First, it's very very sad to me if your only incentives come from other people complaining at you.
This is an oversimplification of my statement.
Maybe so, but if it is, I don't see it, and I want you to explain your statement better. Which, I think you do right now?
Clearly, if one makes a product for consumption by other consumers, then the only incentive to improve that product (or really, do anything better) is consumer feedback.
No! First of all, this limits the case to products for consumers, which is way smaller than what you're saying in your first statement which has 'anyone does anything'. But fine, let's limit it. It's still not true. I generally don't do things at all because people have complained at me. I do things well because I want them to be quality. I like doing good things, and I like doing them well. Now, what constitutes doing them well is SOMETIMES shaped by what people are telling me they want. But more, it's about doing what's right/best. I think anyone who has worked with children understands the difference.
You didn't say 'we wouldn't know what we needed to improve upon' or 'we wouldn't know how to do things better', either of which isn't necessarily true,
Isn't that the end goal of a complaint - to tell the provider what to make better and how it should be done?
No. That's the end goal of constructive criticism. But even if you use the former to mean the latter... I mean, my point is not that 'complaints' don't help you figure out what to do, how to do it, etc. etc. My point is that it's by no means the ONLY way.
Second, proving this is laughably easy. I eat meals every day because I want to, not because other people complain.
Your attempt at a proof by contradiction falls outside of the context of this argument, but I'll entertain you anyway: you eat meals every day because your brain perceives a lack of glucose in your blood and/or glycogen in your liver, not because you "want" to. Physiologically, your body is complaining to you. You wouldn't know if you were hungry otherwise!
It doesn't fall outside the context of the argument. Why is that outside the context of the argument? Furthermore, no. I mean, this is a semantic/philosophical thing now, but a) I don't think that I am merely a function of my brain chemistry, and b) even if I were, that would then be what we call 'want'. And in fact, lots of people eat things when they aren't hungry. Look at all the obesity in America. Some of it's caused by medical conditions where people who are well nourished have hormonal problems that cause them to still 'feel hungry'. But the vast majority don't.
I try to learn how to make the weird dishes I like better than I can now, so that I will more enjoy them. Also so that other people will enjoy them if I make them for them, even though I haven't yet and certainly haven't heard complaints.
Suppose that you had a peculiar taste that no one else seems to appreciate. What do you do?
Suppose that Iso had an odd quirk (like the Quarry-GM quirk) that DougZ doesn't mind because he knows his creation in and out, but the users are mildly annoyed. What should DougZ do?
I in fact do have that kind of taste. What I do is not make that kind of food for other people, since I care about them. But I care about them; it's not about complaints. Because the only people I ever cook for love me too, and they generally wouldn't complain if I made them charcoal (okay, I mean, if I make charcoal often enough, they'll tell me, and they'll tell me their preferences, etc. etc. But not complain).
What dougZ SHOULD do is a much more interesting and important, but also much deeper and more complicated question. Because it's a question of ethics. Now I can evince an entire ethical system here, but... I'm just going to skip to the conclusion. He should do what's best for him, and what's best for the users. In this case, it's almost certainly what he has done, and hey, he seems like a pretty ethical guy, so that makes sense. However, this whole thing doesn't really seem to be getting anywhere to me? Like, your attempt at proof by example isn't more successful than any other proof by example try.
Just the vast majority of what I do, I do because I think it's the right thing to do, it's what I want to do, because I think it's what I should do, not because other people are nagging me, but because I have a largely internal, also shaped through study of various things, sense of what is good. And I like to increase the good in the world for its own sake, not just because people nag me.
I spy 2 distinctly contradictory statements coming from you:
1. Consumers should not complain about the quality of a free product
2. Producers should be concerned about the quality of a free product
Now, I totally agree with point 2 from a moral standpoint, but the fact is that the producer has nothing to gain by improving his product, which leads to the case for point 1 (because it's selfish to demand things for free). So if you posit point 1... then aren't you admitting a positive correlation between consumer-driven incentive and the producer's benefit? And if you posit point 1, then you admit that the producer does not have a self-driven incentive except for a foggy sense of moral obligation?
These things aren't contradictory at all! People shouldn't complain about free products, because man, well you shouldn't generally complain. And even more so about free products because they aren't invested or entitled to anything there, they haven't put anything in. This doesn't mean that the people who are making the things shouldn't want to make quality products. In fact this only follows if you accept your (once again, totally wrong) premise that the only reason to do something is to avoid complaints. But I want to make a product just to make a quality product. dougZ made isotropic... well, not out of complaints. I'm not sure why exactly, but probably because he figured people would enjoy it, or HE would enjoy it, or he just wanted the challenge. It's fun. And anything I do, I want to do it quality. I don't do things half-way just because I can get away with it.
2+2=4. Prove it.
That doesn't prove it at all.
a&&!a = false. (i.e. nothing can be both true and false at the same time). Prove it.
Well, this one I can't do.
Edit: cleaned up a /quote thing