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Infinite Scroll: Do we get an opt out and will this apply to other themes?

  1. One problem is there is no clear statement about future direction. Will premium themes be changed? Will. ORG installs be impacted in future upgrades? This sort of information is vital so we can decide if we need to find a new platform. I prefer WP over the others, at least until now I did, but moving takes time and effort and needs a lot of planning. Going. ORG is not a solution if this is going to be rolled out there too.

    I suggest it MIGHT be reasonable on all but the landing page, as it has always been a problem that the use of the more tag has to be constantly adjusted to make all blog pages look the same. I am constantly changing the number of posts on the front page to balance the articles with the length of the sidebar.

    A change we are still waiting for is the featured image to not display in the actual post on slider themes. Now that would have been a welcome enhancement! Having an image in a post twice, once for the slider and once so it can be seen is messy.

  2. Okay Matt - put what you've said and what the infinity scroll is about in the WordPress.com blog with comments open and I bet you'll get more than just a few people who don't like what you're doing. And for your information, there are plenty of good things about WordPress - great things, too - but this is not one of them.

  3. An Analysis of Matt's Response on the Now-Closed Thread

    "Howdy guys, thanks for the feedback."

    Friendly enough. A little late in the day. But fine.

    "The initial usage stats from infinite scroll look really good -- people are reading more posts which means they're spending more time on your site."

    Hard for me to say, but I suspect that the initial usage stats have been skewed by people going on their and other blogs and riffling through the pages to see when and if the scrolling will stop.

    "As you might guess, people are way more likely to just scroll down than they were to click the "next page" button -- it's faster and better."

    I don't think so. They are scrolling only because when they get down to the bottom, WP automatically scroll for them.

    "It's the future of all web pages with more than one page of content."

    On what basis is this statement made? And even if it is "the future", why can't people be allowed to opt out?

    "We're still working out some bugs, and as some of you noted your footer widgets are temporarily inaccessible, and figuring out the best way to deal with that and other edge cases."

    I'll be curious to see what they do because infinite scrolling and footer seem pretty much incompatible to me. Unless you have very few posts. And by the way, what is an "edge issue"?

    "A few people have asked if "everyone" is against this why we're just not turning it off."

    Correction: The majority have asked why not make it an option instead of mandatory.

    "Well, there's a thread like this which seems overly negative for pretty much everything we launch. People don't come to the forums to say they like something they usually come when they have a problem."

    Excuse me, but you asked for feedback.

    "That's why we ask for feedback on the forums, to find the problems, not to gauge popularity."

    But the problem is that it's not popular! People don't want to be obliged to put up with it.

    "For that we've learned to look at stats, what people do versus what they say. This is better because it allows us to get feedback from millions of people in addition to the few thousand who frequent the forums. Both voices are important."

    But you have to take into account the comments of those who have taken the time to do so. You are looking at stats and that is fine. But you have also heard from the majority of people that they spent a lot of time scrolling and scrolling and reloading and then scrolling some more in an effort to find the problem. You have to extrapolate those comments onto the mass of stats that you have. At the very least, I would think that they would call into question what the numbers are supposedly saying.

    "Thanks for your patience, and as we fix these issues up ..."

    You're welcome. We anxiously await the fixes. Please announce them in a news release, not forum post.

    "... we'll continue rolling out infinite scrolling to the rest of the themes that work with it."

    [Shakes head and sighs.]

    "Also thank you to the people on the thread who provided calm, rational feedback without attacks or hyperbole. The team is always here for you."

    I appreciate all that you do. Really. But not allowing people the simple expedient of opting out (as you do, for example, with the Twenty-Ten background, which can be fixed or scrolling), is a very bad idea. Please reconsider.

  4. @MOS - Thumbs up.

    I think what Matt means about dealing with the footer and infinite scrolling is what Google Images does... there's a footer there, and there is still 'infinite scrolling' of a kind, but there's a button to press for it to continue. Actually the theme I am currently using does this too, but I had the option of how many featured images I have on my home page.

    So it is possible to have both. After a fashion, anyway.

    And yes - you did ask us for feedback. I quote this from the original post to the thread that became sticky:

    "please let us know what you think by posting any feedback you may have."

  5. Oh, and PLEASE don't close this thread too. I'm quite happy to bow out of the discussion if you prefer not to hear my 'voice' again on it, but at least let other people have their say.

  6. the "mannerofspeaking" user has a very good point commenting the post. I myself have also found it a bit insulting. This is not a way to treat users. And you locked the topic.

    This is bad. Putting muzzle in a topic and users is really bad.

    Why did you push this huge change without even noticing users or at least put an option to turn on or off, or at least fix issues and bugs first and then push the change.

  7. "... we'll continue rolling out infinite scrolling to the rest of the themes that work with it."

    Well, I was planning to change themes, but it sounds like they'll be rolling out infinite scroll to additional themes. How frustrating.

  8. I've written directly to the authors of my theme to ask what the plans are specifically for my theme.

  9. "It's the future of all web pages with more than one page of content."

    On what basis is this statement made? And even if it is "the future", why can't people be allowed to opt out?

    Twitter uses it, Facebook uses it, Google Plus uses it.

    WordPress.com regularly rolls out new features without taking into consideration user feedback. Does anyone here remember the changes and resulting forum threads about the rearrangement of the Admin Bar, the Photo Carousel, Reblogging, the removal of earlier themes, and the list goes on?

    The bottom line is, and always has been and will be, that if you want full control over your site, you don't host it on WordPress.com. WordPress.com is a product that will be changed to suit the needs of the landlords, not the renters.

  10. @absurdoldbird - Cheers! :-)

  11. True Jennifer, those sites do use it, but I suggest they are an entirely different type of site. Here the aim is, if I am not mistaken, for people to be able to have individual sites, not clones of each other. Twitter is what Twitter is - it hosts only itself, a very one dimensional format, if you like. Say something in 140 characters and move on.

    As for Google Plus, does anyone REALLY scroll past the bottom of the screen? I don't and it is one of the reasons I dislike both Google Plus and Facebook - I can't find anything any more and I'm not going to spend my time endlessly scrolling. Maybe that is an "age" thing, I don't know.

    The use of those sites are different. If it is the future of ALL sites, why is WordPress not using it on the forums as a trial, for example?

    I agree with your bottom line, WP are the landlord. However, there are other landlords. If one landlord fails to fix leaking pipes, tenants look for a new abode, do they not? It becomes a business decision.

    The majority of unhappy users will say nothing - they will just move. Many will leave their blogs here, unused in perpetuity I suggest. The masses are generally fairly silent and vote with their feet.

    It will be interesting to watch future developments.

    I still stand on the commoditize platform: lose your market differentiation and you lose the value add of your product.

  12. Google+ uses it, badly. Tumblr uses it, better. The website I write for uses it, but it actually works better at our site than either of the above.

    From what I hear, it works terribly here.

    Why would you not roll it out on Tumblr themes first? Tumblr users are used to it.

    I cannot IMAGINE how long my blog would take to load on Infinite Scroll. I've already noticed it's loading slower, possibly because of the server load of Infinite Scroll on WP.

  13. I dislike not that the infinite scroll is not an option, so we users can decide if it is appropriate to our blog or not. My blog posts tend to be photo-heavy and for this reason I had previously limited my blog to display 4 posts per page. Now I fear it will be very slow loading for anyone with less than very fast 'net access and far from encouraging people to keep reading - as the powers-that-be suggest - I think many will simply click off the site.

  14. Robyn, given past experience, the majority of unhappy users will just continue to roll along due to inertia. You said yourself that moving takes time, effort and needs a lot of planning. I stand behind my earlier statement that self-hosted is the way to go if you want full control over your site's presentation. In fact, it seems that the Guided Transfer upgrade has been so popular that the number of users able to buy the upgrade in a single day is limited. When the daily limit is reached for that day, you have to wait for the clock to roll over for it to become available again in the store.

    If you choose to move to ORG, I would not be concerned about this change because when people there complain about a feature that has been incorporated into core WP, someone else will create a plug-in to override it. Of course, that's not an option here on WordPress.com. :)

  15. Jennifer, I am cracking up here at the news the upgrade is overloaded!

    I have so much else on my plate right now finding a suitable host is not high on my priority list. I will wait to see if there are plans for my theme to change first.

  16. I've decided to move our whole site next week... But only to WP.org

    I have an IT guy that, ironically, only works occasionally for us-- primarily when WP comes along and screws up our site with one of their unneeded "improvements".

    The cost to move is reasonable-- and we'll have control of javascript-- with the benefit of using the same interface we're used to you on WP.com. Having complete control over the customization of the theme will also aid us should we ever attempt to monetize the site.

    We can also block any further "improvements".

    As I wrote the IT guy-- I am tired of writing him TEN URGENT EMAILS like an out of control teenager every time our site screws up... Only to discover that WP was behind the problems every time.

    The freedoms may cost a little-- but I'll be glad to get this nightmare behind me.

    I cannot stand this conduct-- especially people making unilateral decisions/changes on SOMETHING I'M PAYING FOR.(I pay for CSS and other extras.) Then they acts surprised/offended when I-- or other people-- get IRATE about it or tell them that they have made a mistake?

    Then, faced with an almost instant HARSH BACKLASH they STILL do NOTHING?

    I wrote "Matt" an email and said he could have an "option button" created and implemented into our themes within 2 hours. WP broke our sites. They certainly know how to fix them.

    Regardless, while I don't want to pay the money-- I will gladly... So I no longer have to deal with crap like this.

  17. In other words, fleeing is capped.

  18. I'm amazed that Matt would cite "usage stats" as the reason for keeping infinite scrolling. That's like building a car with an engine you can't turn off, and then citing an increase vehicle miles driven as a reason to keep that feature. No, that's more a measure of design *failure* than of success.

    Missing footers aren't some bizarre "edge case" -- people had found good uses for them, as one might expect, and were upset they'd gone missing. And for "long form" posts, infinite scroll may keep a user on site for one browser session, but he/she often won't want to *return*. This seemingly small feature basically redefines "blog" right out from under people who had their own meaning for it. It discourages expression by discouraging full ownership of the way the medium behaves.

    There's also just a disappointing "_ you" attitude that doesn't sit well at all. The wordpress.com team got an earful all right, and some of it wasn't complimentary or respectfully said. But it was on point for all that.

  19. Apparently, fleeing is capped at their low rate for a Guided Transfer.

    As you know, anybody can go any time they if they know how to do it themselves or can pay someone else to do it for them.

    I'll be doing the latter next week.

  20. rain, I think it's more like since they can't cap the number of support requests, they have to put the brakes on elsewhere. You can still flee on your own using this support doc. http://en.support.wordpress.com/moving-a-blog/#moving-to-wordpress-org

  21. It seems to me that if you lack the skill sets required to make the move one your own it's not wise to move at all. How ill throwing money at the situation and getting someone else to do this moving for you result in your own competency when it comes to managing and maintaining an install? This isn't rocket science. Here's a step by step do it yourself guide for those who are low on cash: Setting up a self-hosted WordPress.org install

  22. And by the way, what is an "edge issue"?

    'Edge case' is a euphemism for 'thing we don't really care about'.

    Essentially it is quite simple. Tumblr is getting more pageviews than wordpress.com. Automattic are naturally concerned about the financial implications of this and have therefore decided to make this site more like Tumblr. That is why we suddenly have follow buttons, reblogging, a bunch of themes ripped directly from Tumblr, and now infinite scroll.

    None of this is particularly well-suited to the more professional style of blogging that wordpress.com encouraged in its earlier days. The sad thing is that wordpress.com already had strengths that microblogging and social networking sites don't have -- it was far better suited to longer articles, for example -- but it is rapidly flushing them away in its desperation not to get left behind.

  23. timethief, I appreciate your concern and your warning. I never once advocated (using your words, not mine that "...throwing money at the situation" would solve the problems.

    So let me go into a little more detail.

    My IT person always works closely with us and teaches us what he's doing. He doesn't just do it and say, "Here ya go."

    I have zero problem with someone wanting to do their own move. I wish there were service people that could/would do this for free for folks low on cash. (I'm sure there are people that do this for others... I just don't know them.) But I want to learn how to do this and make sure the site is moved correctly the first time. We cannot afford to be down or to make a mess of a move.

    Many more people are obviously far smarter at this than I. I read those "self-help" instructions and I think I probably could do it... But, in the end, it is more important that our site move goes correctly. I can learn as we go through the process.

    Some people learn better by example, having the different elements actually explained to them by another human-- rather than just reading black and white type. I learn better interacting with a person than a set of instructions.

    I may lack the skill sets I need now but I doubt I will after we move. It's no different than taking a class to learn such things... At least with my person. I believe I'll know 100% more when we're finished then I do now.

    Of course, all IT people are not as generous with their time or their knowledge. As I said, our person explains everything. He's busy enough that he doesn't need to keep us on a chain and completely dependent on him. He likes teaching people.

    So I am confident I'll get the move I want and learn at the same time.

  24. wank has nailed it.

    I also agree with tt that if you can't handle an export, you shouldn't self-host.

  25. A question: Will this be rolled out to Premium theme installs that are pre-existing?

  26. @Raincoaster - they question has so far remained unanswered. I have written directly to my Theme authors and asked. Will let you know when I get an answer.

  27. Just out of curiosity, I just peeked at Tumblr - they don't use infintie scrolling on their OWN marketing pages.

  28. Compulsory infinite scrolling is obviously a terrible fit for the news/magazine orientated themes which make up the majority of premium offerings. But then, you would have thought it was a terrible fit for any theme with footer widgets, and that didn't make any difference.

    I don't know how much say premium theme authors get in what happens to their theme after it's installed here. My guess is, not much. It's probably part of the contract that Automattic can butcher it in any way they like.

  29. @timethief Are you still using A Small Orange? I saw in your comments (to the article in the link you provide above for instructions on setting up a self-hosted WP blog) that you praised A Small Orange in 2010. Still with them & feel the same way? I'm asking bcz this new endless scroll change is making my blog load so slowly that everything is taking forever to do now on my blog. It's so slow that I didn't post my normal posts today because didn't have time to wait nearly a minute for every single click. I'm supremely frustrated & can't imagine the frustration of visitors - who probably just leave rather than wait that long for my page to load. And since it sounds like WP.com is going to be implementing these new changes to every theme, I'm considering moving to self-hosted, hence my inquiry about your host.

    Also, what's this about "capping the move to .org?" What exactly does that mean?
    Thanx!

  30. The capping refers only to people using the Guided Transfer, a paid service where staff handles your move to WordPress.org. You can still do the export at any time on your own for free.

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