23 August, 2009

Facebook frustrations

Filed under: General,Technology by Joel @ 12:41 pm, 23 August 2009.

Many things have annoyed me about Facebook lately. I ranted at their representative at ACL the other week, but his job was natural language processing, not bug-fixing.

Things have become especially frustrating when dealing with two of their most under-baked utilities: Pages (whataretheyanyway?!) and Events (beentheresinceforeverandstilldon’twork) in order for my Page, Barefoot, to advertise its concert series.

Pages have confused people since their inception. They might be better titled Organisations. They are a bit like groups, but they have fans instead of members, and I think Facebook didn’t want them created quite so freely as groups are (were?). They’re also a bit like personal Profiles in that they have a wall and apps and everything, and they can be fans of other pages. And they’re publicly viewable (and crawlable) on the web, so they act as web sites, and can help bring in FB’s bread. Basically, they’re what groups should have been, but never were.

Events are very popular, but they’re impossible for something like a concert series. You can only state one start and end time, so people get confused by our concert being over 6 days long, or say they can’t come because they’re unavailable on the first evening.

In the intersection between Pages and Events is an abyss of madness. One of the neatest features Facebook ever added to Events was the ability to message groups of people, depending on whether they were attending, not replied, etc. But if you create the event through a Page, you can’t do that:

if an event is hosted by a Page, the Page admin will not see the option to send a message to event guests. Individuals may be added as event admins in order to have this option. (Facebook FAQ)

Oh, I just need to make myself an event admin! But I can’t because Page admins can’t be added as event admins if the Page hosts the events.

Yet, if I remove another Barefoot member from being a Page admin, I can add them as an Event admin. And indeed, then I can add them back as a Page admin.

So somehow, very dodgily, now a person is both a Page and Event admin and can (yay!) send messages to event guests.

Another frustration: after finally finding this hole in Facebook’s foolishness, I could no longer send to people who’ve replied Not Attending. I can understand that those not attending are probably not interested in hassle messages. But when people reply Not Attending because Facebook makes it seem like we only have one concert, not five, I’d like a way to send them a clarification… :(

End rant.

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