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

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  • #886026

    samhunting
    Member

    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.

    #886131

    raincoaster
    Member

    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.

    #886143

    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.

    #886264

    samhunting
    Member

    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.

    #886266

    timethief
    Member
    #886366

    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.

    #886367

    jaw501
    Member

    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.

    https://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.

    #886368

    macmanx
    Staff

    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?

    #886370

    jaw501
    Member

    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.

    #886371

    macmanx
    Staff

    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.

    #886372

    jaw501
    Member

    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.

    #886374

    macmanx
    Staff

    You’re welcome!

    #886375

    samhunting
    Member

    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.)

    #886378

    macmanx
    Staff

    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.

    #886384

    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….

    #886386

    raincoaster
    Member

    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.

    #886401

    timethief
    Member

    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

    #886407

    nickmomrik
    Staff

    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.

    #886408

    jmmnewaov2
    Member

    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.

    #886410

    feartheseeds
    Member

    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.

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