Comments: 56
Is that the same Kate who was with you at the beginning? She was just amazingly kind and supportive and helpful and if it is, thank you to her for being there then and thank you for all the hard work I'm sure she'll put in again :D
Absolutely. I don't think this is going to be the end of the work they're going to have to do to keep even the most enthusiastic of users. And I speak as one of those overenthusiastic users.

It kills me to see people like you go - but I absolutely understand why you're fleeing in droves. I doubt anything will be enough to tempt you back, but a girl can dream, can't she?
BookLikes 5 years ago
So sorry to hear about your disappointment :( We're working to fix the technical problems that have a major impact on the site performance and the bloggers' experiences. I can imagine that recent weeks have been harsh but we'll do all to make it better with every day. I'm aware that the team has been out of reach for some time, however, right now I can speak for myself. I am here now, ready to work with and for BookLikes community. And I really hope it gonna work out. I'm really sorry Obsidian to hear you leave.
Hol 5 years ago
This is great news!
5 years ago
I WANT to believe this. So badly.
BookLikes 5 years ago
Yes, this is the same Kate again:) Ohh, I really hope everything will work fine. I know it's a lot to ask for, and your patience was more than amazing, and I can't promise more than that we'll be working our butts off to make it smooth and great again, so if you still have hope in BookLikes and in BL community, please consider staying a little bit longer. We still hope that we can do some magic :)
Oh, very nice! I'm willing to give a little more patience for her. Primus knows you were patient enough with me when I asked some boneheaded question and didn't understand that the background wouldn't come up on the dashboard. (You inspired me to learn more about customizing my page.)

Between the visual component - the background on my pages - and the stress free blogging here, yes, I am here. I was planning on being here until the bitter end - when I thought there would be one. I'm not 100% convinced there won't be one yet, but I am more encouraged the more I see here.

I remember my interactions with Kate quite well - and fondly. I believe others would have similar things to say - if they're still around and commenting. It's not too late for all of us. I know I was planning on letting some people know when the site got better if it it did. I see some of them here. Crossing fingers this means you can draw people back in again.

I'm also not going to blame those who leave, nor try to convince them to stay. Given what they've put up with already, I completely understand and am just sorry it took this long.

And I'm going to warn you, as Scarlet has done. I'm a staunch, overenthusiastic user of this site, and I know venting is going to come - possibly from me. As you said, we've had a lot of patience, but, yes, venting. Some of it comes from love, but a lot of it is a little ball of frustration that has been working up and I keep shoving down.

How ironic this timing is. I got sick and couldn't even sit up so I started copying my reviews just in case this site went poof. I'm still going to do it - just in case - but it's nice to see I might not have had to worry about it!
Murder by Death 5 years ago
Oh!!! Pretend that someone named MbD has just FLUNG themselves at you in relief and joy. :) Thank you for coming back!! thank you a hundred times! WELCOME BACK KATE!!!
Now I'm jealous. I wasn't clever enough by half to think of flinging my anything in relief and joy at Kate!

Or, wait, maybe Kate is relieved by that? (I did get super sick this morning so flinging anything at anyone seems like a bad move at this point...)
BookLikes 5 years ago
Thank you, I'm truly touched :)
BookLikes 5 years ago
LOL
Murder by Death 5 years ago
Grim, lol - definitely best you didn't fling anything at Kate if you're sick. That might not have ended happily for either of you. (Hope you're on the mend though?) :)

Also, Kate, it's embarrassing to admit, but had I been anywhere near wherever you are, I'd have probably REALLY flung myself at you in joy and relief. Tears may have been involved. :D
BrokenTune 5 years ago
LoL. There are too many images in my head now - and all look like scenes straight out of a Mel Brooks movie.
BookLikes 5 years ago
Thank you, we'll do that.
Scarlet's Web 5 years ago
Everyone is at their wits end atm, driven by the frustration and lack of communication up until now. What everyone needs to see is the improvements we've been promised from the very few lines of communication that were made up until today. Hopefully, once things start to work at more than a snails pace then tensions will improve, but I foresee a lot of venting coming in these comments. Fingers crossed it's not too late for many.
BookLikes 5 years ago
Scarlet's Web, thank you for being with us and your support. We'll do our best, starting now.
To add to Obsidian on this: we asked for contact multiple times. We wanted the Thursday candies as updates just to know you were out there and listening to us. We hear that you say you're willing to work with us - and we're cautious. We're wary because you've said this before and fled.

Maybe not /you/ but someone at BL.

I don't say this to be inflammatory. Rather, I mean to suggest that by listening to Obsidian and actually posting on what you're working on - even a list and I realize you may have some things you can't tell us - you'll prove that you're listening this time and keeping in contact.

It wouldn't restore even my faith completely, but it would go a ways to doing that. As some comments prove, this isn't going to fix it at all for some people - and I can't say I blame them. As of now, we don't know if the former owners - who have gone through a hell of their own - are still owners. If so, I can cut them some slack, but I'm still wary. Because this has gone on too damn long.

It's encouraging to see you responding, but... I'm waiting to see if this lasts.

As for sorry that we're disappointed, I'm sure you are. But to be blunt, you can't be surprised. We've been begging for some help and some contact for how long now?

I love this site. I'm staying. I want this to work. I'm just conflicted because I don't like how I've been treated, how any of us have been treated, and ugh. It's all a mess. I'm one of the ones willing to give this another chance. I've been a long time user of this site. So has Obsidian. I can only hope you'll listen to us.
BookLikes 5 years ago
I'm really sorry to hear that you feel that way. We'll do all to become the best social media experience for book lovers again.
Murder by Death 5 years ago
Oh my stars, SUCH a grand holiday present. Thank you to Dawid and Joanna and whatever magic, bribery, or promotion brought you back to us.

I'm not going to beat a dead horse and tell you how bad things have been; others have already done that above. Just know that I am here until the wheels fall off this beast and possibly will still be here even after you turn off the lights. Please let us know if there's anything constructive we can do to help you sort out priorities or how we can communicate most effectively to help you help the site.

We all love this place - please remember that in the weeks to come when people are venting. Hopefully everyone will remember that their frustrations stem from circumstances and keep their posts courteous and objective. The last several months were nobody's fault and anybody who says more should have been done is calling the game from the cheap seats. You're here and the process of getting back on track can start. Please tell us what you need from us (and how you need it) to best get started.
Murder by Death 5 years ago
Also I'll just add my experiences just in case it is any help with sorting out performance issues:

1. Performance seems sporadic; *usually* the site is slowest for me in the early Australian morning (about 9pm Poland time). It acts like there is a process that kicks in on the server side: speed will instantly decrease and stay very slow for several hours, but then it will instantly increase and be fast again. Although the last few days have been consistently slow.

2. Images and comments are always the first to suffer when the performance drops. Book pages will load, or the dashboard posts will load, but the images and comments will take up to 2-4 minutes to properly load. The same is true for third party buy links and scripts running the menus and popups on the book pages; they are very slow to kick off and load, even if the book page itself loaded reasonable fast. Database searches are, of course, slow too, although they do work eventually.

3. Write backs to the book database (librarian edits / adding new books) are taking forever no matter how fast the rest of the site is working. I have feared a few times that I crashed the server trying to approve edits, lol. The whole rest of the site can be running super fast and then I'll approve an edit, or submit an updated book record and the site hangs on loading for 3 minutes or more. Approving new books from the librarian queue can be either very very slow or very very fast - there's no real predicting that, but anything that opens a record and edits it is consistently slow.

I hope some of that might help with sorting out performance. I'll save improvement requests for after the holidays. :D
BookLikes 5 years ago
Thank you!
I can't find out what I/the site did to take away the buttons on top of my pages. When I go to my blog page, the dashboard, unlike, reblog, message, etc button are not there. I think I might have accidentally erased some code, but I can't figure it out.

I also don't want to wipe out all the work I did coding everything else: the background and the text colors. (As in I don't want someone else going in and undoing that. At least if I do it, I'll only have myself to be mad at but I might break up with BL if I can't get it working again after I cry if someone else mucks around with it and wipes stuff out.)

Is there anyone who can point out what codes I need and where?
BookLikes 5 years ago
MbD, as we mentioned above we're doing all to make BL work smooth, fast and comfy again - this is our no1 now. We're also examining the bug reports and bring all functions and features to the steady pace.

We cannot thank you enough for your engagement and your positive energy, it give us an extra kick ;) Thank you!
Murder by Death 5 years ago
Quite a few of us already know why BL has been silent these last few months - I posted about it on the bug thread back in September, I think? A few people still thought something should have been done, but quite a few of us agreed we could not think of a worse set of circumstances to befall anyone and patience was not an unreasonable choice.
Murder by Death 5 years ago
Ah - well, I can't say for sure (and Kate might not feel comfortable commenting if she knows) but I don't think there *were* any other people left after July when Iiri disappeared. I suspect (and again I'm just guessing - I have no creditable information) that Dawid was borrowing developer time from one of his other companies to keep the lights on here - or perhaps he was doing it himself. I don't think there's been anyone else for the last 4 months *to* comment.
To a certain point. I pointed out that I believed at a certain point, perhaps someone else should have taken over under those circumstances?

I'm not trying to be mean, and I'm not trying to call anyone out from the cheap shots, but a temporary hand-over of day to day operations - even if not handing over the company completely - would have been a compromise that would have mitigated some of the all-over awfulness of that situation.

Or let's put it this way: no one was nearly as patient of kind when health issues came up with certain publishers weren't paying people. At some point, if the owners couldn't deal with payment, someone had to. This is a business, and there was doubt about who even owned this - as Dawid's Linkdin account - or however you spell it - seems to cast doubt on if he even owned BL anymore. (So we have a possibility and one that, at some point, people simply stopped caring about because the experience was so awful for them.)

On top of this, we have no concrete proof that this won't happen again. (I don't mean the exact RL circumstances that may or may not have been why the loss of communication. I'm not going to speculate more than to say no one really knows who owns what or what was going on, so that doesn't help this case.) If this was due to medical issues, then I certainly think now is the time to set up a means for this site to continue should anything else happen where Dawid and Joanna need to step away for a while - if they even still own this site. Thus a lot of speculation. Thus a lot of frustration.

I was certainly willing to be patient when I found out, but it seems to run out now that someone has come back. A lot of my cynicism comes from me not knowing if that was really why everyone dropped off the face of BL staff or not. I don't think throwing shade at people who are questioning is going to help anything. I think Troy is being perfectly reasonable when he asks this.

They don't need to give us details, but just like when Lev Grossman cancelled his signings at Readercon, I got something vague: 'it was a family emergency.' The difference there is that I knew, so I cut him some slack. I assumed this was the case and cut them some slack at BL, too. But the truth is we don't know: were we being ignored, or we were being put on the back burner because of a family emergency?

Who still owns BL?

And do they have a backup plan just in case some crises calls for the owners to step away? I think a lot of us would like to know. Not personal details just a 'hey, sorry, oops, family emergency, sudden, we didn't think we needed a plan B. We know we might at the drop of a hat and are working on keeping it so that BL is kept running smoothly from now on,' would go a long, long way with me right now.

I keep bouncing between 'yay, Kate is back' and 'I still have all these unanswered questions and I'm still worried about this happening again.'

I still love this site. But I think we all know we can love something and be so frustrated we want to throw the laptop across the room at the same time.
My comments behind because it's still taking a bit to publish. I posted before Troy asked again and you answered. If there was no one here, that was a completely different issue.

But again, the trouble is we don't know. So we're left to speculate which seems decidedly worse for everyone all around.
YouKneeK 5 years ago
Hi Kate. Like others, I’m skeptical based on past experience. Over the past year, we’ve been in an endless loop that has gone like this:
1. Staff is silent.
2. Users grumble a little.
3. Big technical problems happen.
4. Users grumble a lot.
5. After continued staff silence, users start looking for alternative sites.
6. BL staff shows up to post a generic comment, usually with little substance, and the largest technical issues are resolved.
7. Staff is silent again. Loop repeats.

So we appear to be back at step 6 now. It will take an awful lot of continuous and productive communication, combined with clear improvements to the site, to convince me that step 7 isn’t right around the corner. I think the only reason you still have people coming to this site at all anymore is because BL offers something unique that’s hard to duplicate anywhere else.

I do find some things encouraging about this post. I’m glad to see you actually posting on the BL blog page. This is something we’ve asked for repeatedly, and it’s the one thing that indicates a possible break from the torturous pattern. I also think your post and your responses here have been far less dismissive than the previous (rare) communication had been.

But, to echo what others have said, for most of us it's going to take more than a couple posts, and for some people it will be too late. The long period of silence and bugs was more than an inconvenience. People spent extraordinary amounts of time trying to figure out what happened to BL staff, how to get you to answer us, and trying to find new sites we could move to. I think just about everybody has at least a backup presence on another site at this point. Moving to another site and trying to get established there takes a lot of time and effort and people aren't just going to throw that investment away casually.

This is what I personally want in the near future, much of which has already been mentioned:
1. Most importantly, fix the issues with the site speed. This has driven members away faster than all of the other torture BL has put us through combined.

2. Write weekly blog posts. This will let us know you’re really out there and committed to the site. Write about anything, but write something. Tell us a little bit about the staff that’s on board now. Tell us what staff you still need to hire. Tell us what you’re currently working on. Give us a hint about your plans for the site. If nothing else, write something book-related. What are you reading right now? (Besides lots and lots of complaints from your members!)

3. Make more of an effort to reach out to new members, both to gain them in the first place and to keep them. Fresh blood helps keep the place interesting, and your site can’t grow without them.

4. Find out what your members are looking for (this should be easy; we’re not shy!) in terms of bug fixes and features, and work on things. Prove to us that you’re listening to us and that you truly want to grow the site.

As far as growing BookLikes goes, you’ve missed HUGE opportunities, and this has frustrated me to no end because BookLikes has the potential to be an amazing and popular site if its staff handles it properly. While BL was absent, Shelfari shut down. Leafmarks shut down. Goodreads users have been pissed off by various format changes. There were a lot of potential new users looking for a new home and, during a large chunk of that time, your e-mail verification process was broken. People wanted to try BL, and they couldn’t do it. The ones who were motivated enough to reach out to staff couldn’t get a response. And then they talked to existing BL members and we told them you guys don’t respond to us, either. The damage that has been done will be hard to reverse.

I hope to be hearing a lot more from you in the coming weeks.
Murder by Death 5 years ago
@Grim: I'm not throwing shade on anyone; Troy is as entitled to feel his frustration as everyone else is. I've gone nuts screaming at the screen more times than I can count over the slow site so if I've given the impression of zen, it wasn't intended.

A large part of us here have spun ourselves into a panic speculating as to why everything went totally silent on BL and the theories got wilder and wilder. BL came out and flatly denied being sold in April, when if you remember, Dawid first updated his LInkedIn account to say he was no longer CEO. That's also when Joanna got pregnant/ill and they had to move country. So now after baby's brith and successful treatment (hopefully), they are focussing on BL again; Kate is back and it's reasonable to think that Dawid is now following his original plan from April to step down and Joanna taking the lead here so he can focus on his other company. If they flat out sold the company we wouldn't be finding out through a linked in update. Dawid's title changing is not the same as a company being sold.

In a perfect world should we have been told something 6 months ago? Sure! That would definitely have been nice, although I'd argue that that would really only have bought a small amount of time before people starting speculating again and complaining about the lack of "updates to the updates".

The important thing here is that KATE IS BACK and BookLikes is making an attempt to move forward, has apologised profusely for the last few months (which people will say is not enough) and has thanked us all for sticking with them. Kate's been online for no more than 5 hours (based on the FB response I got at 5am) so I have to ask - honestly - is beating her with our pent up frustrations really the best way to move forward? Her job is going to require her to hear a lot of complaints in the days/weeks/months ahead as it is the nature of her job, but right now, 5 hours in, is making her our venting-bitch really the best way to encourage forward progress? The poor woman is reading through our bug reports list - she's going to get the full force of all our frustrations without us letting her have it again here. All I'm saying is let's not bury her in the anger and make her flee in the opposite direction.
5 years ago
Welcome Back, BookLikes!! I just want to say that it is a pleasure to have you home again.
BookLikes 5 years ago
Hey all, so sorry for the offline weekend! As we've mentioned above we're still in the process of sorting out some tech issues but we're expecting good news now. One more time thank you for your patience and all your remarks, we'll look into all of them and fix them up to bring BL to a stable and a comfy state.
Murder by Death 5 years ago
So far it's already astronomically faster - so THANK YOU!!
markk 5 years ago
I'm sorry, but I find this new comment questionable. After being unable to log in I was able finally to do so this morning, where I found the message from three days ago declaring that BL was up and running again. You'll forgive me if the past weekend throws some doubt upon that claim.

Would it be at all possible for BL to provide more details as to what are the "technical problems" and "hard times" to which you're so vaguely referring? I'm not asking for a description of coding problems or personal issues, just a little more information that lets us know that 1) BL knows what the issues are, and 2) that they respect us as loyal users enough to be forthright rather than opaque.
Linda Hilton 5 years ago
My sentiments exactly, markk.

They only seem to have done something AFTER there was a whole lot of screaming. My eternal cynic may be speaking, but I remain skeptical.
I think a lot of us are skeptical. I'm hopeful but...

That being said, if this is an honest up and running and listening to us, I don't know if anyone saw the comment about the dash buttons - but I swear I saw it on another blog, too. If it's something I did, it's way, way too easy to delete the code without knowing what you're doing.

Also, others have said it's hard - or impossible, maybe - to fix things on their shelves this morning.

On the other hand, as Murder says - so, so, so, so much faster. Using the dash used to be a pain and now it's a pleasure. That is much appreciated.
Murder by Death 5 years ago
Grim - I found the code for that string of buttons... I think I'll be able to do a post for you today about it. Still tickering, but fingers crossed... I'm off to look at your source code now.
Murder by Death 5 years ago
Grim - This isn't something you did - you have some files missing in the background, one of them the file that drives those buttons. I took screenshots and I'll email Kate about it and explain. I'll copy what I emailed her into a PM to you so you know what's going on.
Portable Magic 5 years ago
I'm glad to see BL staff communicating again, and glad to see the site is back up again. I'd about given up on you, and am certainly a little skeptical, but willing to let you guys prove yourselves to us for the sake of the little bit of community that's still left. And if you can rebuild that trust, maybe we can rebuild the community again.
Booklikes is not dead ! I am thrilled and pray it's not short lived. Past history has me guarded in feeling any trust here. Communication will keep us lifers feeling better for sticking it out. Kepp it up BL please
Olga Godim 5 years ago
Oh, I'm so glad! My favorite site is back.
JoRead 5 years ago
Yes! Thank you!
Jennifer's Books 5 years ago
Glad to see the site back up and running, and running much faster at that! I do have to echo others sentiments, though, in that I'm pretty much taking a wait and see approach for now. We've had far to long with no (or very, very little) contact from anyone at BL, all the while battling extreme slowness, parts of the site not working, or the site being completely down. It'll take a some time to earn back trust.

That being said, it's a very good thing the improvements to the speed of the site as well as Kate (thank you!!) posting updates and comments. Please, please keep it up. I really love this site, and I really don't want to move anywhere else. I'm more than willing to be patient while things get sorted out, but only so long as we get these updates and contact from members of the BL staff.

Thanks again for everything you've done thus far.
Linda Hilton 5 years ago
Last update, 12 hours ago. Generic post, no details. :::::sigh:::::
I'm simply relieved the site didn't just cease to exist with no prior warning.

I work in IT, I know exactly how hard it is to build websites because it's my job to break them. Keep doing what you're doing, working on your bugs and updates, please give the coders lots of hugs and whatever you call the other areas of the workplace. I am sure everyone is working really hard and it's difficult to respond to criticism when users don't know the ins and outs of exactly what's happening.

I just want the whole team to know there's a lot of love and support and thanks for hosting us in this safe haven in the first place.
BookLikes 5 years ago
Hey guys, thank you for your support, great to see you all in here:) As for the update: now it's time to fix , repair & make all stable, we're examining the remarks sent by you and double check BL site & features to get rid of that nasty bugs that have interfered with the site lately. Nothing happens overnight, though. A lot of work awaits but it's all in progress. You can also count on our help and support, so if you notice that some features still experience some hiccups & require technical support, do let us know and send us a message.

And to make things clear, we're here and we're not going anywhere. Step by step, BookLikes is back on track.
:D
BrokenTune 5 years ago
Hi Kate & BL Team, Thanks for staying in touch and answering questions. Thanks for rebuilding the site and trying to fix bugs. I look forward to more of that. I also look forward to you guys posting updates, bookish thoughts, and random things again. And I look forward to building back up what we had on BL before. :)
Hol 5 years ago
My comments are being deleted again after I begin writing them. It was okay for a day or so, then started again.
Linda Hilton 5 years ago
I just had a whole post frozen out. I'm not happy, and I'm not encouraged. And for whatever tiny crumb it's worth, BookLikes, I came here for the community. I didn't come for the fancy blogging stuff -- I CAME FOR THE PEOPLE. And you didn't start with the fixes until THE PEOPLE were already leaving. What's a social site worth without PEOPLE????
BookLikes 5 years ago
Hol, sorry to hear about the comment issue. Is it still happening? For the time being it looks OK for us. Please write details to Kate at kate@booklikes.com

Linda, does the freezing still happens? Please let us know the details via message, mail kate@booklikes.com
Murder by Death 5 years ago
I've had this happen to me - the comments deleting themselves as I'm writing them. I *think* it might be because I'm trying to write a comment before the background scripts have finished loading - when they finish loading they 'refresh' the comment field and eat whatever I've written so far. I've never reported it because I could never reproduce it. :P
Linda Hilton 5 years ago
I've had it happen when it's long past the loading of the page. I'm a very fast typist, and I have often thought it was a matter of my fingers getting ahead of the "machine," but when it happens while your fingers are poised above the keys, that's not it either.
Glad you are back again, but I will stay sceptical. Just like many others with me. There have been so many problems the past year, heck maybe even longer. Even know I still have trouble with searching, adding a review. I even considered leaving, but instead stayed so I would have another place to post ARC reviews + I had some people here that still stayed.
I find it a bit ridiculous that there was no communication whatsoever from staff, or anyone else important in the past year (I have checked a few times each month, and also kept an eye on the forums).

I will surely keep an eye out on the process, but I am not sure if I will be using your site fully again. I may just use it as I have been doing for a while now, just a few ARC reviews (if the site works, because more often than not it wasn't working). Maybe if I see that the site really is getting back in shape, and stays in shape for a long time, I will considering posting more of my reviews, not just the ARCs. But this is a big maybe.

It would be nice that in the future, if you guys suddenly leave again or find yourselves busy with something, that you just let the people on the site know about it. Even a small message would be magnificent. I kind of miss the old Booklikes with weekly updates.