apps will start displaying a nag screen randomly at the launch of the program after 6 months.