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LJ's latest antics

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Oct. 30th, 2012 | 11:44 pm

You may well have heard it already — in lj_releases ("Release #98"), in news ("New beta version of Friends page, plus other features and fixes"), or in the personal journals of several folks who linked to it (friends-only in all cases, though, so no links/attributions).

LJ's often making changes that are met with a less than enthusiastic response, but the latest round of changes includes a redesigned friends page that's a real stinker. Not only has it been turned from a (themable) part of your journal to a unstylable, static system page (and not the best-looking one at that), they also introduced the infinite scrolling that, for reasons I cannot understand, seems to be all the rage among "responsive" web designers these days.

Pretty much *literally* everyone seems to hate it so far (at least everyone who commented on the aforementioned posts), and people are quite vocal in their opposition (which in some cases I think hinders more than it helps; expletives and foaming-at-the-mouth rants won't win over anyone at LJ). foxfirefey has an inofficial poll where you can voice your opinion, too — so far, more than 80% actively dislike the infinite scrolling, and almost 95% actively dislike the lack of themability.

It's opt-in for now, labelled as a beta test; if it stays that way, I'll be fine with it, but for now at least, LJ appears to be intent to eventually make this mandatory for all users. Coupled with the new update page that was made public last month, this is gonna deteriorate my LJ experience significantly.

Others feel the same way, and moving to Dreamwidth has been suggested again. I'm still on there as schnee; if you'd like to share your username (assuming I don't already have it), feel free to post it here:

Poll #1875694 DW username?

What's your Dreamwidth username?



I'm not gonna rush anywhere until LJ really jumps the shark, but given how many people have already left (really, my friends page is decimated compared to a couple of years ago), it'll be good to have a plan B.

Oh, and for some interesting background, here's an article from two weeks ago that reports that LJ's US presence is being all but shut down. As you will recall, LJ was bought by a Russian company, SUP, a couple of years back; LJ is big in Russia from what I hear, too, and one presumes that all these changes are basically geared at Russian/Cyrillic users, with the rest of LJ's userbase not playing that much of a role anymore. If that were true, though, it'd really be bad news, as it'd mean that all the complaints about changes such as this redesigned friends page will be for naught.

Of course, it'd just one more reason to move elsewhere, i.e. Dreamwidth. I wonder if I should've gotten a seed (=permanent) account there when they were selling them a few years back — but probably not, since having some sort of financial leverage ("I'm paying you X dollars each year for the service, and I'll stop if you keep on doing this") might be beneficial. Many permanent members on LJ feel all but disenfranchised, anyhow: LJ's got our money, and it won't get more money from us either way.

Anyhow, for now, I'll stay here; and I hope LJ will stick around, in a usable shape. All in all, after all, I like it here.

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Comments {8}

moonhare

(no subject)

from: mondhasen
date: Oct. 31st, 2012 01:37 am (UTC)
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I like the new format because there are no ads whatsoever... yet. It makes viewing much more pleasant.

I dislike the new format because I've lost that little block of 25 "who's posting" on the right side of my page. I have to scroll to see who posted what and when, and as I've been an infrequent flyer lately I wouldn't be able to determine quickly where my last read thread was.

But maybe I missed some information from them and there are little tweaks I can incorporate to make this better.

...LJ's US presence is being all but shut down.

Perhaps I won't buy a subscription again this year, and put the money toward flickr instead.

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Schnee

(no subject)

from: schnee
date: Oct. 31st, 2012 11:50 am (UTC)
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Interesting, you're the first I've come across so far who actually likes the new "friends" page. Of course, one presumes that the lack of ads is just temporary, of course, unless you've got a paid (or permanent) account; after all, ads are pretty much LJ's business model these days.

Speaking of which... hmm, you say "buy a subscription again", and you DO have a paid account, so you shouldn't see ads on LJ to begin with.

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moonhare

(no subject)

from: bunny_plush
date: Oct. 31st, 2012 12:31 pm (UTC)
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Only mondhasen is a paid account. There are no ads on this account, either. At first I thought it was a mobile thing but the desktop has the same feed appearance.

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Schnee

(no subject)

from: schnee
date: Oct. 31st, 2012 12:34 pm (UTC)
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Hmm, interesting. Well, I imagine it'll be just a matter of time until ads are added.

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(Deleted comment)

Schnee

(no subject)

from: schnee
date: Oct. 31st, 2012 11:56 am (UTC)
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Ah, thanks for the explanation.

The book analogy is a good one, and neatly illustrates why I don't like this approach. Making a site "stickier", as it were, is obviously not in the user's best interest; it aims not to improve the user's experience but rather to manipulate the user for the site operator's gain.

And I really do think that it does make for a worse user experience, by and large. If I read a book, and I reach its end, I want the book to actually be finished: I don't want for the sequel to magically materialize and add itself to the volume I'm reading so that I'm suddenly in the middle again, and the middle of a book that's twice as big and heavy for that matter. That's not what I signed up for.

I don't mind "load more" buttons; I think that by and large, they're unnecessary, since AJAX-y stuff that merely replicates what can be done in pure paginated HTML is superfluous (unless perhaps the page has a significant amount of state), but they don't hurt. Infinite scrolling, OTOH, is actively annoying.

Hmm, I'm curious, what RSS reader do you use? I'm actually using LJ for that as well — the majority of content on my friends page these days is feed entries.

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(Deleted comment)

Schnee

(no subject)

from: schnee
date: Oct. 31st, 2012 01:59 pm (UTC)
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Ah, OK, thanks!

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Aurifer Salavor

(no subject)

from: aurifer
date: Nov. 4th, 2012 06:19 am (UTC)
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I post on Dreamwidth, and even so I talk about "posting on LJ." Then it cross-posts here, and I do all my friends-page reading here. As far as I'm concerned, I won't actively use Dreamwidth until I'd otherwise leave Livejournal, but all the infrastructure is now already in place, and it leaves my account there free to be read by people who have left Livejournal.

(I'd have done it the other way around, except that I don't think LJ can cross-post to Dreamwidth.)

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Schnee

(no subject)

from: schnee
date: Nov. 4th, 2012 10:23 am (UTC)
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Yeah, LJ doesn't support that. (Which is understandable, from a business perspective — yet it leads to people using DW and also having it cross-post to LJ, rather than using LJ and also having it cross-post to DW, as in your example.)

And that's pretty much how I feel. I don't want for LJ to really go down the drain, but my patience is finite, too. I hope it won't have to come to this.

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