SLOWLY Feedback – The Good, Bad and Ugly ?

Time to write up

Thoughts have crossed my mind, many expressed in various comments (on our subReddit, on Telegram groups, on Feedback site).

The Slowly Feedback site is up and running for two months now, it first arrived and was reported here on April 29.

Much has happened since. Things matured, improved in many ways. But there are still some reasons for a bit of concern. So, let's look at what's up?

The Good

It was a nice surprise to users who are fans and collectors of Slowly's cool stamps. Soon after we first noticed the site, people started commenting, adding new topics, supporting ideas they liked.

One of my first and most pleasant experiences was with the 'Car Rapide' proposal for a new Senegal location stamp. A pen pal and friend wrote it, and it had merit.

We joined in, and the idea became a new stamp in about 30 days. Wow. This was a pleasant surprise, and the June 2022 Slowly stamps release included 4 other stamps also user-proposed at the site.

New ideas appearing

Given the Slowly team's attention and care to those, many of us felt inspired to suggest other ideas. Some of us feel it is important to have at least one location stamp for all countries, for example – and we acted on it.

Starting in a topic with a request for some attention to the Democratic Republic of Congo. Thanks to it, the D.R.C. just got their national flag – right in time for their Independance Day, June 30!

The conversation in that topic soon evolved into a detailed list of all stamp-less countries. Those users who supported the idea got to work, and now have about 35 topics with requests for various countries; all of which so far lacked their own stamps.

A reddit topic and a Blog post listed all of those, with an explanation of the idea, and request for people's support – by voting in the directly linked topics.

Nice and easy, right?

Some progress was made seen by various proposals moving up – to Under Review, and later to the Planned, In Progress and finally, Completed stages.

The July 2022 Release batch brought 4 new Location stamps – which hadn't happened in a year or so. All 4 are user proposed items, now available to the country's residents for free. And to everyone else as well, via the random sale in the World Explorer feature.

Congratulations to these friends who made that happen!

The Feedback site is exceeding by far the Slowly team's expectations, in terms of suggestions and proposals; both in sheer volume and in many cases, quality of the presented ideas. Team members are working hard, and thanks to Shiro, the site has been cared for.

A number of our supported Location ideas are in the Under Review stage, so let's wait for them to get approved and moved to production, hopefully.

The Bad

Nothing is perfect, which can leave room for improvement. Some things we can affect change on, if we focus and try; others are more difficult, but maybe we can discuss and highlight the problems – and influence directions.

Case in point, some aspects of the Feedback site, which are mostly out of Slowly team's hands, being rooted on issues with the Canny software the site is using. I have discussed this in comments, approached the team, and even posted directly on Canny's own feedback site.

What problems ?

The Canny software feels a bit like 'work-in-progress'; unfinished, and sometimes a bit amateurish. A harsh criticism, but I mean it in a positive way; they can improve it. if attention is paid to user concerns.

A list of these:

The all important landing zone

The default landing on the Feedback site shows all proposals sorted by 'TRENDING' – which leads the ones already at the top of that list getting seen much more than the others.

This might be the cause of some simpler proposals [1], [2], [3], [4], getting a 400 plus vote score, while many worthwhile proposals languish, and appear not seen at all.

I would love having an option in my user profile at least, to set the Sorting method to show NEW posts as a default.

User fatigue ?

Any frequent site visitor will have seen the earlier proposals listed in Trending and supported them, or not, already. Showing them every single time is not needed but again this seems to be Canny's idea of how things should work.

If the default, landing zone for all users was set to NEW , it could generate more views and user interactions with the new suggestions than the current 'Trending' method.

Large corporations maintain tight control of the user's feed view settings, and manipulate what gets shown – for monetary gain from ads, for getting users to expand their interests and spending more time in their site, for example.

There is no advertising on Slowly's Feedback site, and sadly a request I made for this change was declined – as it's not in the current Canny Administrator control options, according to the Slowly team reply.

Canny's insistence on Trending as a default is, in my view, substantially distorting topic voting scores. And also worsening content discovery, as many users never dig into the controls to find and see the NEW topics.

The Ugly

Well, there is that, too. 😕🙄

And discussing it is the best we can do to improve things. The root of the problem is the lack of some common Forum tools in the Canny platform.

Having been in Forums for about 30 years now, and an active member, supporter, moderator and admin staff in various places over time, I feel a bit dismayed by this. 😕

Sh!t happens the popular saying goes. And we have seen this. I have been personally attacked, by a more or less random account, for polite yet critical comments on a topic they felt attached to. It was uncalled for, and thankfully I managed to deal with it.

How? A good question.

One of the only possible tools we as users have to remove offending replies is to delete our own comment – selecting the one the offender replied to could lead to ours and all following comments to disappear in thin air.

This does work, but sometimes it doesn't – the reason is still a bit unclear. It's like the Edit posts button, which we have but then don't; the threshold for the transition to 'no editing allowed' is not documented anywhere on Canny's site, last time I checked. 🙄

Another good friend received fierce, demeaning commentary as well, but he declined to use this method, and both his comments and the attacker's are still there.

No reporting button, remember?

If we really want to get someone's attention, your Best bet is to TAG someone from the Slowly team – my suggestion being...

@Shiro from Slowly who has been corteous, professional and polite in all my interactions with them.

Thank you, Shiro, your work is much appreciated! 😎🌟👍

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