The problem with that link is that you can only display the link (a) if you're an administrator or (b) if the member is your friend. Both of those questions involve queries, and the latter is especially intensive and delay the page load time quite a bit.
That's why we've gone with "Add a comment," everyone can comment on another member's page.
We received a lot of great feedback on this issue. Overall, the top items we heard were:
From a design perspective, make better use of the visual space on this page
Keep action links on the page, so members can easily comment or give gifts
Make photos larger, so it's easier to see small photos
A new request: Allow NCs to feature a profile question of their choice next to each member, to replace location with the most applicable question for your Ning Network
For those NCs that prefer the list view, allow you to keep using the list view
What we found while working on implementing these requests, however, was the the last request — to allow NCs to flip back to the list view — was at odds with most of the other improvements Network Creators (and we) want to make to the page.
As Network Creators have pointed out, the list view does not use space very well. We realized that to add the ability to properly feature a profile question on the list page, we'd have to trim the page down to just show one profile question (it currently shows gender and location), making the page look even more sparse. Making photos larger on the list view also exacerbated the issue of superfluous white space.
Separate from the requests around this page, it's a long-running goal that Ning Networks be simple to create, simple to set up and simple to manage. While we want Network Creators to have control over the features and layout of their Ning Network, we want all of your choices choices to be in the name of making your Ning Network right for your members. We don't want to put in choices for the sake of choices. Additionally, each choice we add means extra testing and extra development time when we roll out new products.
With all this in mind, we decided the best course of action is to return all Ning Networks to the grid view, but a grid view with (1) action links (2) larger profile photos than the current list view and (3) the ability to highlight almost any profile question, not just location or gender.
Your feedback has been tremendously helpful on this issue, and I think the updated grid view will be a big boost for all Ning Networks. Keep an eye on the New Releases posts on the Ning Blog, where we'll be posting a screenshot and more information about this release soon.
To my surprise I found Profile Question is included in the coming Member Page enhancement. I really think it is crucial but at the same time I do understand it means more development work is required, and it may be a bit impacting the page loading performance... Big thanks to NING team because they are doing a great job in balancing the value/effort/performance trade-off. It never been an easy task and they would never please everybody actually.
We have to paginate the members list at some point, as we have some Ning Networks with hundreds of thousands of members.
The reason it's at 21 is for performance. We can show more members on that page, but it will come at the price of slower page load. I think that 21 members is a good balance, and keep in mind that showing more items on one page may lead to fewer page views for Network Creators.
I'm happy to look at adjusting this number in the future though.
I can honestly say that I've never used that feature on any site... and I just went and tried this on Amazon and they don't let me see all the items, either: I get 24 items per page for X number of pages. I also couldn't find this on eBay. For this, though, I'm going to assume you are right and I just overlooked it...
Speaking as someone with 530+ pages of members, I wouldn't want anyone trying to load all of my network members-- even if the server could generate the HTML and push out that many requests to one user, it's going to bog the system down for everyone else. Once you factor in the thumbnails, scripts, etc in my case the site would have to send more than 11,200 files to one person! From the back of a napkin calculation, this one page on my website would therefore potentially send more than 383 MB to the user, each time the page was requested. That is a LOT of bandwidth, especially once you start multiplying it out: if even 10% of my userbase tried it, that would be half a terabyte (TB) of data for my network alone!
Even if you put aside the problem trying to send that many files over a protocol that was designed for only a fraction of that, let's assume you can send all those successfully before the browser times out-- it would still probably crash because web browsers just aren't designed to load that much HTML and images at one time. In fact, Firefox, which leaks memory when you load an image anyway, would probably result in a hard lockup of the entire computer...
Finally, even without all of those potential problems, since parts of the JS won't execute until all of the images loaded, it would be a very frustrating experience overall, since you would be stuck waiting on all of the images to come down the pipe before the browser signaled to the JS engine that the page load was complete.
And that's just from one of the smaller of the "big" networks-- there are Ning networks with ten times my membership, pushing you up into the GB of bandwidth per page range...
So, yeah, while it might make sense in some contexts, I'm not sure that any major site would be able to withstand the bill of it being used... (I know we couldn't!)
I have a new network set up with only 27 members currently but I'm still aiming at a bigger size than Travis' network one day (I also assume Travis' is still growing, and forever...).
This is a very interesting question and we can think further....
Does the member enjoys seeing ALL members (no matter how many they are) in one page (you can call it the first page and just no second page there)?
Does the member want to see (or locate) a particular member (or particular group of member) in the first page (or at least they don't need to see it after clicking the "next page" couple of times)?
If the answer is the later one, probably the real "function" you are talking about is actually a filter, which can sharpen the view for any member. If that is the case, just re-design the profile question in your network and educate the members to use the "Advanced Search".
If the answer is the first one, I hope your network size is not bigger than Travis' network... otherwise my site may be slower when you got your member page being frequently viewed.