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Sunday, May 22, 2016

I've been watching the probably unsurprising uproar about the changes to the SparkPages since I first clicked on a blog link on my Friend Feed and realized there was a change. The changes are fine. I agree that the old pages looked, well, old. These are more modern, and everything is still there.

My feelings toward the people who were upset by the changes have morphed from sympathy to amusement to fremdscham to utter disgust.

I understood them first. I saw myself in the angry mob--when SP changed the Friend Feed and the Fitness Trackers, I got really upset. I was annoyed that the links on the Friend Feed weren't underlined and that we didn't have the option to see what blogs our friends were commenting on. With the Fitness Tracker, I was upset because the demos didn't have a button to add the exercise to the tracker. Man, was I mad! But the only people who seemed mad about it were me and, like, two other people.

Over time, it turned out that my opinions were so very right, because all three of my issues were solved over time. So I feel confident in saying that the big issues that haven't yet been solved (the white some say is blinding being more subdued, your view of your own page being in perpetual Edit Mode, etc.) will be eventually.

As the hubbub has continued, my sympathy turned to amusement and maybe a bit of passive jealousy. I get that some people are bummed out, but I wish my life was so stress-free that something like this could upset me to such a huge extent that I've seen from some of the people here (very few of my friends, fortunately, or unfortunately, since some of my friends have real problems)! I'm not talking about those who are bummed out. I'm talking about the ones who are simply embarrassing themselves with their childish behavior.

I'm talking about the people who are screaming "FREEDOM OF SPEECH!" like that applies in this situation. It reminds me of the Friend Feed--I wear glasses, but I don't consider myself visually impaired, but that didn't stop me from shrieking "ACCESSIBILITY!" to try to get people to see the IMPORTANCE of this transgression.

The people who in less than a day seemed to forget how much creative control they actually had over their pages, saying their artistic masterpieces have been RIPPED from them. You got to choose a picture and a color. They are both still there. You had three pictures posted on your front page. You still do.

The people accusing SP of using the SparkPages to show them advertising. This is probably true. Not even probably. This is definitely true. My question is, "SO?" How much money do we pay to use SparkPeople? How much money do you even imagine it takes to run a website this size? Maintain servers? Maintain pages? Pay salaries? Pay rent and utilities on an office space? If they CAN manage this with the ads they already have, then I salute them.

The corollary to this is the ones saying they will leave SparkPeople, and then what will the advertisers do? There was a subset suggesting going to let the advertisers know that they were leaving. I can almost guarantee that these people never clicked the ads, at least not on purpose.

Let me throw out a number for you: 7000. What is that? It's a conservative estimate of the number of people who have joined the SparkTeam SP Class of May 15 - 21, 2016 from Wednesday to Saturday.

So if you hate SP so much, then that's okay. Go. But go for you, because you dislike it. Don't go to make some sort of statement. Because you won't.

But the part that is turning this to disgust for me? The sheer nastiness I'm seeing on the Boards directed at the SP staff. Sarcastic, ugly, immature responses. It's sad that there are people saying SP doesn't think of them as individuals and forget that the coaches aren't robots, either. Last night, I read a blog that was proudly linked by the author on one of the threads that compared SparkPeople changing the layout of their website to rape. That is so incredibly offensive, I haven't been able to stop thinking about it. It crossed a line, and people are all over that blog telling her how right she is. Seriously? It's not right to compare SparkPeople's staff to rapists. It's wrong and very troubling.

If you are behaving this way, then yes, please be one of those people, make good on the threats and just go--leave this community that hasn't charged you a cent and has gotten even less in return. Frankly, if I'm SparkPeople, once you start comparing my staff to rapists, I'd get out the ban hammer. It's so low and disrespectful to them and to people who have experienced real violence to have such a small thing as a website layout compared to it. I read an article recently about firing your worst customer. SparkPeople should start considering it.
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    Despite sympathizing with who wrote the blog, I really didn't quite feel the same way. I felt more like someone had gone in my bedroom and rearranged everything! And my cousin's fiance had gotten hurt, and I'm afraid the two things got very mixed up for me. Also, we really should follow rules here and I think that the blog you're referring to was inappropriate for here. You're right about that. You know, there's a time and a place. She probably should have just written that in personal messages to close, close friends of hers. And talked to her therapist too. Okay, so I'm not feeling at all disappointed with you. That was just my initial reaction. Plus, I had thought you were mad at me, but I guess you weren't and I was just being silly. And like you said, that was back in May. I'm glad we're friends, and things will be okay between us!
    1293 days ago

    Comment edited on: 8/11/2016 9:26:44 AM
    I did pay for Premium so that I wouldn't be seeing any ads anymore. That was one of the reasons. I also have always wanted to join SparkCoach. And I like that my money is helping people lose weight and realize other dreams. I also bought a bunch of things in the store here, when I saw they were having a sale. They gave me a free book, The Spark, and another one came with a DVD that I bought. So I was able to give one to my aunt, who was glad because another friend had mentioned the book to her and she wanted to read it.

    A lot of people were upset about the changes to our SparkPages because their was no advance warning whatsoever. Say what you will, but I have PTSD and I need to be told things in advance. Otherwise, my PTSD gets worse. This "little" change caused me to have such debilitating nightmares that I was literally afraid of my own bed. I am just now starting to have dreams. But the majority, I am afraid, are still night terrors. I do feel like I've turned a corner though.

    I'm not leaving SparkPeople and I never said I would. But they do need to start letting people know about things ahead of time. Most websites give people a heads up on things. I hope they start doing that. If they really want to be current, like other websites, like they say they do, they'll have to start.

    I said some things. I'm sure I'm one of the people that you're referring to, that you think was being childish. But I also know my side of the story, how scary my nightmares have been and how I enjoyed seeing my SparkPage everyday, the way it was, how it gave me a motivational boost. And then it didn't, because it looked so different and you can't read about your program until you click on a button. My life is not at all calm, or I wouldn't be clinging to a thing like that in the first place. My life is very stressful. That page was helping me. Could it help me again, even though it looks different? Maybe. I have been working on redecorating it so that it looks as perfect as I can make it. And then I'm going to be editing my info. I'll probably just really gut that area, since no one hardly is going to read that now, since you have to click on a button. I know I don't read my page every day anymore. I used to, every morning. Is that childish? I don't think so, it's just what I used to do. In SparkCoach, which is directed at new members, they said we should put a page up to have a place to interact with people. So that's started me on editing all the photos and everything. And do you know what? I am actually enjoying myself. I never wanted to have any problems with SparkPeople, but what happened made me ill. I was doing fine before. I am getting better each week, and hope to be as well as I was before this happened. Some people really do get ill at an unexpected change. But if we're just informed ahead of time, we do a lot better. Well, I hope you don't stay mad, really.

    Would I change anything? Yeah, I would, now that I know about the SparkPeople suggestion box. I wouldn't let everyone know about how I'm feeling. It would be a private matter between me and the SP management. Because I am allowed to tell them how I feel. And I don't think it was good for me to read so many comments geared toward basically just shutting up the people who loved decorating their pages. They'd gotten another email, and had to try and stamp out this little fire or whatever. That is exactly how I feel. But when you write to the suggestion box, you don't have to read a bunch of messages saying, "Why is this still an issue? Why am I still getting emails about it?" It's because you subscribed to the discussion. But you don't have to be there. And neither do I. Next time, if I'm there at all, it will be just to tell people about the suggestion box. I might also say what side I'm leaning on, but mostly just for the suggestion box, and I won't subscribe to the discussion. And I will be what they call "dot.calm" in no time!

    Another reason I was upset on March 18th was I had just heard about my cousin's fiance had been struck by a car and was in a coma in the hospital. And no, she didn't make it.

    If anyone was saying they feel violated, it's because this caused them to have flashbacks to another time when someone else was in charge and made them do things. No one would want to feel like that. But maybe you're right about one thing, this may not have been the right place to talk about it, maybe they should have just told their counselors. Just let it go, and be glad that you can. And hopefully, they'll be feeling better soon and onto other things. Everyone has to go at their own pace.

    Also, I was going to say, next time you see a blog that upsets you, please notify SparkPeople. That's what I do. And if someone is posting inappropriate pictures. That's how they find out about things and can help people. Otherwise, they probably won't know about it.

    I'm glad you don't have PTSD, because you wouldn't like it. It's uncomfortable, and when you have it you have to understand what other people with PTSD are going through. You have to care about them, because you're one of them. Even when my PTSD goes back into remission. Even if it may make me unpopular. And I understand how you being around emotional people makes you feel emotional. That's how I feel too. Except I think I care about people more, people who have been abused. Because that's something I know about.

    Anyway, if you don't want to be friends, that's fine. But the things I was saying were meant for SparkPeople to know about, not really anyone else, and I didn't know they had a suggestion box at the time. That was one of their new things, for all I know. No one else had heard of it either. Now I know I have a private line to speak with them about anything, anytime. If that isn't free speech, I don't know what is!

    I'm sorry I made you so angry. I really didn't know you were feeling this way. Please just consider that the people most affected by the change are suffering from medical conditions. I know one of my friends started binge eating, she was so upset. I lost my appetite entirely, and relied on my LoseIt app to tell me how much I needed to eat each day, until I was feeling better. Whatever, though. You're going to feel how you feel, whatever I write, I guess.

    I dropped a couple of my friends, who seemed most active at going on the forum, and saying we should just shut up about the whole thing. I tried to keep them, but I just started dreading seeing their pictures and hearing about their activities and whatnot. But this last week, after I had a dream about Amber in heaven, happy about getting to live in her very own home, I decided to friend them back. I had started to miss them, and now I don't have to.

    I guess this is an old post of yours, but I am just seeing it. I don't get to come online as often as before, since my laptop is broken. I miss a lot of my friends, because of this.

    To tell you the truth, I am a little disappointed with you. Because how can you be mad at sick people? Maybe you don't see it, because it's what they call a "hidden disability." But it's very real. I'm not angry, but I am disappointed. I wish I could be more like you, and not have PTSD and not have terrible nightmares or do impulsive things and have to apologize all the time and not grind my teeth.
    1293 days ago
  • LINDA!
    I wish that I could have written this blog - you nailed it. I did not like the changes at first. However, after a day or two I realized it was no big deal. I read a couple of comments and decided not to read anymore. They are silly. We have a free website. I have belonged to WW online in the past. It is a good site, but expensive. I can get so much support and information on Spark People at no charge. I am retired so this is important for me.

    If I see someone blogging or commenting in a raunchy or disgusting manner I hit the button to have Spark People review it. There is no reason to compare Spark to rape is disgusting. How immature and lacking in knowledge about the issue of rape.
    1367 days ago
    Very good thoughts. I was angry at first, not so much because of the changes themselves but because of how they were communicated. It did seem disrespectful to the members. But "getting revenge" by lashing out at the level of some of the posts you refer to? SP and its staff is not the enemy! Let's build community and not tear it down. I could also draw parallels to the current political atmosphere in the US but I won't.
    BTW, WTG for staying in 130-ville. I'm homesick!
    1368 days ago

    Comment edited on: 5/28/2016 4:22:56 AM
    Jesus, I'm so glad I missed that blog post. I haven't actually even noticed many changes but even a total site overhaul wouldn't ever merit that kind of immaturity and shocking overreaction. Some people..
    1371 days ago
    Spark needs to attract new members and they are more likely to use phone and tablets, so yes change is needed.
    1372 days ago
    Thanks for "fremdscham" a new word for me. I haven't seen these blogs lamenting the changes. Kinda glad about that. Be well.
    1373 days ago
  • SEAGLASS1215
    I, too, was a bit surprised and not sure I liked the change at first, but I have gotten used to it and, in reality, it's no big deal. As you say, all the info we had is still there, just rearranged a bit. I wasn't aware of how much negativity and childish behavior resulted from the changes. I, for one, start my day with Spark People and I guess the change through me off of my 'routine' a bit, I wasn't expecting it, but it's not a big deal, just took a couple of days to get used to the new look.

    The fact is that this site is free and offers so much help and advice for all of us -- we should all be grateful they have not started charging us a fee!
    1373 days ago
  • SUGAR0814
    I like the changes. And like you said, if you're not happy about something you're NOT paying for, leave. Easy peasy! TFS!! emoticon
    1373 days ago
    I applaud this happy to see us real sparklers standing up for our fellow Spark Staffers and for Chris Downie who desrves our utmost respect for all that he has done to help us get healthy and fit.

    Hugs Susan emoticon emoticon
    1373 days ago
    I wrote about this in my blog today. Not nearly as articulate as you have done. BTW, your blog is absolutely right on the money. I wrote that I just couldn't figure out why sparkers were so upset about a lousy format change when there is so much more serious things to think about in our lives! What gives people the right to be so incredibly rude to such an amazing website? This irks me to the millionth degree. Anyways, I choose my friends very delicately, I am a private person so my blogs are only for my little community of dear friends. I am going to ask you to be my friend, your sense of value and priorities are so in line with mine. Thank you of your blog. Fredie
    1373 days ago
    You are right. Some comments were uncalled for. I thought it was just the older folks who complained, and sometimes they have a harder time adjusting to new ideas. It didn't take me long to figure out everything, and I am in my 60's. I'm glad you spoke up. emoticon
    1373 days ago
    STANDING OVATION!!!!! I absolutely agree with you. I understand people have hurt feelings, and of course everyone has their own opinion, but as I stated in posts before, this is an amazing, free site that offers more than I could expect. And the friendships I built here are in no way related to any colors or artistic creativity. I come here for the people and the wonderful things I am allowed to use for free. Why people have to be nasty to the staff is beyond me. But then again, I work in customer service, where I am kind and patient with people who are mean and nasty to me. So instead of yelling at them "WHO THE HECK RAISED YOU?" I just shrug it off as an example of who I would never want to be. Everyone has a purpose in life, even if it is just to serve as a bad example. :)
    1373 days ago
  • L*I*T*A*
    i agree with your blog ....
    things have simply gotten out of control on the message boards!!

    emoticon emoticon emoticon
    1373 days ago
    I've been ignoring the drama, there are trolls on every website, and I had no delusions that a weight loss sight wouldn't have its share, Thanks for standing up for the harassed. People like that should be banned. If they are going to bash the site, they are going to bash you.
    1373 days ago
    Dear BEATLETOT, as I wrote in response to your status, I was pretty bummed by the changes at first, but this is just due to my own lethargy, my lack of energy in dealing with changes. This experience, along with a few others I've had recently, reinforce for me that I need to keep up with change and not balk when something new comes along! This is a good lesson. My 90-year-old uncle knows his way around a computer so much better than I do, and this SparkChange is not even related to computer savvy. It's just an aesthetic change, which I have already adjusted to. I liked the look of the old pages, but this one is fine, too, I have come to feel.

    The message boards show that this change has deeply upset a lot of people. However, as you mentioned in your blog, there are people here--like ME!--who have problems that require a lot more attention than the change in appearance of our SparkPages. And yes, some of the comments on the message boards are impolite and really go too far. I'm just happy to be here with you guys and don't care that I can't choose the font in which my comments appear. I hope the dissatisfied people can come to terms with the new page, too, and enjoy the support and friendship to be found here at SP.
    1373 days ago
  • no profile photo CD15724029
    Great blog!! Well said !! I haven't been on SP that long and I have never been on Facebook, but I love change and adapt very easy to change, so I have no problem with the new page.
    Quite honestly,I am quite tired of seeing constant negative posts about the changes in SP. This is a free site , and I need to lose weight and get my health in a better place!
    How this site appears to me, is of very little importance. The resources, support, information, sharing of ideas, and hopefully some fun along the way, are my reasons for being here.
    Rude, unkind, inappropriate, and complaining people certainly could drive me away!!!
    Thank You so much for this excellent blog!!

    PS- Love your banner!!
    1373 days ago
  • CHERYLA2012
    I gave you "courage" and you posted, and you've given me "courage" by speaking out!

    There's some SparkFriend support in action right there!.


    I'm so glad you chose to be brave and speak now instead of forever holding your peace.

    1373 days ago
    Great blog, I'm glad you posted it. I feel so bad for the Spark Team getting all this hate from a relative minority. I'm not here for a Sparkpage. I'm here for my teams and the support of my Spark friends. (Like you!)

    1373 days ago
    FREMDSCHAM: This German word is made up of two parts, with fremd meaning “foreign” and schämen meaning “to be embarrassed.” The term is typically used to describe someone who feels embarrassment on behalf of someone else. The corresponding noun for this feeling is Fremdscham.
    1373 days ago
    PS, what's fremscham?
    1373 days ago
    Wow. I'm glad I haven't been paying attention. I live in my own little SP world and don't mind the masses. ;-)
    1373 days ago
    Tend to agree w/ you. Change is part of life and no more. emoticon
    1373 days ago
  • no profile photo CD12680138
    I agree with you! The Spark page is only a part of the app. I think there is so much other valuable stuff to focus on as it is about healthy weight loss efforts!
    1373 days ago
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