Too Big To Fix Bugs

The top three social networks (even though Google+ is getting up to speed) are considered to be Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Reddit is a huge site as well. And it won’t be news to you if I say that there are a lot of bugs there. Including basic functionality:

  • On twitter every third tweet ends up in “Oops, we did something wrong. Please try again”.
  • On facebook, if you are trying to post something on your page wall, it hangs. If you press “Post” multiple times, nothing happens again, but all the submissions are saved. So when you refresh the page you have to delete.
  • On LinkedIn the same as above happens – if you try to post something, nothing happens. With the tiny exception that when you refresh and see the multiple posts you can’t delete them, because the “delete” functionality is also not working.
  • On reddit you can obviously get shadow-banned by mistake (I was) and nobody can/is willing to do anything about it. You lose your account due to a random factor.

These things don’t seem to bother anyone at these companies. Because they are too big to take care of bugs. People are going to use their service even with these bugs. “Probably I’m doing something wrong”, you’d think, “it can’t be that the biggest social network has such a major bug in basic functionality”. And yet, they do.

Is this OK, or is it the road to long-term failure? I can’t tell. But I certainly don’t like it.


    • Mihail Minkov on December 14, 2012 at 4:14 pm
    • Reply

    Normally, I’d say it is the path to a long-term failure but only when specific requirements have been fullfilled. E.g. the bugs affect enough people and the service actually has a competitor.

    Btw, reddit took a unique approach to this –
    The admins engaged with the community and turned the whole thing into an in-joke. Many people thought of the site as taking care of their very own three-legged puppy. – this was a weekly source of fun(back when the record was 3 days).

    What I’m saying is that communities > websites and bugs will be fatal IFF they somehow erode the community.

      • Bozho on December 14, 2012 at 7:40 pm
      • Reply

      Reddit was the distant example I decided to put here, instead of writing a separate article why I hate it 🙂 But about the rest – I tend to think that having your main functionality broken isn’t a good sign, even if it doesn’t mean you losing users short term.

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