Does anyone else get really frustrated when trying to invite current network members to join groups? Or am I the only one who seems to have problems with this?
I'm talking about going to a specific group, then clicking the "invite" button, and then trying to invite someone from your friends list ("Invite Friends") currently on the network. When I do this, it brings up a LONG list of my friends. Since I'm the main guy behind my network, I have a LOT of friends (over 3,300 at last check). So it ain't easy to find a specific person in my friends list to invite to a group. I will try scrolling down the list, but often have to wait for the little spinning gear icon (I don't even know what it's called) to stop and bring up more friends. It looks like this:
I will often have to see that thing pop up and spin several times while I'm trying to scroll through my list of friends. It can take several minutes to bring everyone up, and then often there will be some missing, and others will be completely out of order. I complained recently to Ning's customer support about the fact that the alphabetical listing of friends is messed up, too, and Monica responded by telling me:
I agree that this could be improved upon, and I've gone ahead and filed a request for this with the product team for consideration down the road.
It's this sort of response that drives me up a wall. This is a BUG that needs to be fixed, and it's been a problem for YEARS. It needs to be addressed NOW, not "down the road." It's like they're telling us, yeah, that's a problem, so let's just put it on the backburner for now and get to it later (which means never). That's TERRIBLE customer support, esp. for a Pro network account. I deal with this problem and the spinning gear thing DAILY.
This has been a "bug" for as long as I've been managing my Ning network, and I think it's time Ning really fixes it. Is that so wrong?
Furthermore, the entire "Invite Friends" section should be improved upon so that we can easily find (search) for a specific member... not have to scroll through the entire list. This function is really lagging behind. I posted about this same issue over a year ago and someone mentioned that this "Invite Friends" function never even entered beta... that it was (and remains) in alpha status! In fact, it hasn't been improved upon in over four years of using it. Unbelievable.
what would be a better solution? maybe the ability to enter names?
At this point, anything would be a better solution. Because what we have currently is terrible. I would love to see something similar to how you invite people to join a page on Facebook, where it will bring up a window with your friends (which loads them quickly as you scroll down) & their icons and select them. But, like Facebook, it needs to have a search field so you can quickly find specific friends by their usernames.
There's also the issue about the alphabetizing of the names being messed up, too, which also needs to be corrected.
The whole "invite friends" just needs to be completely redone. As our networks grow, and as we try to manage them by trying to keep members involved by inviting them to join groups, this will only get worse, not better. Ning needs to jump on it NOW, not "down the road."
I agree with you. This "friend box" as I call it is atrocious. Is it flash?? The way it has to refresh once you go halfway down is annoying. Then once it refreshes, your boxes you checked previously are unchecked and you can't remember if you checked them, so you check them again and people get duplicate messages. It's utterly ridiculous. Plus new people show up in the list that weren't there before. I had one friend who was located right at the beginning of that "refresh zone" as I call it, and she NEVER received my messages because of it!
What happens with mine is the checks are off once it refreshes. I might have Matt, Steve, and Deborah checked, then scroll down a little, the spinning flash icon or whatever it is comes up, and then I notice that Dave, Keith, and Krista are checked instead. It's like the refreshing of the list completely whacks out the checked boxes.
Another thing is large chunks of friends will be missing from the list, but as the list refreshes several times, the missing members might then appear where they're supposed to, or they might not. I've had occasions where I've had to completely reload the invite page in hopes that they show up on the list the second time, since I couldn't get them to show up on it the first.
There are just SO many things wrong with this that the list of problems could go on and on. And these problems are not new. I've had these issues since I first set up my network back in '07. So by this point in time we are already WAY "down the road" with waiting for this to get overhauled.
EXACTLY! I've experienced every single thing you mentioned!
kopper, not sure if this will work or not, but have you tried to Ctrl-F (Find on page) to see if it accesses the list?
I agree. Another thing I don't like about this is that my list of friends are all checked by default. So if I want to invite 2 friends out of a hundred, I have to unselect 98! I have taken to just keeping track of every e-mail address in the system and inviting them that way. This feature is dysfunctional.
Thanks for posting about this. You're right, it is a pretty bad experience for people with a lot of friends. I appreciate you putting this on the radar, and we're going to see if we can come up with something considerably better later this year.
Ning Product Manager
Thanks Evan! Glad to know Ning is listening!
Well, the sooner the better. I'm also finding that some people who belong to certain groups are not showing up in the "invite friends" section as already being members (where their line in that area is grayed out so you can't invite them again). So if I send an invitation to a group to them, they'll get an invite to join it, despite already being a member. So this is indeed a multi-layered problem that needs to be addressed sooner rather than later (which was my original point in posting this).
Well, this is officially getting WORSE before it gets better. I didn't think it getting any worse than it has been was even possible, but today I noticed several people on my friends list are not showing up when I try to invite them to specific groups. Even after I refresh the invite page and scroll up and down several times, hoping to see them pop up on the list, nothing. It's just not showing me all of my friends, so I can't select specific people to send the group invitation to. Wonderful.
Guys, please get on this as soon as possible... PLEASE. This has been a thorn in my side for years now, and it's only getting worse.
I'm going to assume part of why people with very long friends lists appear to time-out when they try to invite friends to a group is because all of those user records are getting a 'send' check applied to them. If you're a creator with thousands of users in the your friends list, applying all those checks is going to take awhile.
From an organizational design perspective, protecting the user from inadvertently spamming is generally considered an industry 'best practice', with that thought in view, the default setting should be NONE instead of ALL friends.