Comments from the CEO/Founder
 
Happy to get your feedback! As you can imagine, I have lots of responsibilities so I can only check in to your comments once in a while. As I often post about tech related things, I do have developers check the comments in case they missed something.

If you have a site question, please use the online feedback form (under Help) to contact customer service as I do not read my blog daily. You can also read more about bug fixes and site status at the sitesupport blog or new things at the community blog.
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Finally upgraded
Posted:May 19, 2006 3:41 am
Last Updated:May 28, 2006 10:57 am
59285 Views

Thanks for all your support and feedback during
the recent upgrades in groups and friends network.
Now that the first wave of upgrades are running,
we will be focusing on speed, bug fixes, and
minor improvements for the next release on May
30.

Andrew
6 Comments
Temporary rollback
Posted:May 16, 2006 10:32 am
Last Updated:Jul 29, 2006 5:23 am
59936 Views

As you might have noticed, we had to revert back to the older version of groups and friends network as the software over-powered the 2000 computers that run this site. We will work hard today to address the issues and hopefully upgrade it again as soon as possible. Just the fact that the software was up for many hours means that we are close
12 Comments
New Friends, Groups, and Blog upgrades live!
Posted:May 16, 2006 12:13 am
Last Updated:Jul 30, 2006 1:55 am
60119 Views
After weeks of development, we are finally live with upgrades to friends, groups, and blogs.

Friend network
- If either side of a friendship removes the other, the "friendship" is over for both.
- "Cool New People" will now show samples of members near you who are friendly.
- Fixed testimonials so that they show up on your profile (bug).
- Fixed friends presentation on profiles so a nice selection of your friends show up.
- Friends can be sorted by Date Accepted , Last Visit, Handle, Age, Gender, Location, and Title.
- Software optimized to greatly speed up the time needed to show pages of friends (for members with more then 500 friends).
- Can remove pending and declined invites to others (sorted lots of ways including Date Sent)

Groups
- All listings of people include links to their blogs
- When viewing active members of a group, you'll only see the members who's profiles are on (you will still see posts made by them).
- Very large groups should see considerably faster page loads of group members.
- Can sort group members by Date Joined, Last Visit, Number of Posts, Handle, Thumbnail, Age, Sex, Profile Title and Location.
- Banned members should be thwarted to quit and rejoin the group.

Blogs

Uploaded photos in your blogs can now be clicked on to view a larger version of it (only photos loaded since the upgrades).

Really want to thank you all for your support, feedback and patience during this process. The upgrades are the first step in improving the experience in these areas - expect improvements to continue!

As a note, we are currently working on improving site speed related to these changes (have to be live before can optimize distribution/etc).

Andrew
13 Comments
Launch attempt on Monday
Posted:May 14, 2006 10:26 pm
Last Updated:Jul 29, 2006 6:27 pm
58334 Views

After another week of testing, coding, and releasing on other sites, we are finally ready to launch the upgraded groups and friend network code early on Monday. Spent the last few days adding:

Friend network
- If either side of a friendship removes the other, the "friendship" is over for both.
- "Cool New People" will now show samples of members near you who are friendly.
- Fixed testimonials so that they show up on your profile (bug).
- Fixed friends presentation on profiles so a nice selection of your friends show up.
- Friends can be sorted by Date Accepted , Last Visit, Handle, Age, Gender, Location, and Title.
- Software optimized to greatly speed up the time needed to show pages of friends (for members with more then 500 friends).
- Can remove pending and declined invites to others (sorted lots of ways including Date Sent)

Groups
- All listings of people include links to their blogs
- When viewing active members of a group, you'll only see the members who's profiles are on (you will still see posts made by them).
- Very large groups should see considerably faster page loads of group members.
- Can sort group members by Date Joined, Last Visit, Number of Posts, Handle, Thumbnail, Age, Sex, Profile Title and Location.
- Banned members should be thwarted to quit and rejoin the group.

We've also added about $100K of extra computers to handle the extra processing. I'm confident that this launch will be successful!

Update - we did our first launch attempt at noon and noticed login problems so we rolled back, fixing a few performance bugs, and will launch again mid afternoon.
12 Comments
Status of upgrades to groups and friend network
Posted:May 7, 2006 8:32 pm
Last Updated:May 14, 2006 2:28 am
60198 Views
As you might have noticed, the much anticipated upgrades didn't go live last week. Here's what happened and the current status (for those who don't want to read the details, we are going to try to upgrade again Monday/Tuesday of this coming week)... starting with smaller sites.

Both:
Currently, the site displays members of groups or friend networks regardless if that member's profile is available or if they are still a member of the site. Doing this makes it easier to get a count of members (b/c we don't have to check if each is active). The new code will check to see the status of each member before showing it to you. While it's fast for small groups and networks, those with 10,000+ members bog down. Much of our work this past week was to find ways to speed this up (the way databases work, if any pages are slow, it could slow down currently fast pages).

The new upgrades will let you sort groups and friends by last login, age, date joined network, handle, etc.

One thing people will notice right away is that the number of friends/members shown on main pages will be different than what they see on friends/member lists. This is because the larger number is the total number of candidates and the smaller is only the number of members who have an active profile. While we put text on the page to explain things, there will be people who freak out.

Group Changes:
- Very large groups will automatically have activity requirements for members to be shown as active. This is helpful for groups with 100,000 "members" who don't contribute to the group as well as helps speed up the display of members.
- The format of group members will also change and look more similar to search result listings (with links to view blogs, etc).

Friend Network Changes:

- We will only show the most recent 100 invites at a time. Some members get thousands of invites that they don't respond to. By requiring a decision on the first 100 before seeing more, members will know if their invites are accepted earlier. We will also delete invites that are older than 3 months.

- One delay has been in internal debate on how friend "links" are maintained. One-way verses Two-way. Currently, if either party of a friendship removes the other from his/her list, the removed per still sees the other in his/her list. Doing this enables people to keep track of "potential" friends but can get confusing. If we break both links when either member cuts the friend link, then friends would "disappear" from the member's list. I'm perally leaning towards making this change (feedback please?) but it will not be part of this release.

Friends and groups code has been around for over five years and had too many patches on patches added. Before fixing bugs and adding features, the goal is to simplify the software. This will make future improvements easier to do. We have reduced the size of the software by over 4,000 lines since this process started three weeks ago.

I share member's frustration that the improvements didn't make it live last week. We just want to ensure that the upgrades will be an improvement (faster, less buggy, and more capability). I'm not only the CEO, I'm a member too... will do all I can to help get upgrades live as soon as possible. Thanks so much for your patience.
17 Comments
Delays in groups and friends this weekend
Posted:Apr 29, 2006 7:13 pm
Last Updated:Jul 1, 2007 10:39 am
59139 Views

You might have noticed that when you join
groups or add friends, they don't show up
for a few hours. This is due to some database
problems that we are working on. Turns out
that updating the databases with more info
in preparation of the updates next week is
too much for the 40 database servers. We are
currently upgrading the cluster with more
servers as well as trying to optimize some
software.

While this jepardizes launch on Tuesday, we
will be working all weekend to make as much
progress as possible.
12 Comments
Upgrade update
Posted:Apr 27, 2006 10:09 pm
Last Updated:Apr 29, 2006 11:37 am
55176 Views

We released the new software today for an hour and there were some problems on the site so we reverted back to previous version. Depending on how quickly we can determine the cause on Friday, we will attempt another push by 2pm. Otherwise, will push again next tuesday. If you want to see what the next look is for friends lists and group members, take a look at your account on Friendfinder.com's site.
2 Comments
Groups and friends network changes update
Posted:Apr 24, 2006 10:25 pm
Last Updated:Apr 27, 2006 10:11 pm
53329 Views

Just wanted to give a heads-up on upcoming changes to groups and friends network. Our first set of changes are to enable better sorting (e.g., by last visit) of member lists. To enable this, we had to make major changes to the structure of the databases which had grown to almost 100 million rows. Unfortunately, this will either be a very smooth and happy transition or very bumpy. We will be rolling out the changes on smaller sites on Wednesday, and if smooth roll out to this one on Thursday.

Also, we've put several of the developers on "fix existing bugs" jobs for the next two weeks so the next release should address many issues. I really appreciate all the member feedback and support and
exciting for the improvements to come.

8 Comments
Browsing blogs by keywords is now live
Posted:Apr 10, 2006 10:00 am
Last Updated:Apr 11, 2006 7:40 pm
53432 Views

While I posted about a sneak peak a few days ago, browsing blogs by keywords is now live. You can click the keyword link on the main page and on any blog and see which words/phrases are often used by bloggers. It's an interesting way to see what's in the mind of bloggers. They keyword database updates every night so it might take a while before new words are indexed.
5 Comments
Swapping out active poll table for something different
Posted:Apr 9, 2006 9:06 pm
Last Updated:Apr 10, 2006 10:09 am
54003 Views

As we moved the active polls table to magazine last week or so, I'm going to replace it with the more active posts that are less that 2 weeks old. As I don't know how the databases will hold up, the first version will sort based on the # of comments (later it will be the number of commentors). Hopefully, this will help people to more easily find the buzz on the site.

I *might* later add a way to view the most recently commented posts (but a new commentor) so we can see which are the posts that are getting the most post action.
7 Comments
Secret way to test new blog keyword browsing...
Posted:Apr 5, 2006 7:01 am
Last Updated:Apr 6, 2006 12:32 pm
53977 Views

Before I launch a new way to browse blogs by keywords, I'd like to pre-release it to people who read my blog. The way to test the two places where it works are:

  • View your blog and change the URL "index.html" to "tags.html". You should see some of the more popular phrases that you use in your blog.

  • Go the main blog page and change the URL "index.html" to "tags.html". You should see a list of the most popular keywords on the site.

    Please remember that the goal was just to provide a way to browse blogs in a way that is different that doing manual searches as well to get a different understanding about the things that people are blogging about. Will probably release it in general later this week or during the next release (next Wednesday).

  • 7 Comments
    Added ability to unban banned posters on your blog
    Posted:Mar 31, 2006 5:53 pm
    Last Updated:Apr 5, 2006 7:43 pm
    57230 Views

    Until today, you could permanently ban someone from posting on your blog. When you did, all their previous posts were deleted. Starting today, when you ban someone, only new posts are banned. Also, you can see who you've banned from posting in your blog - and unban them. When you unban them, new posts will show up.
    6 Comments
    Added ability to set activity limits in Groups
    Posted:Mar 31, 2006 11:24 am
    Last Updated:Apr 12, 2006 3:17 pm
    64047 Views

    We found that many group moderators wanted their group members to participate or leave (they would manually have to delete members who joined if they didn't post/etc). We added a way for the moderator to set the activity limits automatically (we simply move people to "associate" members if they don't meet the activity requirements). Group moderators set these in the group settings.
    30 Comments

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