Internet Rants & Raves Review Social Media & Social Networking

9 things wrong with StumbleUpon

So I thought to myself: now that I know 5 good reasons why StumbleUpon is pretty good, maybe there’s some stuff they’ve got wrong? And like most Social Networks out there, StumbleUpon isn’t flawless…

The problems with StumbleUpon aren’t too deeply ingrained or self-defeating, like those 17 things wrong with Google’s Blogger.

I tend to fling myself around the web, looking for the best Social Networks. So after many near misses, I signed up to StumbleUpon on May 19, 2007.

And I still have to wonder why I didn’t join earlier. But if I really must have a moan or 9…

BTW, you can pay a visit to Wayne Smallman’s StumbleUpon profile »

9 things wrong with StumbleUpon

1. So we have comma-delimited Tags, but then if you add in a Tag made up of more than one world, the tag becomes hyphenated. Sort of like Tags, only marginally better. Either the Tags are comma-delimited or they’re hyphenated. Having both doesn’t seem to make sense.

2. Are they Groups, or are they Forums? Well, from the look of things, they’re neither. In fact, they’re more like ‘blogs. If they’re intended to be like forums, then they have a lot of features missing. Anyone who’s on the likes of SitePoint forums, Digital Point forums, or even SlashDot know what forums should look like.

For example, there’s no pin posts, you can’t reply to a post, there’s no proper threading and no WYSIWYG editing. All of which are staple features of any fora. The weird thing is, WYSIWYG editing is to be found elsewhere within StumbleUpon, but just not in the forums.

3. So I’ve clicked the People tab and I see a bunch of people listed with those geographically the closest first in descending order. Now what? Surely there are more people? But where are they?

I’m pretty sure there are, but there’s no pagination, so I’ll never know. The same happens when you click on the: “Browse people” from your Profile page. There’s no option to view more.

4. Where’s the preview option for emails? Where’s the preview option for anything, for that matter? Since there’s no global WYSIWYG editing, you have to type in links as HTML within the message. And if you get your code wrong, you’re stuck.

5. How do I see how many people have voted for something I’ve submitted to StumbleUpon? I can see the Reviews, but I’d like to know the number of thumbs up and thumbs down those articles get.

I did ask about this, but the the short answer is, there’s just no way to know. I suspect that such features are reserved for the paid-for StumbleUpon Ads service.

For those like me who probably won’t run a serious-minded advertising campaign on StumbleUpon, but do like to keep a track on what succeeds and what doesn’t, this is a real bind.

6. Why tell me how many recent Visitors I’ve had if I can only see the last 10? Why can’t I see the full list of most recent Visitors? Sometimes, I like to thank them, or go see what they’re up to. But because the 11th visitor onwards is out of the list, I’m out of luck.

7. The weird character encoding often seen in titles that include apostrophes, double angled quotes et cetera. A minor issue, some might argue, but it’s just intensely annoying and makes titles almost illegible. Annoyingly, there’s no option to edit the title after submitting.

8. I’m probably singling out StumbleUpon a little unfairly here, because others make the same amazingly annoying mistake. From inside Preferences, there’s the Country option. Why can’t I see England in that list? I assume UK is the option I’m supposed to choose. Sadly, there is no such Country as UK.

I’m not UKese, I’m English and I want to choose England as my Country because that’s the country I’m from.

9. Pictures of ‘cute’ cats. To be banned with immediate effect. Not strictly a problem with StumbleUpon, but lamentable none the less.

And finally, as fellow SUer Kate pointed out in a late night Skype chat: there’s no such thing as the perfect system.

And by extension, there’s no such thing as a perfect Social Network. But with the likes of StumbleUpon around, we’re getting closer…

Recommended reading

By Wayne Smallman

Wayne is the man behind the Blah, Blah! Technology website, and the creator of the Under Cloud, a digital research assistant for journalists and academics.

18 replies on “9 things wrong with StumbleUpon”

Y’know, I never really thought of StumbleUpon as a social network before reading these two posts. I installed the toolbar and Stumbled around…it was just a bit of a time waster.

Now I’ve started digging deeper into it, and have found a few of my friends using it. Just wanted to thank you for the posts.

David & discussed the cute cat thing earlier.

He’ll be performing penance later this evening .. just for having a cat!

Hi Pete and thanks for taking the time to comment!

I’m really glad I helped out.

That’s the kind of thing that makes the whole ‘blogging thing worthwhile…

Excellent set of posts, Wayne.

It seems all too often in today’s blog-o-sphere that people take an absolute opinion on one side of the fence or the other in order to elicit a reaction as it’s so difficult to get noticed nowadays!

So I am quite glad to read a balanced, accurate, and thoughtful description of the service in full: the good and the, well, could be better.

P.S. Thanks for the mention – but remember, I’m YOUR adoring fan 😉

Hi Kate!

It’s worth mentioning that Kate does often look through my articles before I post them.

Which is a total waste of her time because I only go and rewrite them afterwards…

Regarding : “7. The weird character encoding often seen in titles that include apostrophes, double angled quotes et cetera. A minor issue, some might argue, but it’s just intensely annoying and makes titles almost illegible. Annoyingly, there’s no option to edit the title after submitting.”
If you can set your browser to character encoding Unicode. Whatever characters are not displaying should display.


That’s the first thing I checked.

All my browsers are set to Unicode, still the same problem…

Agreed country lists could replace ‘UK’ with ‘England’ … but those lists would then be even longer, as they would then also need to show Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland too … which is exactly what I think needs to happen.

Great post 🙂

Hi Ian and thanks for the post!

I went to the US when I was at college [ahem] years ago.

Some kind of immigration official came onto the aeroplane and gave us some forms to fill out.

We had these options for nationality and there it was, UK.

I had a fairly heated discussion with him and flatly refused to tick UK.

He wanted to take me off the aeroplane for questioning, but I stood my ground.

In the end, he just scribbled at the bottom of the form the golden word…

The visitors thing really annoys me to be honest in addition to the apparent “incomplete” listings in terms of users and page stats.

I often wonder if I go to the trouble of tagging and reviewing sites, does my profile become more effective in SU because of the extra time and effort I’ve contributed?

Or do people who just click thumbs up and down have just the same amount of value?

I think those last two questions are linked, really.

I often go to my StumbleUpon profile and visit web pages that:
1. interest me, obviously, and;
2. that have a review, rather than just grabbed text from within the article.

So for me, reviews are the real draw, since most of the stuff I then review myself isn’t tagged properly, not by the person who originally Stumbled the article, or subsequent reviewers…

The visitors from StumbleUpon are the ones who perform the most actions, out of all the visitors from the various social networks and social media websites.

Digg visitors are by far the lowest when it comes to actions performed…

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