As you probably noticed. Discovery is live on Ream! You can now find and search new stories on the platform. We announced the update to all authors a few days back.
We have not yet announced this update to readers on Ream.
Once lots of stories started being uploaded, the original set of algorithms we had slowed down. Thus, the current algorithms are a short term solution (which is why some results may be a bit less optimal) and we are working to update this so that the algorithms are back up and working better than ever for Discovery.
We are so grateful for all of you. Your feedback has been super helpful as we work out the kinks before announcing it broadly to readers everywhere <3.
You all rock! And together, Storytellers Rule the World!
I don’t want to be a negative Nancy here (sorry Nancy, whoever you are) but this is why software companies have private betas, not unannounced public ones. Readers are seeing this. They may not have gotten an email announcing it but readers going to see Ream for the first time, or going to catch up on stories they read are seeing it. I have several readers who have noticed and commented on it to me since I’m currently running a giveaway (with free access to a tier for a year). I would not have launched my giveaway at this time if I knew it would be in the middle of this discovery launch.
So as I said on Facebook, I know this is hard. Search algorithms are never easy and can give unexpected results and have performance impacts when implemented. I urge you to build some kind of offline/backup development environment that mimics the live one as close as possible (including the thousands of stories you said you needed to beta test). Though Ream is still young, and improvements are being rolled out, I did not expect to be part of a development environment. The service is live, with real readers and authors who I imagine are depending on it (I’m still too new and trying to find subscribers so it doesn’t impact me directly except for how it looks now to the people I’m trying to convince to join me during the giveaway).
Some of my irritation (which I admit may be unwarranted) is because I don’t feel like there is enough transparency between the dev process and the authors already committed to using the service. This has been stewing for a while now since comments on the forum here are often unreplied to even when multiple people chime in on a topic. There’s also no public roadmap, though I understand why you would make that choice. But though I do see features being confirmed for the future, or confirmed they won’t be included, I am having trouble believing Ream will be around for the long haul without having enough transparency into what we can expect when.
Now I’m a geek. I worked in software development and simulations for a tech non-profit for years. I know how good, or how bad, software development can be. Your team has been responsive to this discovery update feedback, and I do credit you for that. I take points away though, for having to participate in a public beta I didn’t agree to (maybe it was in the fine print somewhere), or at least I feel I wasn’t notified of the release and the possible impact to expect before it went live. If I missed announcements (other than the “It’s coming” generic warnings) then I apologize for complaining about that and I’ll do a better job of keeping up with the announcements. If there were no announcements, then consider being more open about your development and timelines, or perhaps add a group/mailing list for those of us more interested in how you’re creating this platform and where it is going on the tech side.
I am hopeful things all come together and Ream becomes what we all hope it will be.
I agree with all of this. I am a full stack developer as my day job, and we work in several development and sandbox environments before taking any new feature live. I definitely think it’s essential to have something like this in place, especially since money is being exchanged from users (subscribers). There are plenty of authors who would definitely volunteer to test new and upcoming features.
Chiming in to support those who’ve already replied to this and acknowledging their experience.
I work as an application developer and tech lead for one of the biggest biotech companies in the world. Even our smaller applications have a minimum of 2 environments, with most having 4 (dev, demo, QA, prod).
We do extensive testing in each successive environment, including stress testing with either simulated or real data for every single release. Ream says they’ve handled over $2million in payments so far. That indicates a large number of authors who rely on the platform to be stable (since you no longer are in beta). And the authors are stuck in the middle trying to explain these issues to our readers. Because they don’t always look at the problems and blame Ream, they see it as an issue on the authors.
Putting us in that situation should never have happened.
That said, I also want to thank you for the quick work you’ve been doing to try to mitigate the issues. I’m trying to remain optimistic. I share in CP’s concerns and thoughtful wishes for transparency. While I know it isn’t required (because we all know a certain insanely large company who wouldn’t know transparency if they ran into a glass window), it certainly goes a long way toward earning trust. Much further than a million “storytellers rule the world” posts, tbh.
Every author here is putting our trust, readership, and subscription author careers in your hands.