TalkTemari & JTA MentorDiscuss – Neo Impact on Groups


TalkTemari, created January of 2000, currently has 789 members; JTA MentorDiscuss, created in October of 2009 as a sub-group of TalkTemari, has 75 members – both stats as of this writing. Both group memberships are supporting moving to another service since, in particular, the photo saving issue has rendered us defunct.

The groups study and practice Japanese Temari, an ancient folk art stitchery. I have users of all ages, nationalities, levels of physical and visual abilities, living in all sorts of communities including very remote areas, levels of internet access and computer hardware, and levels of computer ability. A great many members are also dependent upon the group for their social sanity. Those that are on older equipment and/or slower connections can’t even get into Groups, let alone struggle with the new navigation and dysfunction of the site.

The font and color are causing many people distress as they cannot see it clearly. The site does not work with disability adaptations. The entire site runs excruciatingly slow and frequently hangs or crashes. This only adds to the frustration of people trying to find their way around and learn new navigation.

Given the ethnic orientation of the group, I had major complaints (including my own horror) about the “default” cover image assigned to us – “coolie hats,” as most members described them. It took me several hours to figure out how, much less get the process to work, to change it, but the damage had been done in terms of people being disrespected. I had to play to find the correct resolution and sizing to get an image appear decently. Nevermind that we previously used members’ photos for this purpose – but, the current banner format defeats that.

*) The inability to download (as in right-click and save) photos has rendered my groups useless for the educational purposes we engage in. As one of the primary purposes of the groups, I frequently manage classes through the groups, and now it is impossible since we depended upon members downloading instructional photos. In addition, the inability for people to download their OWN photos treads on copyright legalities; at the very least, as my members say “who is Yahoo to keep me from MY photos?”. The “lightbox”/slide show presentation is clumsy and not user friendly. The comment functionality compared to Classic version is not user friendly; people cannot find or see the bubble. This further impacts the educational purpose since commenting on members’ work through their photos is our common tutoring method.

*) “Burying” links to common functions, obscuring things in hover links and boxes, lack of user support for Groups provided by Yahoo, and lack of explanation of “format,” etc., has made it frustrating, time consuming and physically difficult for all of my groups’ members. The most used functions differ from group to group. Two of the three most common functions my groups use are now buried in the “More” drop-down, and for whatever reason the image mapping on those links is miniscule. It is very difficult to “hit the target” to get the link to work for all of us, let alone those with disability. I have spent hours on my list and through private emails trying to help people through navigation – which is exceedingly more difficult because some things work for others and not for some. I have become a YG Support person, not a Master level Kyoujou in Temari. We’ve spent the last weeks trying to figure out how to work in the new format, not studying Temari, and that’s not looking to change soon. Owners/moderators are each group’s “user support” staff. Not knowing what/when this was coming, let alone the dysfunction in Neo, leaves me spinning my wheels.

*) From its birth, TalkTemari was a Public group, as opposed to other Temari groups that were rather choosy. Everyone has always been able to join and warmly welcomed. In the Neo conversion it became Restricted. All of my efforts to contact customer support to have this corrected have gone unanswered. It has changed the entire presentation and reputation of the group, made it less welcoming, and added twice the amount of work to my moderating duties.

*) At any given time over a third of my members are using the website to read and reply to messages – or at least they were, since replying via the YG site doesn’t work.

*) Not being able to email a member if I am rejecting or editing a message or photo is creating major anger issues. I cannot explain in a quick and efficient manner why the need to edit or deny; even with the extra effort of sending a separate email, if the member sees the rejection before the email, they are angry. I’ve spent years trying to build a reputation as a fair and polite, understanding moderator; now it just looks like a power trip. I cannot educate the member on why the post or photo needed editing.

*) Performance on smartphones and tablets is terrible in both function and design. This means we are losing current and potential members given today’s current technology. A significant number of people have tablets as their only device. My members are very angry that their tablets are now pretty much useless for Groups. For physically impaired people that have come to depend on the ease of a tablet, they are out in the cold.

*) I write policy and procedure documents to support my groups’ members. These must all be redone, with no notice, let alone my own learning curve to figure out a new interface. Ditto the links in my websites directing people to join the groups – they have to be all recoded.

*) “Conversations” is meaningless – especially when it pulls up messages from years ago as opposed to the current one if there are common words in the subject line – which, by the way, is a much more specific and understood label as opposed to “Conversations” and “topics.” Hundreds of people for years have understood “thread” as a subject title. The mix of old and new messages is rendering old postings useless as all it does is cause confusion.

Ginny Thompson, JTA Kyoujou 2010
–Ginny T.


One thought on “TalkTemari & JTA MentorDiscuss – Neo Impact on Groups

  1. You can download photos, and you get them in the original resolution rather than in screen resolution (which is what you’d get with right-click and save). But they hid it on the Album page rather than where you’d expect to find it on the photo’s page. In this case I think a picture is likely worth more than 1000 words:
    Photo Album - Comments and Download

    You can now reject a message with a reply back to the member. Click the … (“More”) button to the right of the X (“Reject”) button. In that menu select “Reject with reply”. That will open a message composition box where you can add your reply to a rejection email sent to the member.

    Unfortunately there isn’t (that I’ve spotted) an ability to simply reply to the member without rejection — other than going the long way around to find the member in the Members list or use your own email to reply to the pending notification. But there wasn’t that ability in classic either.

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