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Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Ramifications of Miiverse Redesign Summer 2015

By LUDWIG VON KOOPA - This doesn't seem to be going in the right direction.

Today I woke up wondering one thing: What the hell is Nintendo's Miiverse going to look like today?

I was going to write about the new Miiverse redesign when it was first announced at the beginning of the month. But I decided that since the details were pending and you can never trust a preview, that it would just be better to wait. I still took screenshots of all the parts of the announcement.

Miiverse Redesign Summer 2015 big changes Tom Nintendo
Nintendo Tom looks really happy. Should we?

And somehow, just somehow, it was worse than I imagined it would be. And since it's pretty close to, if not worse than what the original redesign notice promised, we'll use that as a guide for our discussion.

The Screenshot Album

This may be the best part of the update, though it's not something I've utilised immediately.

Miiverse redesign Your Screenshot Album
You can access your screenshots off the PC but without having to make a post for it.

There have been times in the past (and likely the future) where I took inappropriate screenshots that I wanted saved to my computer, but did not want to post in public to Miiverse. I feared they would be reported, or maybe it was a fear these posts just wouldn't get much Yeahs and my average Yeahs per post would go down.

An example:

Hands Up Don't Shoot Super Smash Bros. For Wii U
Featuring a hooded thug and poor Wario being robbed on top of the Drug Store.

The downside is that this replaces posting to your Activity Feed, which has been removed as we'll discuss later.

You can also post saved screenshots to your Play Journal (to create opening posts), but you may not pull up your Screenshot Album for attaching screenshots to comments across the network regardless of if it's your post or someone else's. This makes the dream of having a bunch of reaction images, such as an OBJECTION from Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney pullable on-demand... well, still a dream. If I save that OBJECTION picture into my Screenshot Album, I should be able to post it in a comment in any post in the Ace Attorney community because it's saved and it's the same game. But that's not a functionality. It can only be used to make new posts.

Your Play Journal

So what IS this Play Journal?

Your Play Journal Miiverse Redesign diary screenshots
So it's an organised collection of screenshots you post while playing.

You can only access the Play Journal for a game if you've played it, obviously. It's the number one thing Nintendo wants you to check out when you go into someone's profile:

Miiverse profiles redesign July 29 screenshot
Rawk's diary of the day: Spamming Miiverse because he's scared of a Darkrai, who is also his biggest fan.
At least SOMEONE is a fan of Rawk, I guess?

As you can see, "View Play Journal" is a thing in every Miiverse profile that is literally front and centre. It is more prominent and eye-catching than actually looking at someone's post history, or seeing their biographical information.

Another note on that: It's simply bad design to put accessing someone's record of Posts in the corner of the profile with nothing markedly distinguishing it from Friends, Following, and Followers; which is less important information for the user both from the user's perspective (unless they want to stalk your friends) and Nintendo's perspective (Miiverse is about content, which are the posts, so you want to make this prominent).

By the way, if you want to see what a user Yeahed, you can only find that information by clicking on that Posts button. Yup, that totally makes sense.

A New Look For Communities

Here is the real meat behind the update: Every community except pretty much the developer communities and The Legend of Zelda Series community (and other select places like the New Super Luigi U community) has totally changed into some super-divided four-front mess.

Miiverse redesign July 29 categories community sections
The Journal Entries, Drawings, and Discussions. Not seen: In-Game posts, which are only on certain communities.

Now every community is split into three-to-four vertically divided sections that do not co-mingle with one another: Play Journal Entries, Drawings, Discussions, and sometimes In-Game. Every section has its unique features and... trade-offs. The redesign copy claims that "browsing" will be "easier and more fun", which is not true. Changing one stream of posts in a community to four only over-organises and makes it difficult to find things.

You have to have a screenshot for Play Journal opening posts unless you're in a community that doesn't permit that, like most of the Pokémon games. You can only type posts in Play Journals. You can only type comments in Play Journals.

For Drawings, you must draw the opening post. Making Drawing posts is therefore inaccessible on PC Miiverse. Comments may be made either typed or drawn. The description in the screenshot scared people for offering crony capitalism, but fortunately, posts may be sorted by New or by Popularity, just like on the old Miiverse. It's "New" by default. You do not need to own the game to post here. You may post a screenshot in your opening post, and in comments in Drawing posts.

As for Discussions, these also must be typed in both posts and comments. These have a variety of options for tags that don't really matter. If you open a Discussion in one community and then post a Discussion in another, the older Discussion closes. As in, the post remains, but no one can comment. You may not ever re-open comments in that Discussion ever again. You can also post a Discussion without owning the game. You can attach screenshots here.

You may also hand-write and attach screenshots in the comments section of any In-Game posts. 

All that means there is absolutely no reason why you would ever want to post in the Discussion section of a community or even the Play Journal community. Use Drawings for everything: Whether you need a screenshot or not. It offers the most flexibility for your commenters and for yourself. The only reason you wouldn't use Drawings is if you must post from your PC or mobile trash device. This means that Nintendo separated communities into sections for absolutely no reason, because they made one of the sections so obviously superior to the others.

The Legend of Zelda series community continues on like it was never touched by the redesign, making it the new default community for many users since it's a "special community" always-accessible from the main communities page.

Update July 31: One last bit: If a post in any section achieves 100 comments, it automatically closes to comments. (Other posts before had a limit of 1,000 posts before closing.)

Other Changes

And here's the most obvious pair of changes for many, with the most controversial here relegated to a footnote:

Miiverse redesign 30 posts comments per day limit
I mentioned Activity Feed posting, but... what. POSTING LIMITS?

One advantage the Activity Feed posting will have is that you could post screenshots from any game to it, since it was community-agnostic. This made for some entertaining situations we'll never see again.

When Miiverse was originally devised, there was no posting restrictions. You could post as many comments and posts that you wished. Then at some point, Nintendo made a "three-minute rule" where you could only make a new comment every three minutes. This was lowered to two.

Now we have a "less strict" (the kind of double-talk employed by the morons in the media, so shame on Nintendo for joining them) limitation... of only 30 posts+comments total per 24 hours. You're constantly notified of your total posts left:

Miiverse redesign posting limit restriction remaining posts for today
Do I really want to bar myself from posting anything else for the rest of the day with this? Maybe not.

Deleting an earlier post or comment made that day doesn't "refund" you, either.

This is an absolutely stupid policy, as seen in the below not-to-scale graph:

Miiverse comments per day graph comparison versions updates
Unless Nintendo has server storage problems, you WANT the purple curve.

30 comments/posts a day means that roleplays, chat threads, and being able to help at least 31 people a day with their problems is no longer possible. And this disincentivises courtesy: You no longer will see people say "thank you" for compliments or for help, because this uses a precious comment up. Heck, you might not even get compliments anymore. Why write out a heartfelt comment when you can lazily give a "Yeah", which are currently unrestricted in quantity per time period?

Miiverse will turn into the first social network where community and close-bonding is actually discouraged. This is actually an amazing concept, but one meant for a tiny trollish experiment and not something as high-profile and prominent to your core product experience as Miiverse. It's also a sharp turn from the really old days of 2003-2007 when Nintendo administered the Nintendo NSider Forums.

Back on NSider, Nintendo highly encouraged significant time investment and post quantity. Nintendo institutionalised castes of users, known as "ranks", and these ranks would be obtained by spending enough time and making enough posts on the forum. Ranks also gave different abilities: You had to be a Koopa rank to be able to have a signature, and that was over 1,200 posts. You once had to have over 21,000 posts at Fox Brigade to be able to edit your posts.

People at the higher ranks looked down upon people at lower ranks. This was known as "Rankism". Yours truly was a flaming rankist who always belittled lower-ranked people. This was, again, encouraged by the way NSider was set up. NSider had a feature we called "Goomba Prison" where new users were automatically institutionalised in the "welcome" board for a period of time and could not post on other boards. Nintendo of America clearly had a "guilty before innocent" mentality, and it only applied to the lowest-ranked of them all.

In terms of constructive material, Miiverse had a slightly better system where you were once rewarded for posting quality content by the amount of Yeahs your posts received. There used to be a publicly available cumulative Yeah counter, but this was removed long ago. Yeahs can only be given by other users (or your alternate accounts). This means that, while on NSider you could inflate your community standing by you making posts, on Miiverse your community standing was actually determined by the community. Not anymore. Now there really is no community. With its faults, NSider gave rise to a very large number of friendships and community because it allowed unrestricted posting. Proof? KoopaTV's five staffers were all friends back on NSider over 10 years ago.

If you're like me, you still know how many Yeahs you have. By my count, I have 6,771 as of publishing.

Miiverse activity Excel spreadsheet PrinceOfKoopas cumulative Yeahs
Excel is THE BEST.

Well, anyway, if there is ever a videogame that not only allows in-game posts but also in-game comments, those who haven't given up on Miiverse will all purchase that game so it does not go against your 30 comment-per-day restriction. Someone get to making that.

In the meantime, Miiverse is in a difficult place to reside in. I won't truly make 30 posts/comments a day... I'll do 29 at max. Which is where I'm at now and have been for hours. What a difficult place indeed.

I've always said Miiverse is a game to me (hence why I track my stats in Excel), but... "resource management" should not be a skill on a social network. Miiverse is supposedly about discussing games, but these updates do nothing to aid that goal.

And as loath as I am to tangent to this... Well, I believe that Satoru Iwata himself would be ashamed of this atrocious update.

Update 7/30/2015: Those few minutes from the footer didn't happen, and as we went from July 29 to July 30, the restriction didn't refresh. Now I'm effectively banned from Miiverse for who knows how long (until I go to sleep and wake up?) for doing normal community functions. This will only scare people away.

Miiverse error code 121-5919 already exceeded the number of posts that you can contribute in a single day
Error Code: 121-5919
You have already exceeded the number of posts that you can contribute in a single day. Please try again tomorrow.

Follow Ludwig at NNID PrinceOfKoopas! In a few minutes, he'll get 30 more chances to comment! If you send him a friend request on the Wii U, you and him can chat on the Miiverse's PMs as many times as you would like without it counting as a post or comment!

Ludwig has had a questionable history defending previous Miiverse updates, such as praising the console ban update that later has taken the accounts of some friends.
Ludwig's comparison of Miiverse to NSider here contradicts an earlier analysis where he said the two were pretty similar. And they still are, really.
Did all the stuff we said would happen because of the redesign actually happen? Click here to find out.


  1. Word of advice: Abandon Miiverse, because it is horse shit and a sorry excuse of a social media site.
    Please and thanks. :3
    ~Kisses, your loyal kohai Kumietorie

    1. But but I liked Miiverse. ;-;
      I want it to return to its glory...

    2. Okay, you can do that.

      Protip: It won't.

    3. Do you think this will be the last straw for miiverse? The wiiu will be phased out for the nx and several Nintendo services have been discontinued.

    4. Two things on that:

      1. NNIDs are said to be something that will continue with the NX and beyond. Miiverse is married with NNIDs and could very well be something that continues with the NX as well.
      2. What would be the point of investing man hours to develop a new version of Miiverse if Nintendo believed they would kill it off anyway by next year? Might as well just leave it as-is and not waste any more time with it.

    5. Who says it would get replaced? They could feel that the matinence isn't worth the effort and use the system chance as an excuse, so people question it less. The update didn't solve the problems that caused the update like they hoped . aborting miiverse would mean they dont have to supervise or run the servers, if they feel its a failure and no longer worth it.

    6. No one said Miiverse would get replaced. You insinuated that it would be discontinued come NX and didn't say it'd be replaced by anything, while I'm saying it should continue with the NX.

      If Nintendo is running the servers themselves somewhere instead of outsourcing it, they're doing it wrong.
      And we already know they aren't, because we already know they're outsourced to Amazon CloudFront. (Hence why Miiverse image urls go there.)
      So they aren't supervising any servers. They're obviously paying for the service, but we have no idea how much.

      BUT, if Nintendo thought it's too expensive to pay for that, then they would've never opened Miiverse to begin with. Recall that they expected to sell many more Wii Us at the beginning of the Wii U's lifespan than they already have. Like, MANY more. They thought they'd sell 5.5 million Wii Us within the first year and 9 million more by the next. Nooooope.

      But if they used their projections for their budgeting process (as you'd think they would), then Nintendo has been paying LESS to Amazon than projected. Which is why they felt pretty safe about allowing 3DSs.

    7. Hey, nothing I said was wrong.
      It lasted over two years since this conversation!

  2. I was hopeful the redesign would be a good thing. I'm sad to see I was mistaken. :(

    1. As I commented on someone's post on Miiverse (and got two comment-Yeahs), "Change is almost always bad." Sort of like how new laws always suck.

      One exception was KoopaTV getting a domain name. :o

      But yeah, I know from experience that when Nintendo updates a social communication, it's always more restrictive and worse.

  3. The Play Journal is a step backwards compared to the Activity Feed because you can no longer post screenshots to other regions (such as Japan, Oceania, etc..). This was an option with Activity Feed posts, but not anymore with the Play Journal.

    1. Wait, could you explain that in further detail? That's something I didn't know (and never found the need for it), but it sounds like insightful information.

      Oh, wait, you mean...
      For instance, European Ace Attorney community is a different "game" than American Ace Attorney, so Americans on the European community cannot post screenshots of their Ace Attorney game because it would be like trying to post Smash Bros. screenshots on Splatoon.

      But then why not just stick to the American community? And how is the Activity Feed bypassing that?
      UNLESS you want Americans and Europeans to share screenshots in one post for fun fun times.
      In that case... yeah, I totally get you.

  4. The play journal is cute and all, but I'd rather continue to hoard screenshots on my computer. I was hoping at least we'd get more communities where screenshots are permitted.The one think I was looking foward to was an end to all the weird posts, but they're just as common . There is still a plethora of fnaf and anime chicks in bikini.
    It was nice when miiverse was new and most of the people were polite and mature, so we did not need totolitarian rules.Things really went downhill when 3ds users came, but no one seemz comfortable admitting that. With tnis and the amiibo issue unsolved, it's frustrating. I can't even compliment people's art, and I sure as heck dont want to help them, since ive been conservative with my posts. As of now, I have 29 left, but ive had to ignore people and/or yeah what they say so they know I'm should be able to comment on your own dang post. If the mods were more functional, they wouldn't need a quick fix.

    1. Hey, I've been bravely proclaiming it being the 3DS users' fault ever since 2013. :o In fact, I just mentioned it to this 3DS-only user and despite his reaction, he followed me. :o

      It's pretty awful that your own comments are affected by the remaining-posts limit, which makes this update objectively more strict than the 2/3-minute rule which didn't affect your own posts.

      As an aside, I need to mention in the article that Discussions close at 100 comments as opposed to 1,000.
      Seriously, just use Drawings for EVERYTHING.

      But yeah, this just will encourage people to make alternate accounts for the purpose of commenting on Miiverse. An alt to help/thank people?
      That's if you still retain your humanity after Miiverse sucks it out.

    2. ...Okay it doesn't matter what section you're in, the max is 100 comments.
      As seen here:

      Oh, sorry, Miiverse has been sucking out MY humanity. Thanks for commenting!

    3. Logistically, it makes a lot of sense.notice that's when the troublemakers came? What's worse is all those users stayed. If I wanted to see anime furries making out, I'd go to tumblr.
      Even though I don't agree with the update, I understand why they did it. 12 year olds want their own tumblr, and they can get away with going on miivere. There is no reason we should be limited on our own posts, though.I guess I'm going to have to use my talk more. Handwriting helps? I'll stick to typing since my writting is hard to read and I can't fit much.

    4. Handwriting is one of the big differentiators between Miiverse and other social networks. It's a compelling, unique feature.

      So my solution to this would basically be go back to Miiverse 2012/2013 in terms of unrestricted posting and community formatting, but just... ban people more often.
      I mean, clearly this update doesn't solve the problem any better than just being more strict would.

      And enforce banning anyone who says they're under 13 but lied about it on their NNIDs.
      Hell, I'd make it a reportable/bannable offence for anyone who clearly demonstrated that they did not read the Nintendo Network Services Agreement. Most people don't read it, but you gotta be the certain sort of stupid to out yourself for it.

      If they just banned half of Miiverse's users that day, Miiverse would be better off now.


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