For older Wattpad users (let’s say pre 2016/7), how have you noticed the website declining in quality from the removal of all the social features, and the algorithm showing you what you read/write?
It used to be about a community sharing works, either for the consumption of pleasure only–as in people went there to write and read for fun, while also balancing a scale of people who wanted to get their name out there but were still kind of in the ‘armature’ phase of their writing process, so they sought feedback to try to make them a stronger writer. Looking back at what it was, compared to what it is now, there are both criticism and compliments to give to the website. A compliment would be that they manage comments a whole lot better, which was needed A LOT back in the day when people were straight-up evil to one another (racism, homophobia, sexism, etc.).
A criticism would be that they’ve moved to a more corporate level of consumption. Most things are behind pay-walls, and the quality of some of the stories behind pay walls leaves something to be desired (not always the case, some of the writers worked HARD for their position). I think a reward system is great, but I also thinks it cuts out a lot of talented people in favor for popularity–which is already what book companies already do and wasn’t the purpose of Wattpad at the beginning of its creation. It was mainly a place for people to gather and share works, now that isn’t too much the case (it feels).
The longer I live, the less people have good things to say about wattpad. Fanfic writers have been its strongest supporter in years past but I don’t hear as many fanfic writers swear by it these days.
I suppose publishing toxic waste as teen fic romance and adapting them into Netflix shows tanked their reputation in the eyes of the public.
Yeah, when I joined the forums in 2013, there were many more ways to promote your work (newsfeed, activity feed, Meebo chat, forums, and DMs). It was a lot easier to promote it within the website 'cause everything was enclosed within the Wattpad website, until recently. I still think that Wattpad should have made a separate website for the Paid Content and not nuked the main website. The main website should have continued the theme for authors looking for feedback, and to better their work. And get chosen for an exclusive paid website.
Yeah, the fact that there are a lot fewer options to communicate now isn’t a good thing, IMHO, and the fact that they messed up the algorithm when they introduced Paid Stories as well. It has no rhyme or reason. It’s changed a lot since Michale Limjoco made the guide to cracking Wattpad’s code on rankings. I get that they had to tweak the Yuenrank (official name) system to make sure that newer stories got a chance, but now, it’s actually getting clogged up with old stories again, which isn’t good.
They need to look at that, and maybe bring back a better-moderated forum/chat so that people can still have their voice/promote their stories safely. I remember the Parogar incident and I understand why they banned him, but there was a lot of arguing and fallout from that. It could have been handled better, maybe?
And one thing they should bring back is a featured author spotlight. One where an undiscovered, well-written story gets put in the spotlight and on the front page for a whole month. And it rotates every now and then between authors when every single category has a few featured authors/stories. (These should be unpaid, btw).
Yeah, them nuking the whole main site to stick a load of old stories behind the paywall wasn’t really fair. And some of them aren’t really edited either, which is dumb. Only edited stories should be behind a paywall, approved by a team of editors, and changed up a bit. No one wants stories from 2011-2014 that has been read numerous times to be behind a damn paywall. That is unfair. New and exclusive stories should be used for that, and if they are already released, should be heavily edited and revamped.
Yeah, it does cut out a lot of talented people who want a start. And people who don’t want Wattpad to host their work paid and who want a shot at self-publishing. It was a lot easier to do that back then, I agree. Wattpad should nurture and support more authors, and give them what they need, tbh. The algorithm and paid stories shouldn’t be against them.
Yeah, ikr? If they can’t have anything good to say about it, then that’s not good.
Yea, and not unique things.
I’m a Wattpad user from the 2014 era. It’s a lot Wattpad has done (both good and bad) that puts the site into question. Even for those who dabble in Fanfic writing like me (I also write original fiction).
One of the first things I noticed with the decline of the site was when they made our profiles more like social media sites. And removing Fans to Followers. Which I never liked, since it makes people think to being popular matters more than creating well-written stories. After that, it was how the tags and algorithm were completely broken. Like, we still see the aftermath of that with stories from 2014 still trending and that was never finished. Sometimes with questionable content.
And another thing was how outdated the forums became as the years went by and no effort to update them was made whatsoever. I can still recall the summer it went down for five days straight. Didn’t help either that if you muted someone, they could still comment on your stories and profile. It was downright toxic. And not user-friendly.
I liked how the tags used to work, such as genre actually mattering, and being in the top 1000 tags could propel your story and account into more readers. I miss that a lot.
I dislike how they made a hierarchy when it comes to Wattpad Paid, Wattpad Stars, etc. I remember on the forums when it happened. People were angry and felt sidelined. Which was entirely valid. Didn’t help when they put stories behind paywalls, more aggressive advertisements (one of the reasons I rarely read on the site anymore), and focused more on graphics and aesthetics instead of being an actual valid site.
Don’t get me started on how questionable their rules for putting your stories there are as well. It’s for a reason between fanfic writers we advise against the site. The way they’re using the rights of the story is downward horrid. On Tumblr, we always tell to share on AO3.
I will continue to use the site, of course. Because I’ve readers on there and I like the writer interface but that’s about it. I don’t aim to get published or win a Watty there anymore. If I get a proper reader base on Lutionary, I might focus on being more on there (that and Inkitt). Wattpad will function more as an archive of sorts, where I post my stories.
Yes. Just yes. It’s almost impossible to get new readers and all they ever advertise is shitty romance books that are rarely well written. They also seem to be caring more about the money than about the actual writers Also, don’t even get me started on the double standards that are their rules
I’ve been a member since 2012, and come August, it would be a full ten years since I joined.
I love Wattpad, don’t get me wrong. But there are questionable things that… could be done different. I definitely hated it when they took down the forums; their reasoning is no excuse for it. I was a community Ambassador for five years and yes, I saw a lot of hate and fights and drama. But… it’s social media. It’s the internet. You’re never going to get away from that. You’re never going to find a place where there will never be heated arguments or controversial topics. Even if you’re hanging out with close friends or family members, people fight. People throw snarky comments. People can have toxic moments or show their toxic sides. That’s what happens when you get involved with people outside of yourself. If you don’t want drama, if you don’t want to hear other opinions than your own, if you’re too exhausted in telling others that their opinions are invalid because they sound like horrible people… then don’t go on the internet. Don’t talk to people. Simple as that. I’m sorry, but it’s true. I can’t even begin to describe how many people I’ve met who weren’t in good mindsets and no matter how you approached them, they always thought you were attacking them or being abusive, and coming from an Ambassador side—they would even go as far as complaining to Wattpad about you. It’s ridiculous.
But once Wattpad got rid of the one thing that connected people, that allowed you to gain readers, it all went downhill.
I still love Wattpad and still stand by them. I still think that there have been some good things coming out of the website like the Wattpad Books launch and the Paid program—I love those ideas! The problem, however, is that they now have a massive list of people who cannot grow because they lack the forums. Did they help much? Not really, but you were able to find critique partners and more and get your story sort of off the ground. They started having everyone rely more on social media by around 2016-2017, and I do agree because it’s the same as trad and self-publishing, but it’s also a free writing website like an endless library. They should have other and easier ways of gaining readers.
The other issue I’ve never really liked was the tags. There was a point, back in 2013-2014, when they made sense. When there was a reason—an honest to God reason—why they were there. And now, they’re useless. And make no sense.
It’s also the same for the Hot Lists. The algorithm was a set one back in 2014 where if you had a certain amount of reads, votes, and comments in a short time frame, you could get on there. It wasn’t for very long, but it was how it went. And now, they’re nonexistent. There’s still a Hot List, sort of, but the tags don’t always show up on the search engine correctly.
Also, someone mentioned before that all they do is promote romances… I just wanted to point something out: romance is the number one genre on Wattpad. It’s the most read genre in the world. Heck, the majority of BookTok and BookTube is usually romance-based recommendations. Especially spicy ones. However, I see more than romances on the home pages of my Wattpad app. So, I know they’re not just advertising romances but other genres, too.
I came in just at 2017 and have heard that not too long ago, things were much different and reads and votes were easier to get.
They should give you a present for being a long-time user. If they did anything like that, what would you want?
That’s how all writing community sites start out as, but continuing that makes it hard for them to sustain their business I think. I used to be on Figment and them continuing to be “a place for people to gather and share works” was ultimately their downfall. At the time I didn’t think so, but now I think that’s where the problem was. It’s hard to keep something up and running like that without trying to make a business out of it. You need to pay people for working their jobs. You can get donations, but if your users are mainly teens without jobs, then you try to get a company to buy you, but then that can ruin the community site if the big company didn’t really care (what happened to Figment).
If neither of those are options, you try to become a for-profit company and put out things that people need to pay for. I think Wattpad having a publishing service is helping them, too. And movie success. Don’t they get a cut from that? Figment never created a publishing service. Maybe they should have, but maybe they didn’t have the resources.
I think Wattpad is doing pretty well with trying to keep a delicate balance of being a community writing website and also being a business. But it’s the thing…tradeoffs have to be made.
(this kind of talk is actually right up my alley when it comes to my academic research XD I study businesses like this that respond to society’s needs and keep afloat financially )
Despite saying all that, I do think there can be a way for them to be a business and also help their writers.
There has to be.
Haha I feel super old when I think about it. I was a little baby when I first joined. Can’t believe how long it’s been.
And I would ADORE some swag. I’ve seen people with cups or specific shirts and stuff, and I really want it. Haha
I do have some swag which they give you if you’re an Ambassador for one to two years, but only a few of those items were cool lol.
This is what they give you after one year:
This is what they give you after two years:
This looks to be some cool goodies, though:
Ooh! That’s cool!
I like that mug there. Wattpad orange also happens to be fox orange for me, so it matches my writer color scheme
You’re a baby still! lol
Yes, it was SUPER different back in the olden days.
The forums, for example, had their own section called Share Your Story. It was an entire area (like here, the Chatters) filled with advertisements. The reason why it was easy to get noticed back then was because of this. Not to mention, there weren’t many moderators and the rules were very laid back, so the entire SYS category was full of spam and no one batted an eye-lash. You could make your own advertisement thread and then have people come on and advertise their own stories without even caring to look at yours. If you wanted to do a read-for-read and set rules, no one would read them and post what you don’t want, advertising their own stories.
It was easy to get seen because people spammed it. It wasn’t until 2015-2016 when they removed the SYS category and rules became stricter, where you couldn’t spam and had to advertise in the SYS threads once a week.
The look of Wattpad was also very different. It gives you MySpace vibes lol.
I say the same thing whenever this topic comes up: I hate to love Wattpad.
I joined in 2012 after being on Inkpop and I used it for a year before I started my degree and didn’t use it till 2019 again but only on and off, and then I’ve used it pretty much full time since 2020.
I hate what they’ve done to it. I hate that they push paid stories down your throats, I hate that the home page is just full of toxic romance. I hate that they’ve taken the forums away and the news feed. It’s like they’ve tried to make it a social media, then as soon as one drama (which is natural given its the internet) pops up they back off and delete the only thing making it easier to get readers.
Don’t even get me started on the absolute they publish lets just not go there.
I hate that they seem to promote toxic romance - yes, they’re trying to branch out right now but literally they’re now making more paid stories and all I see are freaking mafia romance (mainly crud toxic ones). I hope though they might be changing that around as I’m seeing a few more underrated writers announce they’re getting paid (um where’s my invite wattpad lol)
Anyway, for all of that hate, it’s also the biggest online writing platform and it has the most chances for engagement. I’ve now been on Radish for a few months, and I’m doing quite well on there, but it feels cold compared to Wattpad. People don’t really comment, you can’t really have conversations, you can’t advertise on the site (they do it for you which is really good but it means you can’t build rapport) however you do get paid so
For all the bad, awful crud Wattpad do, they do have the best site of them all in my opinion. When you do get readers, most of the time you can build relationships with people, talk about writing, books etc. Hell, I have a few friendships and I’m part of Dreamland thanks to Wattpad.
I do have it easier because I wrote romance, but that’s also a bad thing because of the saturated market on WP. Makes it easier but also really hard.
I hate Wattpad as a company, but I also understand they are a company so they have to make money somehow, but I just wish they would also go back to its roots and give underrated writers a chance. To a point, I get so sick of stupid things like posting on MB (yeah I do it, I’m not ashamed, and I’m polite with it. People just delete when they don’t like it), going in for contests, R4Rs (though I’ve stopped now) and the like just to get a few reads. It’s ridiculous. It genuinely is like banging your head against a brick wall just to get seen and even then most users will only give you a measly vote and not even read which is meant to help with the rankings but lets not even go there. But if you’re someone with like 1m views it seems you just continue to get bigger and people left at the moment are constantly left fighting for just a chance.
IDK without Wattpad I wouldn’t have my publishing deal, and it really helps me with editing utilising book clubs etc. And genuine readers/commenters make it all worth it. But Wattpad is so crud at the same time. I hate it.
I’m rambling, and I had a point, but I forgot it. So I’ll leave my rant there and if I remember, I’ll comment again XD
OMG I REMEMBER IT LIKE THAT I MISS THAT
Oh woooow, that looks…ancient XD
I’m a Watby.