Will infinite scrolling be rolled out infinitely? Please not!

I just about had a conniption fit yesterday, when I discovered that my footer widgets had disappeared and that post after post after post after post after post after post after post after post after post after post after post after post after post after post after post after post after post after post after post … er, well, you get the picture, was appearing on the front page of my blog.

Fortuitously, a friendly blogger (thanks, Val!) pointed me towards this thread on the WordPress.com support forum.

A quick search revealed that, over the last two or three days, there has been a veritable barrage of criticism from bewildered, confused, upset, irritated and downright furious bloggers:

Interestingly, almost/all these threads have been closed! Rather authoritarian, eh?

The main thread was closed by Matt with the following words:

matt (CBBQTT) Feb 10, 2012, 8:29 PM

Howdy guys, thanks for the feedback.

The initial usage stats from infinite scroll look really good — people are reading more posts which means they’re spending more time on your site. As you might guess, people are way more likely to just scroll down than they were to click the “next page” button — it’s faster and better. It’s the future of all web pages with more than one page of content.

We’re still working out some bugs, and as some of you noted your footer widgets are temporarily inaccessible, and figuring out the best way to deal with that and other edge cases.

A few people have asked if “everyone” is against this why we’re just not turning it off. Well, there’s a thread like this which seems overly negative for pretty much everything we launch. People don’t come to the forums to say they like something they usually come when they have a problem. That’s why we ask for feedback on the forums, to find the problems, not to gauge popularity. For that we’ve learned to look at stats, what people do versus what they say. This is better because it allows us to get feedback from millions of people in addition to the few thousand who frequent the forums. Both voices are important.

Thanks for your patience, and as we fix these issues up we’ll continue rolling out infinite scrolling to the rest of the themes that work with it. Also thank you to the people on the thread who provided calm, rational feedback without attacks or hyperbole. The team is always here for you.

Honestly, my heart sank when I read these lines:

  • It’s the future of all web pages with more than one page of content.
  • We’ll continue rolling out infinite scrolling to the rest of the themes that work with it.

So there you have it.

WordPress actually believes that this is a good idea, and Matt has confirmed that it will indeed be rolled out to other themes.

O.M.G.

They cannot possibly be serious.

Can they?

About Reggie

"To see a world in a grain of sand, And a heaven in a wild flower, Hold infinity in the palm of your hand, And eternity in an hour."
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17 Responses to Will infinite scrolling be rolled out infinitely? Please not!

  1. Val says:

    “They cannot possibly be serious. Can they?”

    Unfortunately… yes, they can.

    Think of WordPress.com as a testing ground for their WordPress.org software for self-hosting sites. Not all of what we get here ends up there, but much of it does. I have a friend on a more commercial site over there who writes about the software and everytime there’s an upgrade to a new version (which self-hosters have to do to avoid security problems with old versions) he gets a shock over what has happened. Us – well, we have it all the time, it’s ongoing. And as many of the long-time users of the forums say, one generally has to put up or shut up. Me, I’m sick to the teeth of both putting up and shutting up.

    • Reggie says:

      Thank you for explaining that, Val. I noticed that you have increasingly been weighing in on the forum discussions – good on you! Hopefully, there’ll be even more vigorous protests joining in, once this feature is rolled out to other themes. I don’t quite know what to do for now, though, as there simply aren’t enough hours in the day to clean up my infinitely long front page by using the ‘more’ tag on every single post! Sheesh, is that what it is going to come down to?

      So NOW what? Where does this leave you and me and thousands of others in the same boat?

  2. Kathy says:

    I hope it all works out. I hope you are breathing more evenly as the weekend winds down…

  3. Nina Duncan says:

    I have no problem if they roll it out all over the place…. I would just like the option to toggle on / off – opt out! Thats all. I just dont get why they wouldnt…..

    • Reggie says:

      Hello Nina – I don’t get it either. I would think it should be a really straightforward option to implement. Ironically, when I go into my ‘Reading’ sub-menu, it still says “Blog pages show at most (10) posts”… Ye-e-e-eh, ri-i-ight. I would think that’s the optimal place to put the on-off button!

  4. truels says:

    It’s beginning to seem like a hopeless fight….?!
    While you gather more power – I posted a flower (also) to you today ;-)

  5. Reggie says:

    If you want to keep up-to-date with what is happening on the WordPress.com forums with regard to infinite scrolling, have a look at this tag:

    http://en.forums.wordpress.com/tags/infinite-scrolling

  6. Reggie says:

    Another blogger has also weighed in on the debate and given a succinct summary of why WordPress.com’s unilateral decision to implement this feature was such a bad idea:

    http://goodjohnjr.wordpress.com/2012/02/12/2-12-2012-wordpress-com-infinite-scrolling-protest/comment-page-1/

  7. anneinpt says:

    I found your article by searching for “infinite scrolling” on the forums. They’ve given us an option to disable it! (I found that on another blog post). Just go to settings – reading – and unclick the “infinite scroll” button.

  8. Houdini says:

    I don’t have bottom widgets – and so have to be honest and say I like infinite scrolling ;-) A lot of people don’t click on the older posts button and so miss out on a lot of beautiful photographs and interesting posts. I agree though, that it should be able to be customised at the discretion of the blogger! Well done on your fight xx

    • Reggie says:

      Giggle – that’s quite okay, Al, you’re *allowed* to disagree. ;-) I just didn’t like that my footer widgets had disappeared, and because many of my posts contain A LOT of photographs, it makes it very slow and cumbersome to navigate and scroll down.

  9. Oh no . . . hope I’m going to come across a future post (I still have quite a few to go!) which says that WordPress changed there minds. I just checked out my photoblog (which has the TwentyTen theme and it has a “Load more posts” button at the bottom.

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