An open feature request to StumbleUpon

StumbleUpon is a great way to find interesting and fun material on the internet. However, just as with Digg, sometimes you land on pages that are either very slow or won’t respond at all, which can be very frustrating. So here is a suggestion that would make the stumbling even easier and more efficient: Automatically skip websites when they are slow or won’t respond. Just stumble on to the next page!

“Auto-Stumble” if:

  • The website takes more than a few seconds to respond.
  • The website loads very slowly.
  • The website responds with an HTTP error code.
The StumbleUpon toolbar

A lot of users do this Stumble for slow pages manually already, so why not automate it?

Users could of course specify how long they want to wait for a page to load, and turn off the feature if they don’t like it.

Several of us here at Pingdom, including our CEO, use StumbleUpon every day and we really would love to see StumbleUpon implement something along these lines.

If you think this is a good idea, Stumble it!

Agree? Disagree? Please feel free add your opinion in the comments.

Update (March 25, 2008)

Thank you all for your feedback so far. It seems like a lot of people really like this idea (though a few don’t, but in most cases it seems to be due to misunderstandings of how it would work).

Some points have been raised regarding “punishing” slow websites. That is not how this would work. Quite the opposite, it would stop sites from getting a “thumbs down” simply because they are slow (like some users do). It would also offload temporarily overloaded sites.

Usually a website is slow because of heavy load, i.e. having a lot of visitors. It could for example be on Digg, Reddit and also be getting traffic from other sites and StumbleUpon, all at the same time, and the sum of this traffic could make it slow to a crawl.

How it could be done: StumbleUpon could incorporate an algorithm that would stop sending visitors to a website if it proves to be very slow or unavailable for multiple StumbleUpon users. Then after a while a few StumbleUpon users could be sent there again to “test” the site, and if it works well again it is reinserted into the normal “StumbleUpon cycle”.

That way StumbleUpon would improve in two ways:

  1. For the users: The stumbling would be more responsive and immediate, in other words a better user experience.
  2. For the site owners: No sites would get “thumbs down” and get punished simply for being temporarily slow.

We really believe that this would be a Good Thing.


  1. Definitely a good idea, I’ve been making sure to Thumbs down every page that comes up slow, and if they could automatically notice slow pages and error pages, that would enhance the Stumbleupon idea a lot

  2. Not a bad idea. But maybe the site is only slow because they’re getting hammered by stumblers? Not everyone can afford huge amounts of bandwidth. As for William giving every slow page the thumbs down, bad show.

    It’s just impatience in my eyes. This is why I open several stumble tabs at the same time, so I can appreciate any sites that aren’t going to time out.

  3. It only takes a fraction of a second to click the stumble button again, and some pages (such as streaming videos) can take up to a few minutes to load completely. I’d much rather the SU team put their efforts into improving the categories and dealing with the spam epidemic.

  4. I don’t care if it’s slow… It could still be great… Use the middle mouse button and something else starts loading in a new tab…

  5. I would agree with Ebony’s comments. You can never tell why certain sites are loading slowly. It may just be a temporary traffic issue. Opening additional tabs while you wait for your page and stumbling on fixes the problem for most folks.

  6. hey i agree and also there is a firefox add-on called fasterfox it adds a small icon with a counter that says how long a page has been loading your page for example loaded in 6.536s they coul use something like it to know how long it has been loading and if it is longer than “user setting” restumble and then you have an automated stumble if load page longer than “user setting” thanks for the idea.

  7. I have written a vbscript for windows that auto stumbles on a timer (simple sendkeys to active window…..)

    We call this Auto-Daryl — named for a 19080’s computer operator (“Daryl”) who did nothing but refresh the view of partition jobs on a mainframe all day long.

    Long live Daryl! Computer Laziness at its finest.

  8. What I would like to see, and forgive me if this already exists, is a “thumbs neither up nor down” button – some sites I neither like not dislike so just stumble away, only for them to keep coming up time and time again until eventually I feel compelled to rank them negatively. Any fixes?

  9. Bad idea.

    It may be slow because it’s a large file/popular website/hit by an influx of traffic/your in a different country than the hosting server.

    My websites for example are hosted on Dreamhost, and I’m in the UK. Pinging the server in the UK takes 3-4 times as long as pinging it in the USA.

    It’s always going to be slower if you live further away from the server as the data has longer to travel.

  10. I think this a great idea. Stumbleupon should also track the response time from its users, this way they can distribute the users beater. And if a site get’s slow for some time, they would only wait whit realizing users to it until it gets faster again.

    Way wait 3-10s on a page. Anyway when you stumble you don’t know what the next page is so it’s not like you would have missed anything. It’s like the lottery that you did not buy, you never know if you would have won.

  11. don’t thumbs down slow pages, that’s not in the webmaster’s hands!! Also the reason this doesn’t exist is because SU can really accurately detect when a page STARTS to load, but there’s really no way programmatically to determine how much of a page has loaded, so even if a server sends a response immediately and then loads like for 30s, SUbar will have no idea. It’s a good idea, but it’s near-impossible to implement in a correct way.

  12. I like the idea. But, as was suggested previously, there would have to be a user-defined setting for this, or hell would break loose.

    But if Sikanrong is right, then as an idea, it’s going nowhere!

  13. I don’t like the idea. It doesn’t take long just to click the button again if it looks like the page is going to take ages to load.

  14. I’m all for speedier stumbling….total, instant, gratification. Life is much faster than it was even 10 years ago. The world is rapidly turning to a Global Village, so who has the time to wait on slow loading pages?
    Having said that, perhaps we can put a little perspective on the situation by reading this:
    A very relevant story, and one I’m sure most of you have read before, but a good story none the less.

  15. Slightly off topic, but in the same vein – I strongly suggest that stumbleupon should have a forum for discussing (among other things no doubt) enhancements like this. Is there one? I couldn’t find it on the stumbleupon main site.

    I would put forward the idea that stumble video should support fullscreen mode. The fact that it doesn’t is just amazing, and a really unfortunate deficiency in an otherwise great piece of software.

  16. Much depends on the Stumbler…many of us feel to wait and watch and many of us want to see and not wait…so chill guys!

  17. I agree and I disagree. In a perfect world, StumbleUpon would have a “non responsive” button or report category. Rather than simply skip the site, it would flag the site on the business end and place it in a list to be checked for load time. If the site is determined to be slow due to SU users raping its bandwidth, it could have its likelihood of being stumbled lowered.

    In a perfect world.

  18. Not a good idea. Sometimes the server is down or slow and the page would pay for life for being down a minute or two or less. Keep it maual. Another good idea though would be the option to view a blog as a slide show.

  19. Why would you thumbs down something that doesn’t load in X number of seconds? The whole point of stumbleupon is to find things that you like. If you didn’t see the page, how can you know if you liked it or not? Instead of giving a slow responding page a thumbs-down, why don’t you click on the toolbar where it says Tools and click on Report Last Stumble -> 404 or Broken.

  20. It’s interesting to read how so many seams not to understand how SU could implement this whiteout making a temporary slow page been punished, but rather helped out. The only thin SU would do, is to paus the sending of visitors to a page for the time it’s slow. And when it gets back on its feet (becomes fast again) is should again start sending traffic to it.

    This way we as SU users would not get this pages that takes for ages to load, and that I at least today manually escape by restumbling not knowing what I missed out.

    Thumbs up!

  21. SU has no way to know how long it takes for one particular computer user to load a webpage, because it depends on where each computer is, whether anybody else in the user’s geographical area has loaded from that website’s domain recently, how much traffic is currently on his part of the internet, etc. It all varies minute by minute.

    That’s what the Stumble! button is for.

  22. I agree, and as an addition it would be nice if there was some sort of way you can auto stumble when a certain page comes up. My university has a block page that for some reason does not show for whatever reason – using Firefox, using Linux, being on the wifi network… etc. Anyway, instead of seeing the generic page cannot be displayed message it would be nice to auto stumble.

  23. That’s a nice idea. Stumble had really been so helpful to find a lot of interesting material on the internet. And this feature would add a lot to it. Thanks for sharing.

  24. I would like to see a hotkey button in stumble upon. Just a quick button press stumbles you to the next page. that would be sweet.

  25. Here’s an idea, instead of skipping it outright, how about it sees if there’s a cache of it, say, on Google or something and it will display it for you if you have a setting turned on for when a page times out or something. It could do searches on multiple caches selected by the user.

    Oh yeah, and how about a plug-in for Opera. xP

  26. They actually already do this, at least on some level.

    I went to a review page of a site I had commented on, and SU displayed a message at the top saying that the site appeared to be unresponsive, and provided a link for me to trigger their bot to retest. I clicked the link, it retested, and removed the message.

    I can only assume they weren’t sending people to the page while they had it flagged.

    This, combined with allowing Stumblers to report pages as 404’s/broken means they have the mechanism to do this in place. They just need to turn up the sensitivity. With the inevitable overlap of pages popular on Digg and StumbleUpon this will remain an issue.

    Good post.

  27. Anytime I’m stumbling, I have lots of time on my hands and am in no hurry at all. I can’t see any reason to get in a hurry about it. And the page might be really interesting with a large application that has to load. Whenever a page loads slowly or takes a while to respond, I copy the URL and open it in a new tab, and then stumble on.

  28. I think a good feature for SU would be an option for all the users with NoScript to only stumble sites where java isn’t required. About a third of the sites I hit aren’t whitelisted, and while I generally know what’s up before I allow, I’d still like to not bother.

    Search: All, Photo, Video, NoJava, StumbleThru.

    Something like that.

  29. How about something that detects viruses and trojan horses and removes those pages from StumbleUpon altogether? I think I’ve gotten sent to sites that have infected my computer a couple times.

  30. This is a good idea!
    I’d never give thumbs down to a slow loading site; only for content I don’t like.

  31. Yes, in fact- I’m thumbing up this site just in hopes that the developers will notice it. I don’t have the fastest internet (barely a step up from dial-up… for the next month anyways) in the world- but my favorite sites are those that tend to be really slow. (high interactivity)

  32. I didn’t read other people’s comments because I’m too lazy (to move my eyes, yes you read correctly) so my opinion is probably different than it would be if i read the commments. Sorry, I’m sleepy.

    Anyway, I do this manually, and I think I would get annoyed if it did it itself. But a good idea for people who do not get annoyed by things like that.

  33. Yes good idea…
    and another good idea would be to open an area where to give stumbleupon suggestions to improve, so that SU could be more like WE want it…
    Something like Ubuntu Brainstorming

  34. The only problem i could see with this is that some flash pages and pages that contain quicktime take a bit longer to load than average pages and may trigger false results.

  35. Yes! This is a good idea! Get some people on the linux team to help. I really think auto-stumbling on a dud website is necessary.

  36. Not necessary. Any page could be slow for any number of reasons. Just how long should the button wait before it clicks itself? There can’t be 1 answer that would work for everyone.

    Also, is it really that hard to click ‘stumble’ again? What if the page is *mostly* loaded and you start reading it and then, because it didn’t finish, it is simply replaced by another–and another. A little more patience and a little less lazy should fix the problem.

  37. I set-up a friend with firefox and SU. He uses Satellite internet and is only allowed a limited number of megs per day and if he goes over he is cut off for 24 hours.
    If someone reads this, could they ask stumbleupon to add a feature in the options to limit returned pages over a certain number of megs?
    Some of these people who post image pages with 100+ images per page really kills him. And he is a photographer..
    We also disabled prefetch of stumbles, a nice feature as well..

  38. Personally my issue is forgetting to click on ‘like’, how about a timer that triggers the like function if i’ve spent a lot of time on that page, there are obvious issues with that idea but i’ll leave the clever solutions to that to someone else 😉

Leave a Reply

Comments are moderated and not published in real time. All comments that are not related to the post will be removed.