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Facebook Apps Facing Delays and Uncertainties

CmdrTaco posted more than 7 years ago | from the it-could-happen dept.

The Internet 82

NewsCloud writes "After reading about the Facebook platform launch, I spent the next week learning the API and building my application. Facebook's platform has been pretty successful despite complaints of poor documentation, instability and outcries over its application approval process. I've been waiting two weeks for my application to be approved for their directory and had my account disabled (temporarily) after I invited a large number of colleagues. While I'm impressed with the potential of the platform, the experience has made me more concerned about the lack of transparency in privately held social networks and the risks we take as developers when we invest time in a company's platform. Facebook's home page advertises itself as "a social utility that connects you with the people around you." My concern with Facebook is that there's no one regulating the utility."

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LOL HY!!! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19540423)

im watching man vs testicle!!! LOL!!!

we are not having issues.. (4, Insightful)

joeldg (518249) | more than 7 years ago | (#19540429)

Not sure what is going on with you, but we are not having issues with our facebook app, actually one of our guys was invited to speak a facebook meetup here in the city.
It sounds like they had concerns about your app being used as a/by a spam-harvester to abuse their network, and frankly I would be also cautious.

OMG! Facebook apps not working? (4, Funny)

MoxFulder (159829) | more than 7 years ago | (#19541799)

How will I be able to SuperPoke my friends? Or give them little puppy dog icon gifts? Noooooooooo!!!!

Re:OMG! Facebook apps not working? (1)

davidsyes (765062) | more than 7 years ago | (#19614995)

Wouldn't that be "pooper soak" (spoonerism of super poke)?

Re:we are not having issues.. (2, Interesting)

PCheese (810782) | more than 7 years ago | (#19544805)

We really haven't had much trouble with our app either. We anticipated Facebook making lots of changes and built our app to respond accordingly. If something breaks, our app saves as much information about the event as possible so that we can fix it ASAP. Isn't that a pretty standard way of doing things? We keep a close eye on what happens and are able to make minor tweaks to keep the app running smoothly. We haven't seen major breakage; everything has been fixable in 20 minutes max. Our app ( http://apps.facebook.com/graffiti/ [facebook.com] for the curious) was recently approved into the directory. We had a significant number of users already through the viral aspect of it all, but we're seeing a rather significant spike now that we're reaching out to even more networks through the directory. We had some hiccups getting in (partly our fault, partly Facebook), but now all it takes it to make sure everything is filled out completely. In my experience, they're really trying to seek out the trouble spots. Do we need the directory? No, but we're grateful for it! I agree that the documentation is lacking, but there's an IRC channel, discussion board, mailing list, and developer email support that make up for it. And yes, the Facebook guys do respond through all those channels!

Re:we are not having issues.. (1)

Dan Hayes (212400) | more than 7 years ago | (#19555497)

Heh, you're doing pretty well with that app, tons of my mates are using it :) But anyway, the Facebook developers seem a world away from the ones working for Myspace ;)

Re:we are not having issues.. (1)

caramelcarrot (778148) | more than 7 years ago | (#19559211)

Well done on Graffiti :) I'm behind X Me and you lot have overtaken us and shot off over the horizon. We got most of our growth before we even made it into the directory, and it just continued using invites after that. And yes, there's plenty of support, especially in the IRC channel, which has plenty of experienced (for how long its been out) people with successful apps. Directory delays are simply because there are thousands (literally, I believe, having heard from a source) of apps waiting in the queue, and they're trying to test each one individually.

Re:we are not having issues.. (1)

228e2 (934443) | more than 7 years ago | (#19634845)

very well done on the graffiti. easily the best thing to hit FB in a while.

Linus is right (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19540439)

I am with Linus on this one. I completely agree. His views just make sens; no wonder he will always have the open source community's support.

Re:Linus is right (1)

coniferous (1058330) | more than 7 years ago | (#19540471)

Is this coy sarcasm? Or did you just post in the wrong thread? I'm rather confused.

Not just facebook (5, Insightful)

yohanes (644299) | more than 7 years ago | (#19540445)

You said:

the lack of transparency in privately held social networks and the risks we take as developers when we invest time in a company's platform.
Isn't the situation just the same if you depend to any 3rd party technology (operating systems, languages, platforms, etc) where you don't have a control?

Re:Not just facebook (1)

SpeedyDX (1014595) | more than 7 years ago | (#19540499)

Isn't the situation just the same if you depend to any 3rd party technology (operating systems, languages, platforms, etc) where you don't have a control?
Yeah, not everything has to be a democracy. In fact, even in democracies, you hardly get any transparency. So ... I honestly have no idea where the question came from. Maybe he's just idealistic.

Re:Not just facebook (3, Insightful)

beckerist (985855) | more than 7 years ago | (#19541873)

...and the simple fact his application hasn't been approved yet means there's no regulation?

Re:Not just facebook (1)

ftide (454731) | more than 7 years ago | (#19584573)

Maybe when transparency is spoken of what should be accounted for here in both matters of dynamic strategy and software independence is: who, what, when, where, and why? It seems like those dabbling in facebook's api and submission process know the who's, what's there and when it's happening.

The where and why are left to corporate choice and chance. We know from http://whois.domaintools.com/facebook.com [domaintools.com] that facebook.com is in Palo Alto, was created in March of 1997 and 38% of recent visits to it are from the U.S. That's a 50 state demographic. Using this, the demander or user numbers can by no means be broken down into regional outputs because there are inherently minimum amounts of transparency in corporate business models.

I get a sense that what developers want is regional solutions to local, cultural issues which present themselves as technological challenges that can span across national borders.

I think facebook is better as a template or framework to copy and reuse for some physical district made up of people ( a village ) then use in a centralized social networking site like NewsCorp/Rupert Murdoch's myspace. Yet is it really possible to copy and reuse a facebook API? That depends on if both the API framework and contributing programmers use and review demand-based[1], clean open architectures. The reusability and openness are a critical why part to this complex social equation for open source programmers, engineers and economists.

[1] - Remember the phrase, "The customer is always right?"

Missing the point entirely (5, Insightful)

agent dero (680753) | more than 7 years ago | (#19540497)

The author of the "article" doesn't seem to get "it" with regards to the platform.

Firstly, the documentation isn't fantastic, I agree, it's a relatively straight-forward REST api, and wouldn't you know it, the community of developers has been filling in the documentation gaps [facebook.com]

As for instability, it's been there for the most part, you have to understand that Facebook might lack of the 100% reliability you may think your own code has. Facebook developers aren't perfect, nor is it unusual for things to break when near 25 million active users a day pound on it (at the very least, tiny bugs, image caching collisions i'm looking at you, become big bugs. As a side note, that has to have been the most famous end-table on the planet before they fixed that bug).

Finally, I've seen the "outcries over its application approval process" and those are silly as well. A very tiny percent of users actually install the application from the directory. My applications have blown up because of making use of the viral tools provided by the platform, invites, news feed postings, etc. Applications like X-Me exploded to well over 100k users before it was even listed (congrats chips), the same went for Graffiti

No system, especially a third-party system you rely on as a developer is ever perfect, but it's barely been a month since the Facebook Platform, so crying foul is extremely premature. If your only concern is that there's no one regulating the utility, then you should go ask some of those Windows developers how much fun the Longhorn-Vista moving target of a platform has been. It's their API, their platform, their social network, they get to choose what goes on with their "utility."

I'm sure i'll be marked as a troll, but this just reads like the same gripes at the bottom of the barrel in the FB Developers discussion board for some time now.
Disclaimer: I was one of the F8 attendees, and have been developing for the platform for almost 2 months now

You should be marked as "Troll" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19540579)

And to add, your attitude is precisely why software, in general, is mediocre at best.

Re:Missing the point entirely (4, Insightful)

GreenHead (882493) | more than 7 years ago | (#19540737)

Has anybody actually taken a look at what these applications are doing to facebook in general? The nice thing about facebook, everybody had a simple looking page that was consistently the same. Since the applications have been coming out, everybody pages started looking like utter crap. Gone is the static page that was easy to read, and simple to load. With the ability to add all the apps, facebook is turning into myspace. We all know how giving the ability to do whatever to their space makes the server go nuts, pages are a pain in the ass to look at, not to mention what does to the server. facebook used to be nice. now it's starting to become more like myspace, which makes me cry.

Re:Missing the point entirely (1)

agent dero (680753) | more than 7 years ago | (#19540847)

Facebook caches everything that goes into the profile and it's just as "static" as it was before

The "myspace" factor depends on your friends' taste I think ;)

Re:Missing the point entirely (1)

Stevecrox (962208) | more than 7 years ago | (#19542409)

Applications have ruined it, I used Facebook because it was simple and clean. The UI has been altered into some horrible javascript thing and my simple wall and profile have been replaced with slideshows, paid for sent images and a bunch of other rubbish.

Facebook is turning into Myspace, anyone know of online social networking thing thats like the facebook of two years ago?

Re:Missing the point entirely (1)

ASBands (1087159) | more than 7 years ago | (#19542153)

I logged on, had 30 invites to Top Friends, 20 to Bestest Friends, 10 to Horoscope, 20 to graffiti and all this other crap that used to not be a part of Facebook. Instead of dealing with all that garbage, I quit Facebook. It used to be a nice networking application that served no real purpose. Now, Facebook seems to think it has a point.

I don't have a Facebook or a cell phone. I just hang around all the people I know all the time - if they want to talk to me, they just say "Travis." I say "What?" and turn my head slightly.

Re:Missing the point entirely (1)

75th Trombone (581309) | more than 7 years ago | (#19543731)

What d'you think about sesame seeds?

Re:Missing the point entirely (1)

wizzahd (995765) | more than 7 years ago | (#19546489)

"I'll meet you when THAT GUY is eating a hamburger."
"Which guy?"
"Oh. You'll know."

(Mitch Hedberg for those of you who don't know)

Re:Missing the point entirely (1)

Enlightenment (1073994) | more than 7 years ago | (#19542299)

I agree entirely with this statement. The whole appeal of Facebook was that it was simple, without 'bells and whistles' to annoy you or distract you. Thank Zeus we can still hide most of the things--even though it's enormously inconvenient to go through and do it.

Re:Missing the point entirely (1)

Aeiri (713218) | more than 7 years ago | (#19544205)

So now there is a sense of social superiority by not using Facebook now, too? I don't get it. Facebook is like MySpace just because of the social networking aspect, not because of the stupid CSS/Javascript stuff. The entire concept eludes me. What is the point of it, seriously? It's an over-hyped rehash of the concept of a forum.

Re:Missing the point entirely (1)

OverlordQ (264228) | more than 7 years ago | (#19548169)

Has anybody actually taken a look at what these applications are doing to facebook in general? The nice thing about facebook, everybody had a simple looking page that was consistently the same. Since the applications have been coming out, everybody pages started looking like utter crap. Gone is the static page that was easy to read, and simple to load. With the ability to add all the apps, facebook is turning into myspace.

BZZZT! WRONG. Try clicking that little arrow looking thing . . OH WOW, it minimizes that section. Sure you lose 40 pixels or however high that is, but it's a far cry from myspace which doesn't let you hide it.

Re:Missing the point entirely (1)

dsyens (1116921) | more than 7 years ago | (#19549309)

I agree so whole-heartedly. I ran away from using MySpace to network with friends who were far-and-away and found Facebook to be a wonderful alternative -- and now everywhere I go people are "zomg super poking" each other with X-Me or other such nonsense.

Re:Missing the point entirely (1)

thomas.galvin (551471) | more than 7 years ago | (#19549313)

This is what I wrote on my own FaceBook page when these apps started appearing:

The main reason FaceBook is better than MySpace is that it doesn't let you do a whole lot of things. It doesn't let you change your background to an an animated, pink and green GIF, it doesn't let you add the Hamster Dance as background music, it doesn't let you break the layout... basically, they saw everything that makes MySpace suck like an overpowered Hoover and just said "no."

I'm excited to see that Applications are going to break this trend. In the last couple of days, the newsfeed has been littered with "Sally installed WonderFoo, and wants you to try it to!" Half an hour later, I see "Sally decided WonderFoo is a piece of junk, and uninstalled it."

This means that Sally has the sense to recognize tripe when she sees it, even if she doesn't know what the definition of "tripe" is. Unfortunately, most people are blazingly stupid, and it's just a matter of time before someone releases an "OMG PONIES!!!!11one" app.

It starts out innocently. Let someone know you're BFFs, or what movie you're going to see. But mark my words, sooner or later something loud, flashy, and animated is going to take over your screen, and you're going to realize that with great power comes the knowledge that most people shouldn't be allowed near a development kit.

Re:Missing the point entirely (3, Informative)

cyphgenic (455493) | more than 7 years ago | (#19569813)

I've seen what these applications have been doing. They add a little more joy to the users that use them. That's not a bad thing.

Also, if you want static facebook pages, you are welcome to create those pages using their API: http://developers.facebook.com/documentation.php [facebook.com]

Their API allows you to re-create in total the facebook of 3 months ago. :-D

Now, what these applications have been doing, the sheer number of them, is degrading facebook's performance. But that's true of a lot of sites that growing exponentially like facebook is.

Also, I've been pretty frustrated with bug fixes. They've been pretty slow and coming but that's part of the aggressive schedule they set for themselves. A developer in Facebook, Ari Steinberg, wished he had another month at launch.

Disclaimer: I've been making facebook applications on their platform since May.

Re:Missing the point entirely (1)

ZOMFF (1011277) | more than 7 years ago | (#19610731)

Give me, the viewer of another profile, the ability to disable apps while viewing another's profile and the problem is solved.

Re:Missing the point entirely (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19542205)

One can hardly brag about X Me as an example of an application successfully using the platform. X Me's method is nothing short of spam. Every time you do anything with X Me, it prompts you to invite every single friend it can fit on a page and does not offer a "no" or "cancel" button. The only way to not invite friends is to click on menu navigation, which, even for me, wasn't very intuitive - it very much seems like you "have to" click on the invite button. And HEY! All of your friends are conveniently already checked for you.

Re:Missing the point entirely (1)

x_Curious_x (1068840) | more than 7 years ago | (#19542927)

The Parent hit it right on the head.

I'd also like to add the fact that a lot of these facebook apps and people complaining about the platform and documentation need to ask themselves 3 questions.

1. Does your app provide a meaningful way to supplement a user's experience without unnecessary clutter, or spammy behavior?

2. Does said app provide a means to interact with the Facebook community and user's in a unique way that enhances certain facebook functionalities, or brings all new functions that weren't previously available to Facebook?

3. And finally, does your app provide something meaningful to the online community as a whole outside of Facebook?

The Facebook API should provide a way to leverage and virally spread your apps and ideas to people across their community and the web as a whole. It's a beneficial tool in a large pool of beneficial tools on the web to market your creations. Furthermore, appreciate their openness while providing constructive criticism. Hey they could be blocking our widgets and apps like MySpace has been recently. (I have noticed since the Facebook Platform was announced, MySpace has let widgets play a little more freely it seems ;) )

Have fun.

Tony G.
Audio Messages Online [msg-time.com]
Disclaimer:While not an F8 attendee, I've been developing against their API since October.

Re:Missing the point entirely (1)

Dan Hayes (212400) | more than 7 years ago | (#19555657)

Heh, I've noticed a few small changes to the Myspace UI over the last couple of months that should've been there to begin with, but weren't until recently. I suspect Facebook is the main reason, it's just so much nicer to use and is serious competition.

Re:Missing the point entirely (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19556581)

>>Applications like X-Me exploded to well over 100k users before it was even listed (congrats chips), the same went for Graffiti

Actually Graffiti was well over a million users before listing. And it didn't use the cheapo "invite all your friends before seeing your horoscope/fortune/etc." trick.

Huh? (1)

coniferous (1058330) | more than 7 years ago | (#19540525)

"My concern with Facebook is that there's no one regulating the utility."" Regulating what? The handing out of api docs? The creation of the programs? I've seen a couple of the programs and i can't see any that cross any lines, and i think the API was specifically designed for that. I can't comment on the handing out and documenting of the API, but perhaps the writer should talk to some of the other programmers.

I'm stupid (4, Insightful)

Realistic_Dragon (655151) | more than 7 years ago | (#19540539)

I really am. It took me a lot of kicks in the head to realize what I was doing was stupid.

In term of failed platforms, I think I have a long list. I invested time in:

mIRC script
NWN1 scripting engine
Win 95 era Visual Basic
Access 97 era VBA

Notice anything in common about these platforms?

The final kick was Labview. It was a fun language and, as a student, I didn't have to pay for it. Now of course I'm not a student so to update and reuse some nifty things I wrote as a student I would need to pay hundreds for a run time. Not smart.

Of course it's not useless. A lot of the things I learned have helped when programming in proper languages (C/perl/java/occam etc), and leaning for learning's sake is never a waste. But all of the things I wrote are now useless because someone else owns the platform they run on and I can't get or afford the environment.

Older and smarter I would have to be getting a healthy wage to write anything in a closed tool. I might be interested in learning DirectX 10 to steal the best ideas, but if I decide I want to do some 3D visualisation I'll do it on openGL thank you. I will also write my tools in the UNIX style, with exposed APIs and designed in the most modular fashion possible, since it makes them far more valuable in the long run.

Re:I'm stupid (0, Offtopic)

zeroduck (691015) | more than 7 years ago | (#19541885)

LabVIEW is a fun language--I'm a Certified LabVIEW Associate Developer working for a National Instruments Select Integrator. A lot of people in the LabVIEW community make the mistake of categorizing it as a general purpose language--which it is not.

LabVIEW is great for what its for: making systems for test and measurement. One of the systems I've recently worked on is a vision system which scans parts before going into other test systems (to maintain traceability). It uses a Cognex camera, Parker motion controllers (controlling a XY table robot), NI-CAN for communication with the carrier tray. To integrate all these components into a workable system with a nice GUI as fast as we did on this system in any other environment would be difficult.

Now the initial investment to work with LabVIEW is steep, but to some, it's worth it.

Here's another thought: people with LabVIEW experience are in constant demand. Search around Info-LabVIEW and LAVA.

back in the day.... (4, Insightful)

Cheezlbub (39707) | more than 7 years ago | (#19540569)

before all the craplets that people push on unsuspecting facebookers, I really enjoyed the site. It was an excellent work alternative(tm) Now, however, it's just becoming a more cluttered myspace. I'm expecting the facebook people to next open up the possibility to 'personalize' their profile with gaudy poorly written code that crashes web browsers (or maybe just safari, which - to be honest - isn't the most stable inmate in the asylum). So much for being elegant, simple, and unique.

Re:back in the day.... (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19541599)

Contrary to my space junk, facebook applications do not load automatically. It's always necessary to have an action from the user.

It's nothing like my space, that when you visit a profile you automatically start seeing an annoying slideshow or things like that.

In facebook you've gotta click something, always.
And about the colours, layout, etc, Facebook has done a nice work on keeping concistency, and developpers are following this lead.
The most you gonna get automatically with facebook's apps is some new images and boxes in the profile you're visiting.

That's not at all like myspace.

umm what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19541847)

i don't see how the parent was modded anything but a troll, tho now i suspect the majority of the slashdot upper-echelon raise their nerdified noses in disgust at the mere mentioning of facebook. the craplets you speak of are actually really awesome. a file hosting app that lets you share any file under 10mb with all of ur friends (up to a gig total) freakin rocks, great for sharing mp3s and full resolution pictures. (yay for png's) not to mention all the music sharing things they have (which do NOT autoplay, thank goodness) and other fun apps like fluff friends which gives ur facebook a pet that other people can... pet. graffiti is great too, if you have creative friends, probably not so much if you have idiot friends who just fill it with tons of penises and akwardly drawn boobies.

Re:back in the day.... (1)

Petey_Alchemist (711672) | more than 7 years ago | (#19544559)

Mod parent up. Facebook, in opening up and allowing these applications, has sacrificed much of the KISS mentality that so endeared it to its early adopter rabid userbase. While the site/service has enjoyed fantastic traffic and use, it is clear that its userbase is changing.

Whereas college students used to log into the site up to twelve times a day, that is no longer the case. Many college students that I know speak of being "tired" of Facebook. They only use it because there is nothing else with Facebook's utility or critical mass.

Facebook is the best social networking service out there, save perhaps the professional paradise of LinkedIn. That said, their old niche--a student "insider" network with at least lip service to a closed collegiate enclave--is now opening up.

You heard it here first: within two years, a smart startup is going to recapitalize on the fickle college student market. They won't replace Facebook for overall social networking, but they will fill the college student college based niche, and make a lot of money doing it.

In a free market, the customer regulates (3, Insightful)

Russ Nelson (33911) | more than 7 years ago | (#19540641)

My concern with Facebook is that there's no one regulating the utility.

In a free market, the customer regulates. In fact, by raising your concerns, you are doing it right now.

bring on the customer regulation! (1)

darkbeethoven (976422) | more than 7 years ago | (#19540821)

In fact, the lack of such seems to be shooting facebook in the foot. Why doesn't facebook have a peer-approved petitioning process to allow people to join facebook networks?

I can count several different associates with dormant facebook accounts whom, if given the chance to be "rallied into" a particular facebook network by other facebook users, would gladly use the website (and benefit from the private, social network).

Re:In a free market, the customer regulates (1)

DarkMantle (784415) | more than 7 years ago | (#19542879)

I'm more concerned about why it's not regulated. Check out this little tidbit of information about facebook. http://www.albumoftheday.com/facebook/ [albumoftheday.com]

Scared me away from it.

Re:In a free market, the customer regulates (1)

IAmGarethAdams (990037) | more than 7 years ago | (#19548953)

That will be why there is a box on the "Add Application" screen saying

[_] Know who I am and access my information

which if you uncheck gives you the message

Granting access to information is required to add applications. If you are not willing to grant access to your information, do not add this application.

It all goes back to the simple addage, if you don't want your information available, don't put it online!

As far as I know (and I'd check if I was worried about it) applications only have access to your limited account anyway.

But the FREE MARKET! (1, Funny)

Goaway (82658) | more than 7 years ago | (#19540643)

My concern with Facebook is that there's no one regulating the utility.

But REGULATION is BAD and the FREE MARKET will SOLVE ALL PROBLEMS!

Social Networking RFC Anyone? (4, Interesting)

yebb (142883) | more than 7 years ago | (#19540687)

To avoid situations like this, I wonder if anyone would be interested in proposing an RFC for a public, distributed social networking system. Much like IRC, that could be made redundant with multiple geographically diverse servers and more importantly couldn't be controlled by any one corporate entity.

Advertising revenue could be made by the "application" writers themselves, and the framework (something like Facebook) would become a commodity just like IRC became.

Facebook-like social networking without the corporate oversight could be a little more chaotic, but no more chaotic than every other distributed system on the Internet.

Re:Social Networking RFC Anyone? (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 7 years ago | (#19540893)

Drop me an email (or /. message), I'd be interested in collaborating on this. I've recently been working on integrating micro-blogging with IM, and I'd like to see some open standards for this kind of thing. The Internet is about distributed systems, not relying on a single corporation to control all of the content and infrastructure.

Re:Social Networking RFC Anyone? (1)

dominion (3153) | more than 7 years ago | (#19541207)


I've already been working on this, and it's nearing completion. Appleseed [sourceforge.net] is the name of the project, and I'm using a custom protocol, but I'd be interested in talking with people who have experience with forming proper RFC's.

THIS IS THE CORPORATE DICTATORSHIP (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19543813)

YOU ARE GOING DOWN!!!

Re:Social Networking RFC Anyone? (3, Interesting)

dominion (3153) | more than 7 years ago | (#19541235)


My project, Appleseed [sourceforge.net] , does just that. All the distributed functionality is in place, and it's at the point of rounding out the functionality, optimization, and then bug testing and cleanup.

It's open source, and uses a custom protocol, which is also open, although I would be open to modifying up the protocol at this point to make it easier for other applications to use

Re:Social Networking RFC Anyone? (1)

khanyisa (595216) | more than 7 years ago | (#19547101)

Appleseed looks really interesting. I'm concerned about how to convince others [translate.org.za] of the importance of not being locked in to closed networks. MugShot [mugshot.org] is also pretty interesting - not distributed, but free software, and can link stuff from facebook, myspace etc into your mugshot page...

Re:Social Networking RFC Anyone? (2)

nevali (942731) | more than 7 years ago | (#19541377)

Plug FOAF, Atom and OpenID together on a blogging platform, and a public distributed social networking system is precisely what you have.

People use Facebook, MySpace, et al, because they require zero technical knowledge to use: the unfortunate downside is that people who do have technical smarts and still want to participate can't use open standards and their own hosting/platforms to do so.

Re:Social Networking RFC Anyone? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19541693)

Could you leverage Usenet's distributed design in some manner for this?

About as likely as a search RFC (1)

xtal (49134) | more than 7 years ago | (#19543321)

Nice idea, but I doubt it would be adopted or practical to implement on a wide scale. One of Facebook's killer features is lightning response combined with a consistent interface anyone can understand. Both these things are less likely to occur outside of a monolithic entity, ala Google.

Re:About as likely as a search RFC (1)

psyced (1116901) | more than 7 years ago | (#19548967)

Just use an event-oriented real-time messaging protocol in the backend rather than going for polling RSS or Atom feeds. I have faster response on things I post in my chat window than I have on facebook - that's because facebook tells me things by e-mail (delay factor) and because I'm not in the same continent as the facebook servers (topology factor).

In a decentralized system I get notifications in real-time on my screen, and if the person writing me is in the same city as I, then notification doesn't have to pass facebook.com (or any other centralized system) or do much travel around the globe at all. No surprise it is a lot lightning faster than facebook.

Decentralized Social Networking (1)

psyced (1116901) | more than 7 years ago | (#19548899)

Count me in on this one.

We have a decentralized trust metric system built into http://about.psyc.eu/ [about.psyc.eu]
which so far we use for surfing profiles along the social network - but we
are actually a messaging protocol and looking into using trust metrics for
multicast routing (not IP Multicast, more like IRC).

I can see we have an overlap with appleseed in the requirements for the
distributed trust model but we are heading different direction in their
application which means appleseed on top of our protocol could be a major
enhancement and a win on both sides!

We should look into that. Somebody throw some time at me.

Developers.. (5, Interesting)

what2123 (1116571) | more than 7 years ago | (#19540713)

It's because of developers like this that are making Facebook junk. It was one of the best networking applications on the net, now your getting all these frills that are really making it lame.

Re:Developers.. (1)

bronzey214 (997574) | more than 7 years ago | (#19540895)

I agree. Facebook is getting MySpaced.

Re:Developers.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19541777)

Yes, I reluctantly joined Facebook after steering clear of social network crap that is/was MySpace and others. And the one thing I do like is the simplicity, though the menus are damn confusing in layout. Adding all these third party apps just clutters and makes more work that I don't have time for. I'd rather actually talk to my friends than read their horoscope.

They should make applets optional to viewers (1)

digitalderbs (718388) | more than 7 years ago | (#19541907)

The solution is simple in my mind, for both facebook and myspace. They should allow logged viewers to disable various "features" on user pages. For example, I could go without the "Ask a question" or "Emote" applets on facebook, which post notices to everyone in your friends list. In myspace, I could deal without the non-default backgrounds and background music. To make this feature really useful, there should be an option to automatically disable any new application and to specify which ones are allowed manually.

I agree. Facebook's simplicity was key in its success (in my mind), and now it feels like a heightened form of spam. I've enjoyed using facebook, but this is becoming a deal breaker for me.. unless they allow me to automatically turn this crap off.

Re:They should make applets optional to viewers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19542245)

When you get an application invite, click on it to go the invites page. On the right-hand panel you will see all the invites you are currently getting from Facebook, and you have a chance to disable those on *per-application* basis. I really don't care that yet another friend wants me to play the Red Bull Rock Paper Scissors game, and therefore never get invites for that ever.

Re:They should make applets optional to viewers (1)

digitalderbs (718388) | more than 7 years ago | (#19542371)

Yes, I've discovered how to disable notifications too. More specifically, I'd like to minimize profile page obfuscation for the viewer by allowing the viewer to disable these applications completely. (i.e. not just the notifications, but not display them on users' pages.)

Re:They should make applets optional to viewers (1)

koreth (409849) | more than 7 years ago | (#19544493)

If you collapse an application's profile box, that application's box will stay collapsed on any other profiles you view.

Re:They should make applets optional to viewers (1)

OverlordQ (264228) | more than 7 years ago | (#19548203)

They should allow logged viewers to disable various "features" on user pages

You can . . . try clicking that little arrow in the sections you dont wanna see.

Amazing isn't it.

Re:They should make applets optional to viewers (1)

Dan Hayes (212400) | more than 7 years ago | (#19555733)

Yup. Facebook's UI is absolutely lovely, smooth and almost everything you can do is nice and intuitive.

Re:Developers.. (1)

rhizome (115711) | more than 7 years ago | (#19543265)

It was one of the best networking applications on the net, now your getting all these frills that are really making it lame.

3. Profit!

It's a business - right? (1)

rueger (210566) | more than 7 years ago | (#19540901)

I'm ... more concerned about the lack of transparency in privately held social networks and the risks we take as developers when we invest time in a company's platform. ... My concern with Facebook is that there's no one regulating the utility."

Answered your own question didn't you? If you don't like the way that they run their company, then don't deal with them.

Who exactly do you think should "regulate" them? How?

Right (2, Insightful)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 7 years ago | (#19541401)

> My concern with Facebook is that there's no one regulating the utility.

Because we certainly don't want people going around doing things without permission, do we? An unregulated activity? How shocking!

Listen. It's a private company operating in an open market. If you don't like their rules take your business elsewhere. Want more "transparency"? Start your own "transparent" network.

Re:Right (1)

John Nowak (872479) | more than 7 years ago | (#19542995)

Start my own? But then I'd have to develop a business plan, work to get venture capital, and work 15 hours a day to get it off the ground! Can't someone else just come in and tell someone else that already did that what they're allowed to do with their business?

Platform Application Terms of Use (1)

manif3st (699952) | more than 7 years ago | (#19541571)

To be honest, although going off at a tangent (or completely OT if you want to see it that way), I am MUCH more concerned (with apps in general on Facebook) with this little gem:

II. Consent Regarding Use of Facebook Site Information

(a) Information That May Be Provided to Developers. In order to allow you to use and participate in Platform Applications created by Developers ("Developer Applications"), Facebook may from time to time provide Developers access to the following information (collectively, the "Facebook Site Information"):

(i) any information provided by you and visible to you on the Facebook Site, excluding any of your Contact Information, and

(ii) the user ID associated with your Facebook Site profile.

(b) Examples of Facebook Site Information. The Facebook Site Information may include, without limitation, the following information, to the extent visible on the Facebook Site: your name, your profile picture, your gender, your birthday, your hometown location (city/state/country), your current location (city/state/country), your political view, your activities, your interests, your musical preferences, television shows in which you are interested, movies in which you are interested, books in which you are interested, your favorite quotes, the text of your "About Me" section, your relationship status, your dating interests, your relationship interests, your summer plans, your Facebook user network affiliations, your education history, your work history, your course information, copies of photos in your Facebook Site photo albums, metadata associated with your Facebook Site photo albums (e.g., time of upload, album name, comments on your photos, etc.), the total number of messages sent and/or received by you, the total number of unread messages in your Facebook in-box, the total number of "pokes" you have sent and/or received, the total number of wall posts on your Wall, a list of user IDs mapped to your Facebook friends, your social timeline, and events associated with your Facebook profile.

When one tries to add any application to their profile, it says, from which the above was quoted (emphasis mine):

Brief blurb. By clicking 'add', you agree to the Platform Application Terms of Use [facebook.com] .

This guy is a spammer. (2, Interesting)

Animats (122034) | more than 7 years ago | (#19541685)

From the article: I saw a real opportunity for my site to reach a large new audience without a big marketing expense.

In other words, this guy had figured out a way to spam via Facebook. And he's complaining that they didn't process his application for a developer ID fast enough.

facebook is for children (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19541759)

Who even remotely cares about facebook or it's fleeting effort to keep it's dated social networking model alive with eye candy and a plethora of useless bells and whistles.

In the end facebook is not innovating, it's just filling up the site with distracting content to remove the user from the reality that the premise of the site is not evolving. Keep it simple stupid works everytime and facebook is guarantee to waste it's efforts trying keep social network alive through low end web apps.

Social network like any social trend is just that, a trend and most sites are simply little more than blogs with an eye candy home page. Wake up people, these are the infants of social networking and myspace and facebook are doomed simply by the fact they are aged. The next generation of kids are going to reject facebook for something different because that's how trends and socializing works. These social networks are proprietary or useful enough like IM is to remain a useful internet tool. They are just entertainment websites and many times the focus isn't really socializing unless you consider cutting and pasting text, sounds and pictures socializing. It's not really. A thousand people posting the same Bob Marley pic smoking a J is just a place to waste time and PLAY with the internet. Most people I know have had their fun in the social networking scene and gotten tired of it as they get older or get a real life. It's mostly for kids you know, rainbow bright themes and ohh wow I can post my own pictures and sounds thats SOOoo amazing. How long can that shit really entertain people.

Social networking sites need to get with the picture, providing feeds on whats your friends are doing so you can all effectively spy on each other in the long run is not going to attract a lot more users for facebook. They need less BS and more real substance, more reasons for people to actually socialize and not just post pictures and sounds and then tell everyone to come look at my new site. That's simply not socializing, it's more like interior decorating. In all reality a site like craigs list has just as much a real social network potential because it's community is less superficial and based on trendy crap. People go to craigs list for reasons beyond I'm lonley and bored out of my mind or I want to get laid. Facebook and Myspace are really just one step down from other sites like match.com and the majority of people there are using it to hookup with people. Because of that, these sites are doomed and they'll be replaced by the latest greatest trendy sites.

Re:facebook is for children (1)

alfs boner (963844) | more than 7 years ago | (#19683861)

lol.

Social networking is only 'outdated' to someone without a social life :)

Cry all you want, community-college dipshit.

Yo0 inse nsitive clod! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19542515)

death to socialism (1)

vsync64 (155958) | more than 7 years ago | (#19543237)

My concern with Facebook is that there's no one regulating the utility.
STFU Hugo Chavez. Hey, how about we nationalize "NewsCloud", whatever that is? How 'bout we "regulate" that utility? How would you like that?

Tollbooth to social relationship (1)

rhinokitty (962485) | more than 7 years ago | (#19543285)

The problem with social networking sites and many others is that they have the power to restrict access to your personal networks. If you make friends through facebook, or use the site to stay in touch, that relationship is owned by facebook. They have a leverage against you. If they decide to put interstitial ads or some other annoying thing on their site, you cant just migrate your friend network to myspace.

Mostly you can expect this not to happen, and if it does there is always the phone and e-mail, but a solution that is more node based and less reliant on all of your networks (social or physical) going through one company would be more like an actual social network, which grows organically and in a decentralized manner. Facebook, MySpace etc.. are more akin to an Elks Lodge or other association that is the singular source of social engagement for its members.

Which technologies exist now that operate outside of the single source model?

Wikis? (1)

ArikTheRed (865776) | more than 7 years ago | (#19543333)

It amazes me that, in this day and age, there are still concerns like this around social networks. If you want community involvement in your platform - involve the community in its design! OSS and Wikipedia have proven that it is a workable model. That's why I've recently moved my blog+myspace profile over to a wiki-based social network: http://meopedia.com/en/User:Eric_Redmond [meopedia.com]

facebook vs myspace (1)

erica_ann (910043) | more than 7 years ago | (#19544013)

I have been using Facebeeok for a few months.. I have to say I like Facebook SO much better than cluttered and mostly unreadable other social networking sites (MySpace and Yahoo 360)... I just hope that facebook doesn't go out to become another MySpace. The fact that it is so much more stripped down (and actually readable) is the reason I prefer it over MySpace or Yahoo 360.. In my opinion it isnt the 3rd part apps that are the problem.. it is the

Facebook approved my application today (sunday) (1)

newscloud (1037538) | more than 7 years ago | (#19546373)

Not sure if it had anything to do with the Slashdot post - but the NewsCloud application [facebook.com] is now approved and listed in the Facebook Directory.

facebook nees to take one more step... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19547397)

Now that Facebook has given its users to create ugly profiles, it also needs to give users the ability to customize their views of other people's profiles. There should be an app-free view.

Re:facebook nees to take one more step... (0, Redundant)

Dan Hayes (212400) | more than 7 years ago | (#19555761)

When you see an app you don't like on a profile, click the arrow to hide everything but the title, it'll be like that on every profile from then onwards.
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