Facebook’s Weak, Passive, Dishonest* RSVP Button

James Walpole/ April 20, 2018

“But let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No.’ For whatever is more than these is from the evil one.” – Jesus (NKJV)

At last.

I have been sitting on my outrage for months, and now it’s finally time to let it out. Facebook Events RSVP button, I have a bone to pick with you.

Can’t Go, eh?

Maybe is a bad enough transgressor, but we’ll save that for another time. People should only be allowed to use a Can’t Go option if they are in the hospital, trapped by a serial killer, or impaled by a rhinoceros.

Up and until those points, people *can go* to just about anything they choose. You would be really surprised by what you *can* do.

Every time you tell someone you “Can’t Go” to something, you are playing a weak excuse game at best and lying to cover your own butt at worst. And that’s precisely what pisses me off about this button the most: it denies agency and choice to millions of users, and it makes a liar out of each and every one of them.

You are saying “No, I can’t come to your awesome deer hunting/caber tossing/kilt-wearing/scotch-drinking Highland Games party,” because it’s much easier to pretend to be helpless than to say “No, thanks, I don’t want to come to your Highland Games party because I am Irish, and I have other better things to do instead.”

I realize no one likes to turn down a genuine offer of hospitality. But just saying “Yes, thanks” or “No, thanks” makes life so much easier and better for you and your host.

It appears that Facebook’s way of saying “No” has just gotten weaker, more indeterminate, and more weaselly over the years. Here are a few earlier and more honest iterations.

Not Going and Not Attending – those are both straightforward and honest and simple answers to the question: “do you want to come to my event?”

But somehow some Scared Millennial (trademark pending) at Facebook thought it was time for a change to something a little more comfortable for Scared Millennials. And so Can’t Go was born.

It doesn’t have to be this way. Maybe one day we will emerge from the great darkness into which we Scared Millennials have plunged ourselves.

Until then, let’s not let Facebook’s Scared Millennial design decisions drag us further down. When we RSVP, let’s start leaving comments to explain *why* we are not coming. And while we should be polite and grateful, let’s at least be honest.

Here Facebook. I fixed your RSVP button for you:

*This is a rant. It is half a joke, half true. I am not *really* condemning Facebook users here – just the damn button.


James Walpole

James Walpole is a writer, startup marketer, and perpetual apprentice. You're reading his blog right now, and he really appreciates it. Don't let it go to his head, though.

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