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Why has WP destroyed my hit count with the Topics Reader?

  1. Until recently, the topics pages had a front page layout with thumbnails where numerous posts were available to readers at a glance, and my posts consistently appeared there.

    With the new "Reader" layout, the only post that's going to get hits is the one on the top of the stack, and as a result, clickthroughs for all other posts are going to crash.

    Why is WP doing this to its bloggers? Please bring back the old layout -- at least for browsers! Pads are great, but there's no reason to dumb down a functional browser layout with a pad reader!

    The blog I need help with is ipadgardener.com.

  2. Clickthroughs from the tag pages have always been negligible. The most I've ever seen in six years here is six in one day. The biggest impact was when they made links from tag pages NoFollow; that had an enormous impact from which our blogs have never recovered.

  3. It's driving me up the wall, I totally agree with samhunting.

    Scrolling down is nowhere near as visually as attractive as scanning the thumbnails. Plus, when you get a huge vertical picture on the screen it takes forever to get past that.

    I'm going to end up not using the topics page to find new blogs. Simple. Well done WordPress.

  4. Well, negligible to me is still real. I got hits, and the interface also allowed me to scan quickly for other blogs.

    This thing is RIDICULOUS. You can't scan a glance, and you have to sroll scroll scroll down to see anything.

    It's a UX disaster.

  5. eternitainment
    Member

    My hit count is down too, and I've spent much less time browsing through my favourite topics for all the reasons above, consequently finding less new content. It's too laborious. The magazine view allows you to read multiple headlines and quickly scan the page for interesting topics, then click on to the next page. Now it's scroll scroll scroll. In addition, so many posts have youtube videos in them - so browsing through any topic it's like viewing youtube2.com or something. And this "x new posts" feed is a twitter / FB rip-off. Please bring back the previous format.

  6. With great respect, I don't find the what-staff-have-said particularly useful, given that they don't have an answer to if/when anything will change. They are NOT saying the removal of the Topics digest pages is temporary. So it looks permanent. But there is no explanation.

    http://en.forums.wordpress.com/topic/what-happened-to-the-topics-pages?replies=2

    Also with respect to people at WordPress who are usually responsive, helpful and definitive, I find the staff answer somewhat flippant and inappropriate. It's been many many days since the caterwauling began, and one would think that someone on the WP end might take a moment to help us understand why this has been done.

  7. Particularly which answer? The direct answers about it being changed and having no details on if/when it will be back, or the humorous replies there after?

  8. macmanx: I have no desire whatsoever to unreasonably diss anyone at WP. I am sorry if you took it that way. It was not intended that way. My point (and the point that dozens of other members are making on numerous threads) is that no one from WP has provided any kind of information about why this has occurred. My point (and the point that dozens of other members are making on numerous threads) is that a little advance notice with an explanation would have helped, not to mention that a clear answer now would be extremely helpful.

  9. Well, the change was primarily made to bring focus into one single way to browse/absorb WordPress.com as a whole, aka the Reader http://wordpress.com/#!/read/

    And, since the old topic listings were incredibly buggy to begin with (several reports each day of missing posts, pages never updated, obvious porn/spam tags suddenly appearing, etc), we decided to put our focus into integrating the topic browsing experience with the Reader and discontinue the old listings.

  10. So your response is really appreciated. Unless I'm mistaken, that's the first explanation from WP about why it was done. I know you are aware that the decision is being vigorously protested, but that was not the point of my post here. And I thank you for that information.

  11. You're welcome!

  12. Thanks for the response which as jaw51 points out, seems to be the first actual explanation. I can understand the engineering rationale.

    That said, why does it makes sense to:

    1. Replace a buggy implementation of an excellent UX

    2. With a rotten UX that is not buggy?

    Please read the threads from the perspective of User Experience. Modulo venting, we're seeing detailed and cogent explanations of functionality that people used constantly, and which has been removed. It's not a matter of "change is bad." It's a matter of replacing an efficient interface with a time-consuming one,

    Speaking of bugs, I just filed a bug report: The infinite scroll feature in Reader causes the footer to keep scrolling off the page (Firefox 11, Mac 10.7.3). So if you aren't getting any support issues on it, maybe it's because people can't even get to the link.)

  13. That said, why does it makes sense to replace a buggy implementation of an excellent UX with a rotten UX that is not buggy?

    Because we can steadily improve the UX when we don't have to worry about crazy bugs.

    WordPress.com has always been a work in progress, and we're always looking for the best way to make changes that work for all 31 million users.

    As you can imagine, sometimes we make the wrong choices, but it's a very delicate balance to preserve as far as keeping everyone happy.

    Keep in mind that folks rarely come to the forums here to praise anything we change. That's not because we're terrible, but because it's just in the human condition to speak up more often when upset. If there are a few hundred folks voicing their opinion against a change, there could be a couple million who are actually happy with it.

    With that said, the move to the Reader may be a mistake, or it may not. I'm not sure if the old Topics listings will come back, but I do know that we'll continue to tweak the Reader to make it better.

  14. I started my blog fairly recently...and I had planned on posting at my blog every day...however with the recent change to seeing topics on the reader I am honestly not sure if I will remain here blogging at WordPress. Why change something that wasn't broken? I don't own an ipad or any tablet...but am I correct in reading that this reader change and html on steroids looks good on a tablet? Do you not have to scroll on them? So instead of seeing a snapshot of what....like 15 or so new blog posts you are forcing us to look at 3-4 and wait for the page to load? Am I missing something here? Who is going to have the patience to wait for that...NOT me! I would LOVE to see the stats on how many users have started blogs since you did this topics reader change...how many blogs have been followed....how many comments are actually being posted on blogs....etc...if you can prove to me and everyone else who has stated that we don't like this new "view" that your stats are actually up....usage is up...blog following is up...then by all means leave the viewer. I will be as patient as can for lets say the next week...and if this topics reader viewer is still here I am sure I can find another blog site out there who has taken notice to your changes and the fact many of your users don't like it. And "discontinue the old listings"...that doesn't sound temporary to me. And if I am coming across as being very dissatisfied with this site...well I am...and I am the customer...and you all need to listen to me and everyone else who is speaking out against this change. So...you all have a week....then I am blog site shopping....

  15. Look, hardly ANYBODY ever clicked through that reader. The reader has no effect on your ability to blog, or to be found by search engines. It's a red herring.

  16. I agree with raincoaster. I've been here for 6 years. As macmanx has stated the global tags pages are buggy and broken and have been for a long time. I can say in all honesty that the flow of traffic from the global tags pages to my blogs has never ever been significant and at best is negligible. It's Google that sends traffic to blogs. Search spiders are focused on keywords found in content. Tags are not required for SEO purposes and Matt Cutts of Google makes that clear Revisiting Keywords and Tags

  17. As @macmanx has stated, one of our goals with the Reader is to start putting things into one location instead of spread out. In the Reader you can quickly switch from reading the blogs you follow, to reading Topics you follow, to finding new content. Following, reblogging, liking, and creating new posts are all right there.

    I've been reading topics I'm interested in via the Reader for months and it's been a joy. It's been much easier for me to get an idea about what the post is about than from the little bit of content that was shown on the old tag pages. Give it some time. It's always hard to get used to a change.

    Swiping and tablets keep coming up, but that has little to do with the design of the Reader. It was first built for the desktop, but has been getting some work to make it more responsive on smaller devices. Scrolling down for more content in not a new concept. If you have ever used Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, and many other popular web services you should be very used to this. Forcing the user to click to the next page and then reload an entire page is much slower than loading new content in the background and displaying it to the user when needed.

    It should be very quick to scroll through and see more posts loaded into the stream. If you are experiencing slow loading times you are most likely running into bugs and we are more than happy to troubleshoot so that we can fix any problems you might be running into. If you would like to help us fix the problems you are having it's useful to know the browser and version you are using, which topic you are viewing, and if you are getting any errors in the javascript console.

  18. so tags was buggy - and the desire is too fix it. Fine.

    But was Topics buggy? Not in my view and not in my experience. It was so nice to write a movie review and see it instantly in the Movies Topics. And get responses quite quickly.

    Macmanx - I think you have greatly exaggerated when you wrote - a few hundred people have voiced complaints about the change, but there could be a couple of million people who are happy with it.

    How can anyone be happy with it - its slow, buggy, and instead of thumbnails set up in a magazine format - which worked fine - we have to scroll and wait while full videos are loaded. How is that better - how can anyone be happy with that.

    You know the way to have handled this better would have been to leave the topics page AS IS - while behind the scenes THE READER was upgraded, or retooled, or redesigned.

    Next point - assuming all of these complaints fall on deaf ears - and the new Reader driven 'app' is the way you will go - please tell me cogently why people are not able to see their own post at or near the top of the list right after publishing. Tell me why instead of seeing every new post in a very short period of time - we are seeing posts from hours and hours ago, or even days and days ago.

    In short - why are certain posts displayed and others, no natter how worthwhile aren't.
    I've noticed that there no shortage of posts which are selling televisions but many posts written by bloggers of every stripe (for the pure joy of writing - or to offer a critical opinion about a film, book, TV show etc are not hitting the reader.

    Build it if you must - but at least test it off line before unleashing it on us. Replacing the Topics with the reader may seem like a good idea...and it might be a good idea down the road - but in its present state - it is sheer torture. Take it down until it is operational.

  19. Look, hardly ANYBODY ever clicked through that reader.

    @jmmnewaov2: The only people clicking through the tag pages to any of my blogs have been the ones who press "Like" on the first thing they find, and expect you to come back to their blog to thank them for the honour. I've seen blogs with 500 "thank you" posts on their About Page, and only three original posts on the main page.

    The tags were broken, blog posts got lost in the thousands of posts made using the most common tags, and the more obscure tags never got looked at. The new "Reader", I think, is supposed to work with the Tag pages (now on the Reader page under "Explore Topics"), not instead of.

  20. But was Topics buggy? Not in my view and not in my experience.

    It wasn't buggy in the user experience, but it was in its operation. As mentioned before, "several reports each day of missing posts, pages never updated, obvious porn/spam tags suddenly appearing, etc."

    Macmanx - I think you have greatly exaggerated when you wrote - a few hundred people have voiced complaints about the change, but there could be a couple of million people who are happy with it.

    I never meant that literally, just speculative. The point I was trying to make is that we have 31 million users, so it's hard to say exactly how many people like it vs. hate it.

    This is a support forum, not a praise forum, people come here to get help or share an opinion when they don't like something. If you take a look at almost any other support forum online, the ratio of negative vs. positive feedback is the same, always in favor of the negative. It's just in the human condition to speak up when upset more often than when pleased. Goodness knows we all do it, even myself.

    All I'm trying to say is that you can't judge the overall appreciation of a feature simply by what is said on the forums, and it is a difficult task to balance that, and we do appreciate all of the feedback.

    Behind the scenes, we are keeping track of some very specific usage stats to see how well the non-vocal majority is taking to the Reader, and we'll be weighing that along with the feedback here to shape the future of the Reader.

    Tell me why instead of seeing every new post in a very short period of time - we are seeing posts from hours and hours ago, or even days and days ago.

    That is a good question, and we are working on that. I'm not one of the developers on this particular project, though I am following it very closely. Balance is a big player here, as it was with the Tag listings.

    Now, we have 31 million users here and 29 million blogs. Movies is a very popular tag, especially for the summer film season. If the Movies tag was reflected in real time in the Reader, well, you wouldn't be able to read anything. You'd be getting somewhere between 10 to 30 posts per minute.

    Of course, we're working to tighten this up and get it running more smoothly, and if you have some specific examples to share, we'd really appreciate it.

    In short - why are certain posts displayed and others, no natter how worthwhile aren't.

    Everyone deserves a fair shot in the Reader. After all, in the tag of Dogs, who's to say that the history of the Cocker Spaniel breed is more important that the photo of Mrs. Daisey's dearly departed Irish Setter?

    Now, if you do encounter blogs that are spammy in nature, please do report them: http://en.support.wordpress.com/report-blogs/

    Build it if you must - but at least test it off line before unleashing it on us.

    We've actually been using it ourselves for a couple of months now, and we haven't run into any major problems, or rather we've already fixed all of the major problems we ran into while using it. Of course there are only 113 of us, so we may have missed a few use cases, which is why we value your feedback.

  21. This is one of the more helpful threads about this new change.

    It wasn't buggy in the user experience, but it was in its operation.

    Which probably says it all, unless I have misinterpreted it.

    The previous magazine/thumbnail way of viewing topics was perfectly acceptable to the majority of readers and it was not buggy at our end. But it was behind the scenes? So instead of fixing it - it gets deleted? That is in no way a user-friendly way to deal with something.

    Secondly, as everyone repeatedly says, scrolling down is visually less attractive than scanning. This really is a solution to a non-existent problem that has been made by developers and not for users. There is a big difference there. I used to work in the health service and one day we came out with the radical idea of building our services so that they suited the patients rather than the doctors.

    Thirdly, given the interest in a single interface, which matters not a hoot to me, did anyone consider putting the reader into the magazine topics format instead? I don't mind scrolling down the blogs I regularly read - it just does not work for trying to select new and interesting ones. Simple.

    Fourthly, I have a regular core of commentors, but random hits are now down.

    Fifthly, it really is patronising to tell people to get used to change. I changed from Blogger to WordPress, I didn't tell myself everytime I wrote a blog with different software that I needed to get used to it. What part of 'people do not like this change' is so hard to accept?

    Sixthly, I don't see what Twitter (which I loathe), FB (which I chucked and dislike the new timeline) and Tumblr (which I haven't used I do have a life) has to do with blogging. They are NOT the same at all. They are very different ways of communicating with people. Blogging is entirely different. If you think they are the same, that may explain a lot.

    Seventhly, it takes longer to scroll down and wait for the page to load 'Wait there's more' than it did to scan and flick pages on the previous topics. This is totally about scanning and time, scrolling does not enable scanning.

    Statements about hardly anyone using Topics as was can't be true or else otherwise, why would people be moaning? Many people don't use the forums, I only started because of this. Probably a lot of people think complaining won't help. They may well be right.

    You may be looking at specific stats on how well Reader is used. Given that there is no choice, it's either that or nothing now.

    'Oh look, it's really popular, people are using it so therefore are happy with it.'

    What else are they going to do?

    'shape the future of the Reader' - clearly that means you have no intention of reverting to the Topics previous format.

    It's a shame. It was one of the better WordPress features where you totally outclassed Blogger.

    You have now made it much harder for us all to get passing hits/readers, and it will take more effort to go out and find new blogs and new readers.

    People who run the system don't always know best.

    Sorry for the long reply. I should really make it a blog post, with which ....

  22. Not in my view and not in my experience. It was so nice to write a movie review and see it instantly in the Movies Topics. And get responses quite quickly.

    Posts should show up very quickly in Reader Topics after publishing. If this is not happening for you, please see my earlier reply about helping up to find bugs like this. If this happens, let us know the post URL that is not showing up, along with the other information.

    Reader Topics use the same limiting factors as the global tag pages did when determining whether or not a post should be excluded. See http://en.support.wordpress.com/topics/

    it takes longer to scroll down and wait for the page to load 'Wait there's more' than it did to scan and flick pages on the previous topics. This is totally about scanning and time, scrolling does not enable scanning.

    As mentioned, this should fast and not even noticeable. Please see above about helping to troubleshoot bugs you are experiencing.

  23. As mentioned, this should fast and not even noticeable. Please see above about helping to troubleshoot bugs you are experiencing.

    'Wait there's more' doesn't sound like a bug. It sounds like an instruction telling me to wait, there is more.

    Regardless, it doesn't matter how fast it scrolls, it is not fast enough. Visually scanning and selecting is a faster, easier and preferable process. This is why people are complaining, not because you haven't tweaked Reader sufficiently.

    I accept you aren't going to bring back Topics as was. It would be equally gracious of staff to accept that from a user perspective the previous format was much easier for a lot of us to scan, read and select within limited time. Scrolling down does not achieve that, however many times someone tries to say it does. Try looking at photography and getting a vertical photo coming up. Nightmare. This is a visual issue, and it doesn't seem as though anyone understands the problem.

  24. 'Wait there's more' doesn't sound like a bug. It sounds like an instruction telling me to wait, there is more.

    I guarantee you it's a bug if it's happening as often and staying on screen for as long as you claim. Loading the next batch of posts should be so fast you don't even see that message. If you are scrolling down so fast that you couldn't possibly scan even one of the posts, that's a different story. If you don't want to help, we can't fix a problem we are aren't experiencing ourselves in testing.

    Try looking at photography and getting a vertical photo coming up.

    We are aware of some UX challenges and have plans to make changes. Rome wasn't built in a day.

  25. I took a screencast to show how fast it should be to scroll through a topic. I was scrolling faster than I could read any of the content or examine any of the photos.

    http://cl.ly/0M1q0w162K3e3L0v3Q0l

    Note how "Wait there's more" never shows up and older posts quickly show up at the bottom when I get to the end of the list. At the end of the screencast I scroll back up to the top where there is one new post waiting, which was published 18 seconds ago.

    This is how it should work. If it is not, please help us figure out why it's not working like this for you. Thanks!

  26. It certainly doesn't work like that for me in Vancouver using the latest FF. I always get a hang of twenty seconds or so while it loads new posts.

  27. Which topics? All of them? FF 12 or 13? Mac or Windows? Any errors in your javascript console? How fast is your Internet connection?

  28. @ Nick

    Twp separate issues.

    1) 'Wait there's more' hasn't appeared over the last couple of days. But it wasn't an issue anyway for blogs that I was following. I didn't even know that was a bug, but as I say it was trivial, seriously.

    2) I can scan pretty quickly. But scrolling makes it much harder to do so. That's all. I'm not the only one who thinks that. A lot of people don't even look at topics or reader because they don't have time.

    UX challenges? In plain English, I think that is some people do not like the changes. I don't think that is a challenge. My challenge now is how to find other interesting blogs before the reader drives me ballistic, attract more readers, and not waste any more time than necessary. Those are three key issues for any blogger.

    The only help I can provide is telling you why this is a retrograde change.

    Rather than Rome being built in a day, seems to me it has been dismantled.

  29. aparnanairphotography
    Member

    Staff, simply stated, could you please change it back to the way it used to be? If I have to do this through this reader, I'll look at the first few, and then give up. I liked it when my eyes could scan over the screen and I could pick out whichever ones stood out to me. I'm sure I'm missing out on some really beautiful posts, simply because they're blog #5 on the list on my reader and I only get to blog #4 before I opt out.

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