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

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  • #886411

    macmanx
    Staff

    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.

    #886412

    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 ….

    #886416

    nickmomrik
    Staff

    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.

    #886417

    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.

    #886418

    nickmomrik
    Staff

    ‘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.

    #886419

    nickmomrik
    Staff

    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!

    #886420

    raincoaster
    Member

    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.

    #886421

    nickmomrik
    Staff

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

    #886422

    @ 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.

    #886425

    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.

    #886426

    nickmomrik
    Staff

    Staff, simply stated, could you please change it back to the way it used to be?

    We have no plans to change it back at this time.

    #886427

    timethief
    Member

    @nickmomrik
    Despite the fact I don’t like the answer, I do thank you for the clarity.

    #886428

    samhunting
    Member

    I want to thank an engineer for responding. I’ll do a more detailed response later, but for now and quickly–

    It’s the UX that matters. There is all the difference in the world between arriving at a page of thumbnails YOU CAN TAKE IN AT A SINGLE GLANCE, and scroll, scroll, scroll, no matter how fast the scrolling takes place.

    From an engineer’s standpoint (and using the computers I bet most engineers have ;-) the fast scrolling is a technical achievement — and I’m sure it’s an excellent one. But it’s the difference between speed and velocity — velocity is speed with direction. All the speed in the world makes no difference if you’re going in the wrong direction, and from the UX perspective, that’s exactly what’s happening.

    As for “Rome” wasn’t built in a day, sure. But last I checked, Rome wasn’t ripped out from under the inhabitants without notice, and a street system they knew and could navigate ripped out and replaced with a “speedy” street system they didn’t know and didn’t take them where they wanted to go! There really is a trust issue here in how this rollout was done. The best way to address it is to give the users some sort of commitment to the kind of UX they’re telling WP that they want. We’re not just venting here.

    #886429

    samhunting
    Member

    We have no plans to change it back at this time.

    Based on what? What requirements does the new interface satisfy? User testing?

    #886430

    samhunting
    Member

    @roughseasinthemed

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

    Ding!

    #886433

    markjwallis
    Member

    What a big, glitchy disaster.

    So you desperately want to be like Twitter and (you’re kidding) Tumblr? Blogging fulfils an entirely different social function so why force everyone to homogenise their user experience?

    It doesn’t matter how many engineers assure us that it’s for our own good: it isn’t. It’s a great big PR disaster. Huge. And no one’s really listening to us.

    We get a pretty video showing us how fast a lucky engineer can scroll, but if it’s an inferior system it can travel at light speed and it won’t make any difference!

    You have to listen to your users, or your users won’t use you any more, and you’ll lose everyone to one of your competitors. That could actually be happening already.

    I think we should all switch our blogs to Private in Privacy settings on the dashboard so we don’t bring any traffic at all to a company that rudely ignores us.

    Who mentioned Rome? Can you smell burning…?

    #886435

    I am about to loose interest in checking out other blogs and I think the same is happening to other people. In the last days I have had about 20 less visitors per day. I never know if I am looking at the blogs I’m subscribed to or at the blogs categorized under a particular tag. Don’t like it. They could have introduced reader (errr…or was it there all the time?) and kept to tags pages as before….

    #886437

    My hit count from new users has significantly reduced too even though I post at high usage times, and I am also less likely to scan through to look for new content. I just conclude that people can’t be bothered scrolling through.

    The previous format was compact and easy to read. Now whenever a post has an image or video there is a massive scroll through of said image and video. The standout blogs stood out, now they are lost in a stream of annoyance – a stream of annoyance that never stops. You can never reach the bottom for long enough to click on the forums (or any link on the bottom of the page). Quicker to flick over to google and search from there.

    #886439

    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.

    That’s great, in that sense the interface is slicker… how about showing thumbnail views, presenting the first few lines of text, rather than loading full images at almost full size and hiding youtube videos. This would reduce the amount of scrolling between posts, and compact the vast number of posts into something more easily scanned.

    #886440

    losingjulz
    Member

    I have been sad to see my viewership drop since the change and have assumed it was due to the recent change from topics to reader. I have been having a hard time with the “wait there’s more” message also but mainly when I am trying to find my latest posts which I never seem to be able to find, I only had this problem a few times prior to the switch. I do need to make a post thanking my followers for continuing to be so loyal but I do miss the newbie viewers.

    I understand the buggie issues and trying to make your tech guys’ lives easier but I know many folks prefer WP.com vs WP.org because of the sense of community that came with the old Topic view. As I started my current blog always intending to gear it towards SEO and eventually move it off of WP.com this change has just pushed me to work toward that change sooner than I intended.

    I do have to say it has reduced the pressure I felt some days to go and find new blogs to look at and read. I find the new reader format unappealling and that is enough to discourage me from “just browsing”. I’ll use it to look up specific things but won’t be using it for “window shopping” most days.

    As a former CS manager I do not envy the position you have been put into nickmomrik but do appreciate your honesty. You are not an upper mucky muck that makes these decisions but you get the unpleasent job of trying to defend it. For all we know you don’t like it either…

    Anyways, thanks for listening to me ramble everyone. I hope you have a great weekend inspite of being annoyed with the current state of WP.

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