Forum » Feedback and Ideas

What the hell happened to all the shoutboxes?

 
  • Hi Everyone

    Thanks for your feedback.

    The reduction in the number of shouts on some pages isn't a bug. It's one of a range of small changes to improve the speed and user experience of important pages on the site. Our tests showed that pages with fewer shouts worked better for most people. I'm sorry that some of you don't like the change.

    As always, we had to consider the needs of the different people who use the site, and balance them against each other.

    Pages with fewer shouts are cleaner, and they load faster, which is a benefit to everyone. As a significant majority (over 90%) of people visiting these pages don't use the shoutboxes at all, we felt it was justifiable to reduce the number of shouts displayed on the first page.

    We recognise that this means that people who want to see shouts 9 to 20 will now have to make one more click, but I hope you can understand why we feel this was the right decision.

    • MATI9630 sa...
    • Användare
    • 22 maj 2012, 10:13
    Sure, why make the last.fm even less SOCIAL music service?
    Well, at least you brought 20 shouts on events.

    The best option would be to choose in settings the number of shouts you want to display... yes, it'd mean some little extra programming. But wouldn't everyone be happy?

    Also, does it really make these pages load faster... These 2 seconds don't matter at all, and just because majority of people don't leave a shout everytime they visit artist page, it doesn't mean they don't read the shoutbox...

    edit: um, no, you haven't brought it back on event pages, I was mistaken.
    So yeah, smart move - reducing it on pages which actually need bigger amount of shouts.
    I don't want to be rude, but my research showed that artist page with 1 shout load even faster. Top 15 tracks? Who needs this, top #1 would be enough. Or top #8, you like this number.
    Anyway, I'm bringing adblock back - this way pages will load even more faster :)

    /\ true /\
  • The best option would be to choose in settings the number of shouts you want to display... yes, it'd mean some little extra programming. But wouldn't everyone be happy?
    I kind of agree with this.

    In the website settings, under display preferences there could be an option for displaying the default number of shouts in shoutboxes.

    e.g. None, 8, 13, 21,... (default remains 8)

    Seems like a reasonable request to me, but I'm not in the design or development team, so I've no idea what kind of work is involved. +1 from me, for all it's worth.

    • ben-xo sa...
    • Medarbetare
    • 22 maj 2012, 11:44
    My experience of sites where you can choose to have lots of shouts shown at once is that you think "YESSSS! 100 SHOUTS PER PAGE! GIVE ME ALL THE SHOUTS!" and then later find the site so slow and annoying that you use it less. That's MY 2 cents worth. N.B i'm also not on the design team ;)

    Check out my latest Drum'n'Bass mixes at http://www.mixcloud.com/benxo (it scrobbles)
    • -Trail- sa...
    • Användare
    • 22 maj 2012, 13:37
    Seems like having only 8 shouts on a page will all but kill any discussion that could potentially have happened on artist pages.
    In the past when several users have had a back and forth about an artist the conversation usually lasts for longer than 8 shouts, with several non relevant (to the discussion) shouts popping up as well in between said back and forth. I feel as though a limit to only 8 shouts will deter people from responding to earlier shouts as they cannot immediately see them.

    Also, on incredibly popular artist pages, such as Lady Gaga for instance, there is a high chance the most recent 8 shouts will be "I love Lady Gaga, she saved my life [38]" over and over again. This makes the shoutboxes pretty much redundant on pages that receive hundreds of shouts a day. Just my thoughts.

    • [Raderad användare] sa...
    • Användare
    • 22 maj 2012, 14:24
    If you're going to limit the visible comments, then perhaps having AJAX for shoutboxes could be a worthwhile change as well. Scrolling down the page to the bottom would give you more comments or clicking "show more" would give you more visible comments, without taking the user to another page and away from the main (artist) page.

  • I agree fully with Maddieman and test_room. Please can we have the option? That way we can choose if we want to load the shoutbox and how much of it we want to load? Like the charts we have on our profile pages? Say we can choose whether to show no shouts for loading purposes, 10 shouts, 20...and then cap it at 30 or something? That would solve the loading time problem and also make it so Last.fm users can choose the extent of the 'social' element. I know some people don't visit artist pages to use the shoutbox but giving the user the option and also to choose what content we see would make the site even cooler than it is. I don't see a problem with this, i think it'd be a great new feature actually.

  • ben-xo said:
    My experience of sites where you can choose to have lots of shouts shown at once is that you think "YESSSS! 100 SHOUTS PER PAGE! GIVE ME ALL THE SHOUTS!" and then later find the site so slow and annoying that you use it less. That's MY 2 cents worth. N.B i'm also not on the design team ;)


    That's just common sense though, isn't it? Probably only complete n00bs would take that approach, lol. If the shouts are capped at 20 or 30, say...that'd be an improvement for all.

    • Schander sa...
    • Användare
    • 22 maj 2012, 16:38
    Ugh, I can't believe this... since when does regression equal improvement? For me, there's virtually no detectable change in loading speed... so (at least for me) that argument doesn't make any sense whatsoever.

    -Trail- said:
    Seems like having only 8 shouts on a page will all but kill any discussion that could potentially have happened on artist pages.

    Exactly this! I don't think I'm even gonna bother any longer, if it stays like this. Imagine what will happen whenever a (popular) artist releases a new album...

    I'm hoping someone will be writing a Stylish script for this, if that's even possible.

    • [Raderad användare] sa...
    • Användare
    • 22 maj 2012, 18:52
    Sorry, but this doesn't make sense. The pages aren't loading any faster (they didn't load slowly in the first place, or am I mistaken?), and -Trail- was right about it killing discussion.

    Redigerat av en raderad användare den 23 maj 2012, 12:24
    • [Raderad användare] sa...
    • Användare
    • 22 maj 2012, 18:57
    Also, this means that all the pages have a massive blank space underneath the shoutbox.. it's ugly.

  • I have to say artist pages didn't load slowly for me either and i have a dinosaur of a computer, lol. Maybe they'll take our comments on board and reach a conclusion that will suit everybody.

  • I don't like this either. If anything, I would have wanted them to increase the number of shouts shown, not reduce them :/

  • just chiming in to say I don't approve or see any benefit of this change either. maybe if enough of us complain, they can bring it back to the way it was, or, at the very least provide an option in the settings as mentioned above.

    not quite there...

    • MATI9630 sa...
    • Användare
    • 22 maj 2012, 22:57
    If that* is your idea of pages loading faster, then you understand the word 'speed' totally different than I do.

    Don't you think we deserve at least some official response from the design team? Commenting my, supported by some, idea?



    *last.fm being down for the latest hour or so. Probably more. If that was supposed to revert changes/bring the option in website settings... then I take my words back.

    /\ true /\
  • Last.fm being down for the last hour has only messed up the loading of images in Chrome if anything, lol. Hoping this is a glitch. Trying a different browser...but anyway, this is off-topic.

    ETA: Never mind, fixed. Onwards...

    • Schander sa...
    • Användare
    • 23 maj 2012, 02:22
    I'm having a hard time loading ANYTHING at the moment... of which image browsing is the utter worst. I keep getting all kinds of error messages. I believe there was some shoutbox "improvement" made, a few months back? A change in font size, or basic implementation? Ever since then, everything seems to have gone downhill for me. How 'bout making the shoutbox itself more viable, in stead of simply downsizing it...

  • Honestly, Last.fm only exists anymore to collect our listening data. Site functionality is mostly an afterthought, and as demonstrated by the slow performance and downtime tonight, the reduction of shouts in the shoutbox was done simply to reserve the site's limited bandwidth. Sigh. I don't really blame the staff, they do what they can within the restraints, but I wish there could at least be some forthrightness on this.

    • dankine sa...
    • Användare
    • 23 maj 2012, 02:57
    Bolshevized said:
    Honestly, Last.fm only exists anymore to collect our listening data. Site functionality is mostly an afterthought, and as demonstrated by the slow performance and downtime tonight, the reduction of shouts in the shoutbox was done simply to reserve the site's limited bandwidth. Sigh. I don't really blame the staff, they do what they can within the restraints, but I wish there could at least be some forthrightness on this.


    pull some more out?

    "Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities"
    "I don't want to believe, I want to know"

    Auto Corrections Group
  • unless the change was supposed to make loading less rather than more efficient, i don't think it's working. i've been getting an ever increasing amount of grey "cup of tea" pages these past hours (almost every fourth or fifth page-load ends up like this).
    *sigh* the site is going to the dogs, becoming less and less useful with each "update".

    not quite there...

    • MATI9630 sa...
    • Användare
    • 23 maj 2012, 09:58
    Still 8 shouts.
    Still no response.

    So I guess that was made just for the money to have extra earnings on ads.
    Cheap move.

    /\ true /\
  • Yet another update to apparently reduce the social aspect of last.fm, which is what everyone liked about this site to begin with.

    Sophisticated.
  • Give 'em a chance to listen to our feedback, there might be a way forward for all of us with this. Not having at least the option does suck...and i would have thought more than less than 10% of us use the shoutbox to be honest...but they might listen.

  • Hello again everyone,

    I posted a comment earlier explaining why we have reduced the number of shouts per page. If you haven't read it, that would be a good place to start.

    There is no motivation behind this decision apart from the ones I've already stated.

    Nobody here wants to make Last.fm "less social" or to make shoutboxes less interesting. But our data clearly shows that shoutboxes are used only by a small minority of the people who visit Last.fm (when I say "used" I'm referring both to posting shouts, and to scrolling down to read them. We collect data on both).

    We will monitor the effect of the changes, and if there is any measurable change in the way people use shoutboxes, we'll reassess our decision. We should have enough data to make a judgement in a couple of weeks.

    I would also be very interested to hear about the concrete and specific ways this change affects you personally. What are the things that you're not able to do now, compared to before?

    Some responses to other comments:

    1. Making it a user preference. There are no plans to do this at present. Each time you add a user preference it adds incrementally to the complexity of the site, which is not something we take lightly. The site is complicated enough already. We would consider this if we find that there's a real conflict between two requirements, and no possible compromise. That's not yet true in this case.

    2. Page load times. Fewer shouts means we can serve pages quicker. This is an improvement that potentially benefits tens of millions of people who visit these pages every month. Obviously there are other factors that can influence page load times, many of which are beyond our control. As far as I know, last night's downtime (sorry about that) was in no way related to the issues we're discussing here.

    3. Other solutions. Test_room: we're already working on the solutions that you mentioned.

    Thanks to all of you for sending feedback, and for caring about Last.fm.

  • Yeah, i can appreciate that it'd take a lot of programming probably...

    I would also be very interested to hear about the concrete and specific ways this change affects you personally. What are the things that you're not able to do now, compared to before?

    Keep track of discussion easily. We have some quite in-depth conversations that take place, often including a lot of different users, on these shoutboxes...'off-topic' shouts can push the conversations further and further down the page...and with less shouts they're just getting lost now. It takes more time to keep pressing 'load more' or whatever it is and scrolling all the way down to find what was last said that's remotely relevant...and in that way it sort of kills a discussion. It doesn't 'help' the social element of Last.fm.

    Aw well.

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