Denied!I know, I know, that title is a horrible pun. Still, it does do a good job of summarizing this posting.

It should be no surprise to those of you who’ve been following this blog that I’ve been dabbling in ed-tech groups. I still attend the occasional DEN event,and I’m an off and on contributer to the NextGenTeachers blog. Of course there’s also Teachers 2.0, but I talk about that so much that I’ll limit my plugging of that group to things that directly relate to the subject of this rant.

Steve Dembo recently raved about, which lets you create your own social networks. In a nutshell, it’s like installing Elgg without the pain and suffering. Sounds great, right?

It would be, if it worked right.

I had been expirimenting with Elgg to see if it might be nicer than Drupal for Teachers 2.0, so almost immediately I created a test group on ning – not to replace the main site, mind you, but just to try it out to see if it was worth it.

My first impression was that it was really slick. The interface was intuitive and I had a lot of options to help me customize my group. Ok, so it wouldn’t show a preview image when I posted a video, but that was a minor detail, right?

DeniedOh, I also can’t answer any of the profile questions I created for my group. No matter what I type, when I submit them I go to an error page. That’s not so much a problem, but what about groups where you have to fill out the questions to join?

Nope, those don’t work either. I’d love to join Steve’s EduGamerz group. Love to, but Ning won’t let me, since I can’t submit answers to the questions.

I couldn’t even post to my blog on Ning, since the only thing it loaded in the text box (when it loaded anything at all) was the front page for my Teachers 2.0 Ning group. Yeah, that was odd.

The final straw was this morning. It turns out that a member of the DEN group on Ning sent me a friend request and a message. Not only can I not view either (so I can’t approve the request and I can’t reply to the message) , trying to do so will force my browser into a downward spiral that forces me to force-quit it and restart. Switching browsers gets me a little further along, but not far enough to actually do anything useful before I once again have to force-quit.

So I wouldn’t say Ning is ready for prime-time. Not when it gives me this many glitches regardless of the browser I use.

I think I’ll stick with Drupal.

[UPDATE] – Many of the bugs have been fixed.  There go all my complaints!

3 responses on “Annoy-Ning

  1. Gina Bianchini

    Hey there –

    First of all, I want to apologize for you running into issues like this. We’ve had a ton of people who have been thrilled with Ning so far, created fantastic networks, and generally been having a great experience.

    To us, though, it doesn’t matter that’s the case if even one person has the experience you’ve described using Ning. If it’s possible, we’re going to work to win you back.

    In terms of the profile questions, when you create your own social network on Ning, you define what those questions are. You can make them required or not. You used the default questions, which is cool, but you can change those at any point in time. That’s entirely up to you.

    As for running into an error on the multiple choice questions, that was a bug that we saw over the weekend and fixed this morning. It’s our fault and we’re sorry.

    So, you have every reason in the world to be frustrated and give up on us, I would too if I had that experience. But if you wanted to drop me an email at gina(at)ning(dot)com, I’d like to make this right.

    Have a great weekend,
    ceo, Ning

  2. Steve Dembo

    I ran into that same error regarding multiple-choice in the profile (glad that’s fixed), but other than that I haven’t run into any of the other errors you experienced. Go figure!

    I still like Drupal, but I just found Elgg to be pretty unintuitive. Even with the new release, I think it’s pretty hard for the uninitiated to just jump into it. I definitely dig drupal, but I’m not necessarily sold on it being a social networking site, as much as a content management solution. I know some people have done it, but I haven’t been blown away yet.

    Guess I’m still searching for the perfect solution, but so far Ning looks the closest to me.

  3. theartguy Post author

    Yeah, I’m planning a follow-up post about the quick turnaround time for the bug fixes. I’m liking Ning much better now that it works for me.

    I agree about Elgg. Once you get it running it seems ok, but for the life of me I just couldn’t get it running error free and the only help I could get was when people said “Check the forums.” Even with the rocky start, I think Ning is much better than Elgg and may be better than Drupal for what I want to do.