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Email subscription button

  1. I hate this new change - why can't WP leave well enough alone. AND WHY WON'T THEY REPLY TO ANY OF THE MIRIAD OF COMPLAINTS ABOUT THIS CHANGE. It is confusing, for both my blog and blogs I followed. Please put things back the way they were. It was a good system and it seems I am not the only one who dislikes these changes to the e-mail subscription system.

  2. because I had no idea at first what the new button was - clicked on it and am now following my own blog - I can't find a way to delete subscribing to it - HELP ????????????????????????????????????????????

  3. @jobryantnz: you should be able to just click on the button again and it will "unfollow". It's a toggle.

  4. Interesting that on top of everything else, this morning I have no subscription notification emails either. Mine always arrive in my inbox at 4am my time. Nothing. I might get a chance to catch up on the week, do you rhink?

  5. silvershadowfly
    Member

    As far as I'm aware of the 'follow' button still works as a subscribe button for wordpress users. Someone subscribed to my blog and it lists them as a wordpress follower.

    As to whether it works for people subscribing via email I'm still not sure. To put this to the test I got one of my friends to subscribe to my blog via email by the follow button - he's not a wordpress user - it did subscribe him via email to my blog.

    The problem here is that he wouldn't neccesarily realise that it was an email subscription until he clicked on the follow and supplied his address.

    Very frustrating - but at least we know that as soon as the do click the follow button they are prompted for their email.

    Though it seems a bit silly that you can follow your own blog.

  6. Thanks for the feedback so far. Just to clear up a few points:

    • We are actively working on this, so it will continue to change and adapt based on usage and feedback.
    • The functionality has not changed, only the look. Users are still subscribed as they were before.
    • Logged out users will still see the email form and wording when they click the follow button.
    • WordPress.com users will now instantly follow your blog without having to enter their email address.
    • You can change the title and wording of the widget in the Appearance > Widgets menu in your dashboard.

    If you are a WordPress.com user then you can read and manage the blogs you follow here: http://wordpress.com/following/

  7. Staff: I was getting reports from my potential non-user subscribers that the email subscription functionality is gone altogether. The subscription form shows up, but they get bounced to the fresh page almost immediately. I logged out and confirmed the problem.

  8. @apeatling:

    First of all, thanks for finally posting. It's nice to know that WP is paying attention. Thanks also for working on the problems and adapting based on usage and feedback.

    I personally have two problems with the change.

    1. This one bullet is not true:

    You can change the title and wording of the widget in the Appearance > Widgets menu in your dashboard.

    I've tried multiple times to change the title of the widget and it doesn't stick. Every time I click on Save it reverts back to "Follow Blog".

    2. Even if I could change the widget title, I don't want the button to be labeled "Follow". As I mention in this thread, I have a Follow page in my main navigation menu, and so using the "follow" terminology for the email subscription button causes confusion for my readers.

    If you read through this thread, you'll see that a lot of other users are stating the same thing, that the term "follow" is most commonly associated with Twitter, not email subscriptions.

    It seems to me that the easiest solution is to offer two different widgets: the old email subscription widget that worked very well, and the new Follow widget.

  9. @Apeatling,

    I concur with @drawingboard to the extent there needs to be very clear indication to the users they can subscribe by email. At the moment it looks as if email subscriptions are NOT available.

    Basic principle of systems design in an intuitive GUI - this does nto meet that principle.

  10. It seems to me the solution to the problem could be as simple as substituting the word "subscribe" for "follow" on the button.

    I agree with the point made above. "Follow" implies Twitter, and it is very confusing.

    I don't understand why the change had to be made in the first place, but if the change must be made, at least make its function clear to users. As it stands, it will prevent more email subscriptions than it enables.

  11. @Apeatling - thanks for commenting. It's reassuring to know that the Happiness Engineers are doing something about this.

    I agree with the two above me - we need to clearly distinguish between Subscribe via email and Follow. 95% of my email subscribers are non WP-users. They chose to "Sign me up" rather than "Follow on FB/Twitter etc." Saying you can now follow with an email subscription is confusing. And no, I can't change the widget title. (I'm using Rubric.)

  12. Thank you, WordPress, for responding so quickly.

    However, there are a few issues that I would like to point out, from feedback I've received from people trying to subscribe to my blog.

    1. You say that we can change the title and wording of this new widget, but that is not true. Nothing changes, no matter what I try.

    2. People trying to subscribe to my blog are confused by the word "Follow", which they associate with Twitter.

    3. Non-Wordpress users who click on this new "Follow" button, do not get an option to enter their email, so if they want to get my blog updates by email, they can't.

    4. Soooo many people keep saying the word "Follow" is confusing because they think "Twitter." People who want email updates are completely lost. They think the only way to get updates on my blog is thru Twitter, and if they don't want that, they just give up!

    Please, just put back the old subscription widget! And if you want to add another widget that says "Follow" that's fine. But give us the choice - please! We're losing subscribers, and to new bloggers like me, subscribers are so important!

    Thank you.

  13. What happened? Suddenly my 'subscribe' button became some 'follow' thing. I'm getting a lot of complaints from readers. There's no way they can choose every day or summary versions of the posts.
    Please, please put back the subscription post, it was working just fine.

  14. For those who haven't noticed, there's a checkbox for "number of subscribers". You can uncheck it and that little stat will disappear.

    I logged out, went to my blog and found that, once I clicked the "follow" button, the box to enter an email address <i>did</i> appear. Some people have said it isn't there. Perhaps there are differences among themes.

    Finally, until this gets sorted out, I've substituted this text for what used to be a simple "Subscribe By Email":

    <i>To Subscribe by Email - Click the "Follow" Button (It should say "Subscribe", but WordPress changed it. To "follow me" on Twitter, click the little birdie just below.)

    Such gyrations shouldn't be necessary. Not everyone in the world is a coder or site developer. The point should be to make things easy for the reader, not more difficult and/or mysterious.

    To quote Paul Graham, author of <i>Hackers and Painters</i>, "... to write good software you have to understand how little users understand. They're going to walk up to the software with no preparation, and it had better do what they guess it will, because they're not going to read the manual."

  15. I think we can safely judge this to be a VERY unpopular change.

  16. @apeatling Thanks for posting a response.

    But I think the complaint is that readers do not know that "follow" means "subscribe." They are confusing the word "follow" with Twitter. They don't realize it means "subscribe." Why? Because it doesn't say "subscribe." It says "follow." Which to most people does not mean the same thing.

    And some people don't use twitter and don't want to. What we are trying to say is that the change of wording that is confusing.

    And that subscribers don't equal followers. In the minds of most people (scratch that: all people) they are different. The definition of each word is different.

    What we are complaining about is not the simplicity of function, it's the word: "follow."

    Just change "follow" to "subscribe" and we'll love you forever, we promise.

    And if you must have the word "follow" you're going to have to explain that to the vast majority of people who do not get it. Or else its kinda creepy to just change the definition of a word for no reason.

  17. frankierobertson
    Member

    Please return to users the option of a "Subscribe" button. Experimentation is great -- that's how we learn. This "Follow" experiment failed.

  18. Dear Matt and team,
    You know I love you guys, but this Follow button is for the birds. We have subscribers not followers ... The new Follow button is vague and makes non WP people wonder what it is for... that term works for Facebook and Twitter not for us as bloggers.
    There is nothing attractive or uplifting about the design and it neither invites nor excites any potential subscriber to want to click it. I'm all for streamlining, but this is a terrible idea. Please give us back our subscriber button. It is a standard everyday English word that people understand and everyone gets it... Follower, NOT!
    Thank you!
    Elizabeth

  19. I agree. I also don't like the new 'Follow' button. I think it is confusing for the readers. The original 'subscribe' button meant they knew exactly what they were signing up for.

    After reading some of the above comments feel even more wary now. I have no real idea if my readers are affected by the changes. I do know that one reader felt the need to resubscribe to my blog.

    People were happy with the way it was befre, could you not just change it back?

  20. This is a fundamental change to the look of my site, and I resent it. It's ugly and takes away a point of difference - namely, the ability to talk to readers when asking them to sign up. You ought to us the option to choose. Why shouldn't we be able to keep the old version if we prefer it? I feel very strongly that you should change it back.

  21. lovecraftezine
    Member

    Let me translate "staff"s post:

    If you guys don't like it, too bad. We at WordPress think it's cool and we're not gonna change it back.

  22. suddenly and not anounced my subscriber - widget changed to a blue "Follow" - symbol.
    The effect: no one gets email notifications about new posts anymore. And I don't get notifications of new entries of other blogs I've had subscribed to. Pretty sad. Does anyone WHY that happened, HOW I can get back to normal, and WHO was so bold to just invent this, change all and not even bother to let us know?

  23. @apeatling Staff, it has been more than 24 hours and 3 pages worth of complaints against this change. I think you could have approached it little differently, for example, instead of updating a live widget, create a new replacement widget and then announce the retirement of the old widget. There could be discussions around the new widget and you would get the time to improve before change takes place.

    In any case, having a live widget modified to the dislike of so many people, is a bad policy. Your strategy doesn't even conform to rapid development, or standard change processes. Although it isn't a big change in a grand scheme of things, but many bloggers take email subscription of their audience very seriously. The term Follow just doesn't fit. You should let the bloggers choose their own term for the button and you should let the bloggers choose how they want this button to look according to their themes

  24. you guys ALL have to mail the 24/7 team who ever they are... and aks them how to get back to normal.
    IF WE would have WANTED TO BE ON F++.IN FACEBOOK WE WOULD! please don't make us all idiots
    JJ

  25. Well, I've made the morning rounds, checking in with fellow WP.com bloggers I know, and, echoing the sentiment in this thread, everyone is unhappy with the the Follow button.

    Everyone agrees that it's confusing readers, preventing new subscriptions because the words "email" and "subscription" are gone.

    I'd like to stress that I actually don't mind the concept of moving towards using the term "follow" to include everything from Facebook, Twitter, other social media sites, RSS, and, yes, email subscriptions. (This is why, as a short term solution, I've added instructions to subscribe by email via the comments interface to my Follow page.)

    But, most people aren't quite there yet.

    It seems to me that a great solution would be a widget that expands to offer all of these ways to follow a blog all in one convenient place. Or, it could be a page template, similar to the Follow page that I created, where all the different options for following a blog, yes, including email subscription, are available.

  26. I have my blog set to private for family only. I wanted them to log in as a guest, be able to enter their email to subscribe. Now they are all having a hard time figuring out how to register and get a username/ID, some are accidentally creating blogs, concerned about their privacy.. etc... some hit follow and they are not getting emails as I post them or emails sent to subscribe. Since my post is private, they are not getting option to enter email. What I thought what would been a nice way to share great things with my family right now, has turned into a nightmare. Everyone is overwhelmed and upset. I don't like that change.

    I'm sending them step by step what to do on registering for a username only, but it's all trying their patience and they are not getting email of my new posts. (I've looked through my settings so much and can't figure a way to enable it anymore ) Any suggestions?

  27. Thanks for listening WordPress . My personal view would be to leave it as just 'Follow' rather than 'Follow Blog' and would be interested to hear from others .

    We do understand you are just trying to improve the service but we do become very protective of our blogs . Thanks for having the balls to change your mind .

  28. Thank you for listening

  29. I wrote the comment before I checked the widget and realised you can alter the title yourself . I must admit I like Follow and will leave it, rather than Subscribe .

    Thanks again

  30. @merovee, I agree with you that change is not inherently bad and that, in most cases, the changes that WordPress roll out fairly regularly are usually very good enhancements to the service.

    Also, as I said in my last post, I'm at all not opposed to the migration towards making the "follow" terminology standard across the varying methods of "following" available: e.g. Facebook, Twitter, Google+, RSS, email, etc.

    The problem that most everyone is complaining about, I believe, has to do with the manner in which this migration has been initiated and implemented.

    The conversion of the email subscription widget to a Follow widget is a terrible solution, especially from a PR standpoint. If you want to migrate users toward the "follow" concept, you have to do it elegantly. Instead, WordPress has people pissed off and hating the whole "follow" concept, sabotaging their very efforts towards that goal.

    Again, change the widget so that it expands and offers users the option to select how they want to follow the blog from all the available options, or offer a page template that provides the same interface. Then, I would also suggest restoring the old Email Subscription widget so that others can opt to continue using that very effective tool.

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