Saturday, March 21, 2015

Dammit Wattpad, Stop Changing The Story Layout!

As many of my fellow Wattpadders will no doubt have noticed, lately the site's been rolling out another round of cosmetic surgeries. This time, it's the space in which we read the stories that has been affected. I suppose it was inevitable, after the much-despised "Twitterization" of the profile pages, and the elimination of the double-genre system in favor of a single-genre system that apparently would have made it easier to find stories. As someone who believes strongly in the power of genre-busting, I'm still pissed about that one, and even more pissed that my attempt to start a petition to reverse it didn't take off.

Neither do I, Professor.
Now Wattpad's gone and done it again, and this time, I'm really just...ugh, I'm almost too pissed off for words. They've gone and repeatedly screwed up the layout of the stories. And I mean repeatedly - in the last several days, they seem to have changed the layout at least once every twelve hours.

Rube's a breakfast aficionado. I'm more of a writer myself.

First, they made it so that instead of having the stories split up into several pages as needed, now the pages load automatically as soon as you come to the end of one. Which might seem good for convenience's sake, but when you want to scroll down and leave a comment about something you particularly liked, it means you have to scroll all the way down over and over again as all those pages load up, then go back up slowly and painfully as you try to remember the place where you left off.

Mr. Finch is right.
The execution of this good premise totally sucks.

In addition, there are these annoying, useless ads that pop up in between pages. It was bad enough that Wattpad had to put randomly talking ads on the sides of story pages, in between our cast lists and recommendations list. But to make them so much more ridiculously prominent, and further detract from the Wattpad reading experience?

Understatement of the month.

And now the crème de la rotten crème - they've gone and taken a pet peeve of mine and applied it to everyone's stories as far as my eye has seen. I've sometimes found people with really wonky formatting on their stories, where for some reason they have no spaces between paragraphs. This results in a nigh-illegible wall of text that's really, really hard on the eyes.

Every story I've seen in the last several days has this now. Every. Single. Fucking. One.

Cumberbatch's face, doing things no
human face was meant to do.

The worst part of it is, if the text as it appears when you edit the story is anything to go by, this issue shouldn't even be happening. I will now present you with a vision of what Red Rain looks like in Wattpad's editor, from Chapter 10:

I had to make this picture extra-large so you guys could see it properly.

Looks fine, right? Exactly like what we're used to seeing it. But now here's the steaming hot pile of scheiße the current story layout turns the same text into:

If you turn it sideways, it almost resembles an EKG readout. Or the Matrix without the Sickly Green Glow.

In addition to losing the nice, neat full-justified text, the lack of spaces between paragraphs just turns this glorious little convo into a bloody mess. I wouldn't read the story like this if it were published in a weighty little hardcover someday (and I'm still hoping it will be, despite the continued lack of agent interest, but let's not open upthat wound). And if some lazy-ass publisher tried to do that, I'd yank whatever deal I had with them and take my business elsewhere. I wouldn't allow my readers to read something I wouldn't read myself. Would you?

The funny thing is, barely twenty-four hours ago, the story layout had the opposite problem with the paragraph spacing. There was too much of it. It looked like instead of skipping one line between paragraphs, everyone had skipped three. (If I had any screenshots of this to show you, I would do so immediately. Of course, I didn't think I would need to take such screenshots this time yesterday...) My guess? Whoever does the coding for Wattpad's design and layout must have noticed this little problem and overcorrected for it.

Also the result of overcorrecting: stuff like this.

Or perhaps whoever's doing the design work decided to have a childish phase and experiment with the code until people got pissed at them.

I was gonna use Cat from Victorious for this,
but the pic I found wasn't GIF-y enough

Whatever the reason, I'm not the only one who's gotten pissed about this. So, if you're reading this and you want to join me, let me know and I'll add your name to this little petition. I'll start with my own name, of course, and hopefully add more in the coming days until Wattpad finally makes a change for the better.


Remember: Denis Leary is always watching. Always.

Edit (3-23-15): Today, after publishing Chapter 13 of The Scalers, I discovered that Wattpad has fixed the spacing issue that got me so riled up before. Now the spacing is completely back to normal, for which I am grateful. But I still wish Wattpad would eliminate the auto-loading page thing.

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