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Users Revolt Over Yahoo Groups Update 331

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the everyone-hates-change dept.
An anonymous reader writes "The new NEO format of Yahoo Groups is being rolled out to users and there is no option to go back. Users and moderators are posting messages asking Yahoo to go back to the old format. Yahoo is responding with a vanilla 'thank you for your feedback we are working to make it better' comment. Most posters are so frustrated that they just want the old site back. One poster writes 'Yahoo has effectively destroyed the groups, completely, themselves.'"
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Users Revolt Over Yahoo Groups Update

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  • Is this news? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Lanterns (1190859) on Wednesday September 04, 2013 @12:44PM (#44757775)
    When is there a major update to a platform without a "revolt"?
    • by Mitchell314 (1576581) on Wednesday September 04, 2013 @01:00PM (#44757947)
      I didn't know yahoo had a dedicated enough following to have a revolt. I learn something new every Mercurial day.
      • Re:Is this news? (Score:5, Informative)

        by Bill, Shooter of Bul (629286) on Wednesday September 04, 2013 @01:40PM (#44758419) Journal

        Yahoo only has crazy dog lovers groups left. Check out the complaint.

        "The home page is gone. People join my group to get photos of their dogs edited and honored by being posted on the group home page which is now GONE! Only ONE of the photos can be seen at ALL."

        So these are the ones that complain...

        While there are also other valid complaints, those are being fixed. I've used Yahoo groups and the past and it really kind of sucked. Glad to see they are working on it.

      • by xevioso (598654)
        The you don't learn very much at all, as a Mercurial day lasts as long as 58 days, 15 hours. Although because the orbit of Mercury is very eccentric, it reaches a point in its orbit when the speed of its orbital velocity matches its angular rotational velocity. When this happens, the Sun will appear to go backwards in the sky before it resumes its regular direction. This means there are days when you would learn nothing at all.
    • Re:Is this news? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Hatta (162192) on Wednesday September 04, 2013 @03:27PM (#44759611) Journal

      Remember when USENET allowed everyone to choose the platform with the look and feel they found most attractive and productive? This is why we have standard protocols. This is why we have clients and servers. This is why content and presentation should be strictly separated.

    • you say yourself, very succinctly I might add, why this is 'news'

      When is there a major update to a platform without a "revolt"?

      Exactly! EVERY TIME...virtually...it's ridiculous and embarrassing to be that bad at design. Have you no shame??? Imagine this in another industry. Something pre-PC...say Craftsman Tools.

      If Craftsman 'upgraded' from solid steel to a cheaper allow, stopped making Metric completely, and told users it was an 'improvement'

      That's where we are at here...only it is worse, b/c Yahoo! spent

  • by onyxruby (118189) <onyxrubyNO@SPAMcomcast.net> on Wednesday September 04, 2013 @12:51PM (#44757847)

    Ignoring your users is the new in thing for corporations. From Microsoft cancelling Technet to their lack of Start Menu to Apple's upcoming flattening of IOS to Mechwarrior's ignoring users being pissed about changes or Digg's substantial drop in users with their new version a while back.

    The attitude seems to be "it doesn't matter how many users we lose or alienate, were right and your wrong". Once upon a time marketing departments measured their success by number of new users gained. Nowadays UI departments seem to measure their success by number of users they lose.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 04, 2013 @01:33PM (#44758349)

      The attitude seems to be "it doesn't matter how many users we lose or alienate, were right and your wrong". Once upon a time marketing departments measured their success by number of new users gained. Nowadays UI departments seem to measure their success by number of users they lose.

      This, and Agile. Here's one from the Yahoo feedback page:

      "Previous / Next links missing while reading messages and topics is now fixed!"

      In the non-Agile days, we'd have a functional spec. If it's a message board, being able to navigate from the previous/next message is probably core functionality. It doesn't pass QA, it doesn't ship unless it's, you know, at least as functional as the old version.

      In the Agile days, for some reason unbeknownst to any end user, something that basic didn't make it into the MVP. The end user doesn't matter. Somewhere, some Agilistard decided "Meh, it's in the backlog, we'll get it in the next sprint. It can wait a week or two."

      If you have no userbase, the Agile concept of ship (garbage) early and ship (garbage) often even before you really have an MVP actually makes some sense. If you have a 6-month runway of capital before you go belly-up and start over (oh, I'm sorry, "pivot"), there's no point in wasting another month to get it right.

      But if you already have a userbase, the developer-centric attitude of leaving what, to users, is core functionality in the backlog while you release half-assed stuff that merely shows off how good you are with AJAX, or how quickly your UX people can change the design from one week to the next, doesn't work. It's bad for your customer base, it alienates them, and it eventually drives them to your competitors.

      But what do I know? I think discussion boards were a mostly-solved problem with USENET. (And discussion systems like /.'s actually works pretty well, although moderating something at Yahoo-sized scale is a difficult proposition, and utterly impossible for something like USENET where the platform isn't controlled by the hosting company.) Acknowledging that a problem has been largely solved and could use a little facelift isn't agile enough anymore. Better throw the whole codebase out, and re-invent it from scratch, poorly, and use the userbase as guinea pigs. Who cares if the business actually improves its product, so long as everyone in the development chain gets to tick off boes like "learned new framework" "developed new UI" and "implemented agile release process in old stodgy company" on their CVs before they move on to their next jobs.

    • Meh, the people destroying those companies must be from the future, who have seen the machines rise (or just any other group, including various ethnic groups, that they did not approve of...), and their idea of 'fixing' things is to destroy as much as possible...of course, this could be the very paradox that triggers the apocalyptic event that they are trying to avoid....'Whisper Down the Alley' and all that...they destroy the technology companies that would give rise to an AI that terrorized them, the AI (

    • Microsoft got rid of technet because of the unbelievable multitude of shady businesses selling the retail keys to actual willing buyers of MS products. MS lost actual willing paying customers. Even in the event that a seller was found and his account(s) canceled, MS didn't disable the sold keys for the buyers sake.
    • by TheSkepticalOptimist (898384) on Wednesday September 04, 2013 @02:19PM (#44758853)

      They are definitely NOT ignoring their users.

      They are pandering to the emergence of the Idiot Elite.

      Think of it, all those features could be argued as "power" features, which have been stripped out or dumbed down to pander to a growing populace of people too lazy or otherwise unable to figure out how to learn something a little more advanced than point and click.

      I mean Microsoft pulled the start menu because ALL iOS and Android users are used to accessing apps by slapping a hairy knuckle against a grid these days, no fancy "tree" lists, categorizations or having to type to find something. Microsoft might have pissed off their power users, but guaranteed there are more people that actually like the Metro interface then the vocal minority that hate it. People are NOT complaining about the dumbed down simplicity of other Tablet OS'es these days.

      So nerds, geeks, and dweebs do not rule the tech universe anymore, we are just along for the ride. We used to drive the market by wanting faster and better and more powerful in every generation, but eventually companies could not keep up and realized taking a large regressive step backwards made these products more accessible and desirable by the non-tech elite. Instead of upgrading to a new more powerful 16 core desktop, the idiot elite were dazzled by the simplicity of a tablet or phone with only a small fraction of the processing power and abandoned traditional computers, as they are with other services and games. People would rather fling a bird at pigs or harvest Smurfberries for 6 hours a day rather than exploring a world in an RPG or even getting out their aggressions in a state of the art FPS.

      Every company today is crafting their services and products to pander to the Idiot Elite because they know they can profit more from them rather than trying to appease the power user. Consider the idea if an FPS like Crysis came out where you would have to buy your ammo with real world money. The GEEKS and NERDS would have revolted and the game would never be successful. However today the Idiot Elite are throwing millions of real world money at companies buying their fucking Smurfberries.

      Companies are not ignoring their demographic, they are just beginning to realize how naive they are.

      We lost, even Slashdot is slowly slipping into a social site where people would rather debate the qualities of cat breeds rather than ripping into the merits of a new CPU architecture.

      No company makes a change to their service or product just to piss of customers, they do so because they are realizing there is a growing market of users that simply do not give a fuck!

    • by hondo77 (324058)

      ... to Apple's upcoming flattening of IOS...

      Huh? People are actually clamoring to keep the look of iOS the way it is? Why (and where)?

  • Change is hard (Score:5, Interesting)

    by jelwell (2152) on Wednesday September 04, 2013 @12:51PM (#44757851)

    Change is hard for a lot of people. Yahoo Groups, unfortunately is stuck running some really ancient "forum" software that really isn't designed to be a forum at all. It's designed to be an email list. I use Yahoo Groups daily, and it really needs to incorporate modern features. Neo brings a lot of basic forum features to Yahoo Groups, like inline attachments. The people asking for the old format back, change is hard, embrace it and move forward. Ask Yahoo to fix bugs you find in Neo, that will be much better for the community than to continue being stuck in the old ways.
    Joseph Elwell.

    • Re:Change is hard (Score:5, Interesting)

      by cascadingstylesheet (140919) on Wednesday September 04, 2013 @12:55PM (#44757889)

      Change is hard for a lot of people. Yahoo Groups, unfortunately is stuck running some really ancient "forum" software that really isn't designed to be a forum at all. It's designed to be an email list.

      What is (or was) nice about Yahoo Groups was the way it blended email lists and forums. Some people like to use it one way, some the other, and some use it both ways.

      • Re:Change is hard (Score:5, Informative)

        by Above (100351) on Wednesday September 04, 2013 @02:10PM (#44758745)

        All the people who only used the e-mail side of it just got their accounts deleted for "inactivity" since they never logged into Yahoo!, and thus never saw ads or otherwise generated revenue.

        Group membership is dropping like a log with their effort to reclaim addresses.

    • by Ken D (100098)

      Perhaps everyone who needed Yahoo Groups to be different had already left. By forcing current groups to change they didn't necessarily give them any new functionality that they wanted, and might have taken away functionality that they did want.

      Just another example of sacrificing current users on the altar of UX. Funny how changes to improve UX so often piss off users.

      • by jelwell (2152)

        Perhaps everyone who needed Yahoo Groups to be different had already left.

        In the groups I participate in, this is exactly what is happening. People are leaving. I can't imagine any successful business model that involves no new users, AND the current userbase shrinking.

        By forcing current groups to change they didn't necessarily give them any new functionality that they wanted,

        Inline attachments seems like a pretty big deal. You no longer have to mention, search the files for this picture that only relates to this post. This seems especially useful for email users (seemingly the core of users) - which I am not one of.

        and might have taken away functionality that they did want.

        There are only 2 features listed as having been removed. Everything els

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Change is hard for a lot of people. Yahoo Groups, unfortunately is stuck running some really ancient "forum" software that really isn't designed to be a forum at all. It's designed to be an email list. I use Yahoo Groups daily, and it really needs to incorporate modern features. Neo brings a lot of basic forum features to Yahoo Groups, like inline attachments. The people asking for the old format back, change is hard, embrace it and move forward. Ask Yahoo to fix bugs you find in Neo, that will be much better for the community than to continue being stuck in the old ways.
      Joseph Elwell.

      Her's a kick in the balls.

      I know change is hard and you want to go back to not having swollen-blue-balls, but embrace it and move forward. Sooner or later, you'll become accustomed to me kicking you in the balls. Don't be so resistant to change.

    • Re:Change is hard (Score:4, Insightful)

      by DerekLyons (302214) <fairwater&gmail,com> on Wednesday September 04, 2013 @01:43PM (#44758451) Homepage

      Change is hard for a lot of people.

      That's a nice bromide... and it's easy to blame unspecified 'people' but it's bullshit in this case. Over the last few months, Yahoo! has been rolling out change after ill thought out change in page layout, UI, and functionality. They're trying to be 'hip' and 'modern' and failing miserably while alienating their existing userbase.
       

      I use Yahoo Groups daily, and it really needs to incorporate modern features.

      Like what? And more importantly why? The system worked, and worked well.

    • It's easy to opine on a topic you know little about with a bromide like, "change is hard for a lot of people". There, POOF! You've successfully dismissed anyone who has a complaint against the change - including those cogent technical reasons for thinking that Yahoo has in this case effed up royally and radically diminished the functionality of an old (but reliable and working) interface. Now they're all nearly put in some "change is hard" Luddite basket. Way to go, Captain. Rhetoric!

      .

      Tell you what. Let'

  • by orgelspieler (865795) <w0lfie@m[ ]com ['ac.' in gap]> on Wednesday September 04, 2013 @12:55PM (#44757887) Journal
    Is there anything Yahoo! hasn't fucked up? First they killed Geocities; OK that one is probably not bad. Then they Bing-ified Flickr, with complete disregard for community input. Trust me, there was a lot of input, even though most of it has been disappeared. Then sports, which we recently read about. Now groups. No wonder that CEO of theirs won't let people work from home. She wants to personally see the look of agony and defeat on her employees tired, worn faces as she takes their favorite projects and warps them into a monstrous, blinged-out, totally useless pile of shit.
    • by N0Man74 (1620447)

      Is there anything Yahoo! hasn't fucked up? First they killed Geocities; OK that one is probably not bad.

      I hated to see GeoCities go... I didn't mind losing all the blink tags, but I used to use my GeoCities account for "cloud storage" before someone invented the "cloud". Too bad I didn't manage to get all my personal files (mostly university papers) before it shut down...

  • Yahoo (Score:5, Funny)

    by TheSpoom (715771) <slashdot&uberm00,net> on Wednesday September 04, 2013 @12:56PM (#44757897) Homepage Journal

    I'm becoming convinced that Yahoo is the secret troll branch of Google.

  • by themushroom (197365) on Wednesday September 04, 2013 @12:56PM (#44757903) Homepage

    The protests on Flickr after changes months ago had the same result: no changes, no apologies.
    And just the other day /. published a story about protests when some other Yahoo page changed, same result: no change, no apologies.

    People need to understand Yahoo is marching off the cliff to the beat of its own drummer, and complaints mean nothing to them.

  • The platform sucked ever since they bolted their in-house crap onto the acquired (far superior for its time) eGroups system.

    • by ackthpt (218170)

      The platform sucked ever since they bolted their in-house crap onto the acquired (far superior for its time) eGroups system.

      I got tired of having ads shoved in my face all the time. Still hate that my ATT.net email has to go through a bevy of ads for me to read it. A mail client on your computer becomes a must. Currently using The Bat, which I'm rather fond of.

  • In other news... (Score:4, Informative)

    by pla (258480) on Wednesday September 04, 2013 @12:59PM (#44757941) Journal
    And in other news, Google has rolled out their monthly gratuitous GMail revamp. And no one even noticed, because we've all gotten tired of hunting down the "please give me back the old interface" checkbox somewhere in the labyrinthine depths of the user options pages.

    Ah well, at least Slashdot limits its retarded UI crippling and eye-bleed-inducing changes to twice a decade. Hmm, probably due any day now...
    • And in other news, Google has rolled out their monthly gratuitous GMail revamp. And no one even noticed, because we've all gotten tired of hunting down the "please give me back the old interface" checkbox somewhere in the labyrinthine depths of the user options pages.

      ...And yet, companies seem unable to acknowledge that there is, in fact, a very rational reason why people like me resist Teh Cloud(tm).

    • Re:In other news... (Score:4, Informative)

      by Dan667 (564390) on Wednesday September 04, 2013 @01:59PM (#44758627)
      I totally hate the gmail change. It makes no sense to make composing an email in a totally different interface than the one for replying to an email. And the compose window is awkward to enter text into. I have no idea what they were trying to accomplish, but I would dump it in an instant if I could find the checkbox (and I have looked ... repeatedly).
    • by bmo (77928)

      Gmail interface? What's that?

      IMAP FTW.

      --
      BMO

    • by David_W (35680)

      Ah well, at least Slashdot limits its retarded UI crippling and eye-bleed-inducing changes to twice a decade. Hmm, probably due any day now...

      Here it is. [slashdot.org]

  • by Stanislav_J (947290) on Wednesday September 04, 2013 @01:00PM (#44757955)
    I have almost never viewed any major site's overhaul as an improvement. It usually ends up just complicating (or even rendering impossible) the things I use it for. Invariably, there was nothing "wrong" with the site's functionality as it was that needed "fixing," but they decided to mess with it anyway. Maybe I'm an old fuddy-duddy, but when something works fine as it is, I'm a firm advocate for leaving well enough alone.
    • Re:No surprise (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Anrego (830717) * on Wednesday September 04, 2013 @01:35PM (#44758371)

      Totally with you.

      I actually tried, but I can't think of any site revamp in the history of site revamps that I liked.

      As someone above said, there seems to be this movement where UI (or in newspeak, "UX") experts are brought in with their doctrine of "right" and "wrong" interface design practices, and their egos which prevent them from re-evaluating their decisions when the entire user community tells them consistently and loudly that they don't like it.

      When it's all over, a user either likes something or they don't. There will be an initial resistance to change, but once that's past if they are still complaining, regardless of whatever design laws you can use to justify your decision, it was wrong.

    • by jandrese (485)
      Really, it's just more cognitive tax. The old interface probably wasn't great either, but people had already spent the time learning it and understanding how they need to approach their tasks. Then the interface is replaced with a new one that has about the same level of complexity as the old one (because they both do the same thing at the end of the day), but now people have to go back and re-learn their application. And it may not be a convenient time for them, at least with regular applications you c
    • by whoever57 (658626)

      Great example: T-Mobile's US site. This is a morass of scripts, so loading on anything less than the fastest currently available machine is very slow. Furthermore, I have yet to discover how to download a PDF file of the current month's bill. I can download pdf files for prior months' bills, so why can't I download a pdf of the current month?

      Perhaps the current month's pdf is in locked filing cabinet stuck in a discused lavatory with a sign on the door saying "Beware of the Leopard"?

    • by jader3rd (2222716)

      I have almost never viewed any major site's overhaul as an improvement. It usually ends up just complicating (or even rendering impossible) the things I use it for. Invariably, there was nothing "wrong" with the site's functionality as it was that needed "fixing," but they decided to mess with it anyway. Maybe I'm an old fuddy-duddy, but when something works fine as it is, I'm a firm advocate for leaving well enough alone.

      So every website was always at it's best only on the day of launch, and can never be better?

  • Just for comparison, Google's UI updates seem to be clearly superior. They're more in your face, intuitive, and I always feel it's a vertical move. Yahoo's updates are so-so and sometimes hide old functionality and just give me the feeling that it's a horizontal change and probably not related to making my experience better. You used to be able to see Yahoo profile updates (I'm on their answers forum a lot), but now that menu bar icon is gone from almost all Yahoo pages (oddly, it shows up as an artifact

    • By horizontal, you mean down right? As in making it worse? As in reducing the features to save money? As in user figures declining? As Yahoo is going to Hell?
  • by Boss, Pointy Haired (537010) on Wednesday September 04, 2013 @01:12PM (#44758093)

    ...if anyone could get the new Gmail compose to work.

  • by ackthpt (218170) on Wednesday September 04, 2013 @01:16PM (#44758137) Homepage Journal

    Back when Google acquired Deja News I had a terrible premonition about how it would all turn out. It languished for a while, with trolls and spammers flooding groups through Google accounts and then Google finally started working on making the interface horrible.

    I had some really neat newsreaders on my Sun Linux box, where were awesome for surfing news and posting, back when you needed a verified account to post. Now Google Groups is nearly abandoned, because Google opened Pandora's box upon it. A real loss there.

  • The problem with "listening to your users" is that the vast majority of feedback you get is going to be negative. People don't usually go to the trouble to post "Yea, love it!" or "Awesome redesign!" or "I totally don't care one way or the other!" You can not please everyone. Just look at comments on any Slashdot or DPReview (the most negative place on the internet) article. Sure, sometime you bone it up, but the only way to really tell is to watch your stats and see if you are really losing users or not
    • by Dan667 (564390)
      as a Programmer I view complaining as a good thing, because people don't complain about what they don't care about. That said, not striking a balance recognizing changes users hate / hoping they don't leave, ends up in things like digg.com
  • by gestalt_n_pepper (991155) on Wednesday September 04, 2013 @01:18PM (#44758161)

    Well, try Yahoo! The comics page has gone from "intermittently updated" to "virtually unusable." The mail apps now make it almost impossible to delete email in any other way but one at a time. Good usable interfaces are being carefully and methodically destroyed.

    Is there some committee at Microsoft and Yahoo that goes around finding anything that's simple, obvious and workable and making sure that it's made unusable as quickly as possible? How does this work? Have ex-congressman moved to the software industry?

  • It needed a redesign. How hard is it to show a topic tree properly? The initial page is buggy right now, enter a search and that search stays persistent on everything you click on. Had to edit the URL to get rid of it. Once you're browsing a group it looks mostly like I remember except for the huge picture banner up top. That needs to go.

  • There's still Usenet. Peer to peer, fully distributed, works with multiple clients, no ads, fully operational.

    • by jandrese (485)
      "Fully distributed" is pretty much gone. No ISP runs Usenet servers anymore, there are just a small handful of them left, mostly catering to warez and porn distributors.

      I miss the Usenet too, but its job has been replaced by web forums almost entirely. I hate that you're now at the mercy of whatever the forum software has feature wise, with the Usenet you picked the reader that worked best for you and got the same interface on every discussion. Most forum software outside of Slashcode can't even thread
  • by assertation (1255714) on Wednesday September 04, 2013 @01:36PM (#44758377)

    You can sign a web petition to ask Google to let people turn it off

    http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/say-no-to-the-new-gmail-composer/ [ipetitions.com]

    • Anticipated Google response to petition, "Suck it, losers!"
      • Google responded to the hatred for "conversation view" by including an option to turn it off.

        If enough people sign the petition, it is likely Google will include an option to turn the composer window off too.

  • New designs always stress how much 'simpler' they are. The only way to simplify things that work well is to simply remove functionality. Gmail is a good example of this philosophy. Apparently users keep getting dumber so user interfaces have to keep up with them.

  • The real mistake Yahoo made was in taking way, way too long to overhaul any of its web properties. So when the necessary change finally happens, it's now a lot of pain for the users. If Yahoo had made incremental changes over the years there would not have been nearly as much furor.

    I hope they do ignore the users, because over time issues will get fixed and most users will get back to using the systems - along with a bunch of new people that may finally find it usable instead of being driven away by a te

  • by Buzz K (3042237) on Wednesday September 04, 2013 @02:04PM (#44758687)
    This debacle started around Tuesday of last week. The implementation has been so bad, it is like somebody in the Groups team woke up last Tuesday and decided to just piss all over everything. There was no warning it was coming. They just flipped the switch. Moderators were not able to approve users or messages for days. Images have gone missing in many cases. HTML formatting is broken or has been removed completely, leaving pages of gibberish. A week later there are still broken features. The problems are not even uniform across Groups. Of the dozen or so Groups I belong too, I never know from one logon to the next what will work or won't work. Thousands of people have been complaining in the support forums over the changes. This is not a case were a few people had their panties in a wad over changing a web feature from brown to yellow. Thousands of users have been dog piling onto support entries with comments. Some constructive, others, not so much. What was interesting to me was that there was virtually 0 coverage of these problems in tech media. This is the first story I have seen. If Google had done this with their groups or docs or other applications, I feel there would have been significantly more coverage. The lack of the tech media to take notice, I feel, has had a significant impact on how Yahoo has addressed these problems with the Groups changes. If Yahoo pisses off thousands of users and all the tech journo's are deaf, dumb. and blind, did it make a noise?
  • "One poster writes 'Yahoo has effectively destroyed the groups, completely, themselves.'"

    No, they did that back in 2006, along with that stupid avatar stuff.

    The 2006 diaspora was huge.

    But it sure did reduce their traffic costs.

    --
    BMO

  • by szquirrel (140575) on Wednesday September 04, 2013 @02:08PM (#44758729) Homepage

    There's a similar though smaller revolt going on over the changes to Yahoo's Fantasy Football [uservoice.com]. The nasty thing about the Fantasy Football changes is that they didn't roll them out until two weeks before the start of the season, after lots of people had already paid as much as $250 to join pro leagues.

    Yahoo went so far as to post an announcement to every league that they won't be going back to the original format (but they really appreciate your comments!).

  • I am gratefull for these Yahoo stories the last few months. I keep forgetting Yahoo even exists. I visit them about as often as I do AOL.
  • 1. Are any of the morons posting actual Yahoo users? (I know the answer to this one... didn't think so)

    2. I personally liked how google did with the whole upgrade to our new interface when you're ready and we'll bug you periodically to do so approach. Radical UIX changes have almost never been received in a positive light... ever. Doesn't mean they're bad changes, it's just proven that average users can't deal with rapid change of a UIX like developers can. But again, the customer is the average user, s

  • This is exactly what Usenet, particularly moderated groups, used to be great at. Now it's easier to catch leprosy than find an ISP that provided Usenet access. [Weeps]

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