The Robot Co-op goes on a diet

I shouldn't have done that last super cheer, or the 3 ice creams.

I shouldn't have done that last super cheer, or the 3 ice creams.

It has been 5 years since The Robot Co-op got its start, and like some of us who work here, we have to admit we’ve gotten a bit out of shape over those years. We were trim and fit back when we first asked “What do you want to do with your life?” but we have put on a few extra pounds. It is a bit overdue that we consider going on a feature diet.

The goal of this diet is a sleeker and swifter Robot Co-op, with faster and more responsive web sites. And the extra calories we need to cut are site features (and whole sites) that are weighing us down. The team has trimmed down and we’ve cut out an “empty calorie” here and there but it’s time to get more radical in our efforts to make the sites fast and stable.

What should we give up on our new diet? Well the first thought we had was “Should do this”.

So long old friend.

It was a great idea: a suggestion box for the internet. But it didn’t proceed as we had planned, and ultimately we realized it had an ethical conundrum at the heart of its business model. Is it fair to host a suggestion forum for a company that didn’t ask to participate? It’s an interesting debate. One we never had to really consider because traffic to the site was never very meaningful. So why kill it? Saying goodbye frees up space in our brains. We have one less site to think about and more attention to put toward sites that people care about. We learned a lot from should do this, and don’t regret taking it on. But given what we learned, we decided to take it down last week. Whew, I’m feeling a bit more trim just typing that!

Next we thought, what feature did we build that users just never use? Maybe even a feature a lot of users actually hate! Well no feature was added to 43 Things that ever met with more hate and loathing than our one time pride and joy: SuperCheers.

We hate supercheers

We had big hopes. If someone would buy a teddy bear for a facebook friend, why not a SuperCheer to encourage a fellow 43Thingster? Well you all told us why, in about 400 angry emails denouncing SuperCheers and the wicked minds that concocted such a feature. OK good riddance.

In removing the feature we give up some revenue that supports the site but we get less hassle for not having to deal with it. We don’t have to maintain a secure server or deal with our credit card processor anymore and it simplifies things. We know about 3 of you out there actually like this feature and will miss it, and we appreciate you supporting the site. Sorry it is going away, but your sacrifice will help us slim down. The feature should be down later tonight.

You probably know it is hard to lose weight, so we could use your support. The goal is a site that is faster and more responsive, and Robots with more attention available toward what matters most. If you have suggestions for cuts you think we ought to make, let us know. We’ll give you an update next week on what else we are doing to get fit (sit ups, new servers, etc). See you at the gym.

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11 Responses to The Robot Co-op goes on a diet

  1. Good to see you are taking some action to improve the general health of the sites! I was super afraid to lose allconsuming but now I’m actually hoping for some improvement instead. :)

  2. A great plan. When I first got into Web administration/development, I loved adding things to the Web sites I maintained. These days, I love removing things from those Web sites.

    My vote for a big cut would be the 43 People site except that I like the parts that aggregate stuff from all the sites. For example, the “what i did in 2009″ feature. It makes me smile to see that “2009, so far, is 97% worth living. ” :)

  3. So, did 43T get hit by this, too?

    I’ve never seen 43T as badly disrupted before today as it is right now. *sigh*

    Good luck getting it fixed!

  4. Thanks for the update. Keep up the great work, Robots!

  5. What about selling products for revenue? I don’t think it’s necessary to make a lot for this, mainly I’m thinking buttons. I would pay for a 43Things button that I can wear and it would be neat to meet someone else wearing one too. You can charge a fair amount and people would buy it if they knew it was for supporting the site.

  6. I had high hopes for all consuming.. but it doesn’t look like it’s been given any love in a few years.

    Ideally you’ll help me move my data!

  7. Please don’t do away with All Consuming! I haven’t found another site that matches so well what I want in a book journal. But I would love it if you would fix the edit link so I can edit my reviews again. Thanks!

  8. It is a pity you decided to take down Should Do This, I think it was very interesting and had a great potential. Its only fault was not getting a lot of people interested in it. But, for example, even if there are many people who are not interested in preserving our environment, that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t.

    However, if you are not working on the site any more, you should cancel it from the “blogroll” list on the right side of this page.

  9. If you’d like to make some money, can you sell us a CD or a memory stick or something with every entry we’ve ever made? Or every entry + comment?

    It’s impossible to go back now and figure out where all this stuff is and copy it all. But you could probably do it instantly with your database. I know I’d pay for it.

  10. I agree 100% with Claire. I feel so frustrated that I can’t save all of my entries…

    Some people was asking for this at Should Do This (it was worded as 43 Things should allow users to export a list of their goals and entries written so that each user can backup this information), I can’t remember whether I joined this or not, but it was a good one.

  11. Pingback: Robot Co-op Diet Update « The Robot Co-op

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