Stacks Are Being Removed From Delicious.com

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I know some people abandoned the social bookmarking site delicious.com when it looked like it was shutting down a couple of years ago. At the time I transferred my links to Pinboard like others did, but I kept my delicious.com account. Then AVOS announced they were taking it over. Three cheers for AVOS. :-) I did try a few other bookmarking services, but delicious.com worked for me, I liked it (I’ve been with it since 2007) and I stuck with it through the changeover. I seem to remember there were a couple of times it played up in the early days, but I don’t know any free services that haven’t played up once in a while. AVOS have built on the original service (I like what they’ve done) and one really useful addition in particular has been Stacks.

Stacks enable users to pull together links that might not be directly related but can sit together under a theme the users defines. I find stacks particularly useful for bundling links together for presentations and training sessions. I can give them a descriptive title and even more background detail in the stack description field – showing people why I created that stack… what its purpose is. Stacks also have a unique url I can point people to during the presentation/ training. You can also add an image for the stack. It may not have any specific technical function, but visuals are often a greater draw than just text alone. They also give visual clues as to what the stack is about as well.

I do use tags, but the good thing about stacks is that I can quickly add a link to them without worrying that I’m using exactly the same tag I used for a similar item. I don’t put everything I have in stacks – a lot of my links come in via packrati.us or via connections I’ve set up using ifttt.com and can just sit there with catch-all tags. eg “fromTwitter” “fromGoogleReader”. I don’t necessarily want to put them all in stacks, but I know that if I found them interesting enough to tweet or post to Facebook or Google+ or Tumblr in the first place I know I might want to find them again and having them sitting there in delicious.com means I can find them with a little bit of digging later on. However, the items I put in stacks are put there for a purpose. I mentioned the presentations and training, but I also have a few interests that I like to keep specific links bundled together for. Stacks allow me to go to those interests straight away, just by clicking on the stacks link without the need to trawl through my rambling lists of inconsistent tags. NB: As someone with a library cataloguing/classification background I should probably keep better order in my tags, but say, for example, I only very occasionally save a link for some kind of infographic, how am I supposed to remember if I used “vizualisation”, “visualisation”, “vizualisations” or “vizualisations” as the tag for that type of link before? Stacks that aren’t reliant on accurate tags make this easier.

Another great feature of stacks is that other delicious users can follow them. So, when a new link is added to a specific stack they’re informed about it. This is a great feature. You can also follow an individual user, but I would find following a stack more useful – it means I’m only going to see the links I want to see. For example, I’m interested in public libraries, therefore I might follow a stack that focuses on this subject. However, the same user who created the stack might also be interested in and have a stack about sea-food. I really wouldn’t be interested in their stack of sea-food links. It helps you focus on the things you’re interested in, rather than having to sift through things you aren’t. Even if a user doesn’t want to follow a stack, but wants to see if I’m saving links that might be of interest to them, stacks act as a bold pointer on my profile page to areas I’m interested in.

Screenshot of delicious.com bookmarking service stack functionality

I know you can/could use tag-bundles in delicious.com – where you link your related tags together. However, this doesn’t work in the same way as stacks. This relies on the tags bringing links together, rather than being able to decide on the individual links you want to bring together. NB: I say can/could, because I’m still not entirely sure if this was something that was dropped after the takeover by AVOS, or not.

Anyway, my point to the blog post is that delicious.com have decided that even though they acknowledge that their users like the stack functionality and the developers have been impressed by how stacks have been used, they’re getting rid of them! All links in a stack will be converted so that the stack title becomes another tag associated to that link. Along with this, some of the detail (stack title and description) and functionality (no longer able to follow a stack) will be lost during and after the conversion process.

A recent blog post (20 July 2012) on their site said: “We introduced stacks last year as a visually rich way to think about your links and we’ve been blown away by the amazing content you’ve created. But given the upcoming launch of new products from Delicious’ parent company, AVOS, and our focus on simplifying the Delicious site, we realized the value of stacks is limited for our users moving forward. For this reason, we’ve decided to simplify how users organize links on Delicious by consolidating stacks into tags. Users will no longer be able to create stacks on Delicious starting in early August, 2012.”

I can probably live with some of the functionality going, but it’s frustrating. Don’t get me wrong, if stacks hadn’t been introduced I would have still been happy with delicious, but to have this useful functionality taken off me now is a bit of a downer. I really find stacks helpful for the way I work – being able to quickly and easily pull links together anywhere, providing a bit of background detail in the title and description, and allowing users to follow them.

I use very descriptive stack titles and I’m not sure having a stack title converted to a tag such as “Introduction to Web 2.0 & public libraries” or “Mobile Devices/Technology in the Physical Environment (with a specific focus on libraries)” is going to be useful to me and (1) I don’t fancy typing that tag out every time I want to link other urls to it (2) I’m not sure I can convert into a condensed useful tag for myself or others to follow.

And giving such short notice about the changes is a bit of a worry – I was planning to use stacks for a few presentations I’ve got to make in a couple of months time.

I’m also wondering if the statement above means that delicious.com will be treading on the toes of AVOS’ new product if it continued to contain the stack functionality? It’s not going to be so identical is it, that they can’t co-exist, surely? Or are the developers automatically assuming that if people like stacks they will go over to the new product? What if this is the case, but the new product doesn’t do some of the things delicious.com does? Or does it mean that they want to make delicious compatible with the new products and stacks have no place in this compatibility?

Anyway, they’re just idle thoughts.

I do hope that whatever happens with delicious I’m still able to organise my bookmarks in the way that I have  recently found to be extremely useful ie via something that is similar/same as stacks. In the mean-time I’m going to back up my bookmarks and see if the stack information appears in them.

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16 thoughts on “Stacks Are Being Removed From Delicious.com

  1. I’ve just (yesterday) gone back to Delicious after a break, and I’m disappointed Stacks are going, even though I’ve only made one so far! I like the visual-ness of them, and I can see how they’d be useful in terms of linking to them, using them in presentations, etc, as well. I just hope they’re replaced with something as useful and visually appealing.

  2. I’m gutted too to hear stacks are going, I’ve found it useful feature for organising bookmarks into categories.

    As long as the new tag feature they’re bringing in to replace it works just as well I will be happy, but it just seems so silly to be changing/removing something that works just fine. We’ll have to wait and see.

    • I wonder if they’d drawn people’s attentions to their plans sooner and given more people the opportunity to feedback on it they might have changed their minds and kept stacks?

  3. greetings gary, i too am very dismayed by the sudden removal of our stacks. as an educator in music, specifically piano performance, i regularly shared my stacks with students wanting to learn more about a specific composer or piece of music, and the stacks allowed a really cool visual way of enticing the students interests. additionally, i have sent out links to students and used links on other blogs and like you in presentations. after reading your article i now understand why one of my stacks on a Bartok piece disappeared as i did not put certain tags onto it. :-/ i just spent the whole morning deleting the delicious tags and links of my other blogs, email signatures, bio’s and website. i had several featured stacks which i was quite proud of as well, in addition to being able to check out other educators stacks, such as yourself which i often found quite useful (sigh) if you know of another site which has a similiar visual way of presenting educational material please keep me informed, many thanks. i will follow your blog here, to hopefully stay abreast of any new developments with delicious.com, in the meantime, i now need to find another site with a similiar feature as i too have classes i am going to be teaching in the next few weeks and planned to use the stacks in several presentations.
    respectfully,
    jamila

  4. After re-inventing itself yet again, Delicious is on course to be another case study for the b-schools. Ignore your users, re-write your mission and simplify your product into oblivion. Delicious is taking the sad path of Excite, GoTo and dozens others that have come and gone.

  5. Gary, thanks for the blog post – you spoke for many. Delicious encouraged its users to create stacks, even rewarding them with Staff Picks. Many users took hours to hand craft their stacks for visual and logical perfection. All that effort now appears lost. If Delicious has an alternative, why not implement it at the same time as the removal of stacks, and allow seamless migration? Delicious has not been transparent with its community. I have lost faith, and am now evaluating taking my business to other bookmarking/curating tools, for example http://www.scoop.it/. I too, really miss stacks.

    • MrS

      Dismayed at the handling of Delicious stacks – isn’t this what staging servers are for? Why remove the live service without a) much warning or b) a clear indication of what bigger and better thing is coming (e.g. a Beta area).

      Scoop.it looks very nice though, think I’ll try it out too.

      • It’s almost as if they wanted a clear run at whatever they’ve got planned. I’m not sure that I’m interested in using whatever they’ve got planned to be honest, as it could just as easily go the way of stacks, with just as little warning or thought about how it will affect their users.

  6. The discussion of the removal of Stacks in Delicious had me in a panic, because I’ve use the urls to my Delicious stacks as resource materials in all different courses, and recreating those resource links in another platform would have been time consuming. But it turns out that now, when I use the “add tag filter” I can save the url of the filtered link just as I would have saved the stacks. For instance, if I want to use a url for only job resources, then I filter for “jobs” and that tag name is added to the end of the delicious url as “/jobs” . Yeah! I’m still getting used to this, but in ways it may even be a more streamlined process than using the stacks.

    • Thanks for all your responses to my post about the removal of stacks from delicious.com. It looks like I wasn’t the only one who was caught up by delicious.com persuading us to use a really useful add on to the service.

      As a follow up to this post… after the removal of stacks, I found that any links I’d saved directly to a stack had been deleted and delicious.com are unable to retrieve them, as they hadn’t actually been saved to my account, just to the stack. So, I’ve lost a lot of useful links that I thought were so useful I’d save them to a stack for use in a particular presentation/event. Unfortunately my backup system that saved my delicious.com links to Pinboard wasn’t picking up those links either. If only I’d known that these links weren’t being saved as a normal link as well, I would have made an extra effort to ensure they were being saved.

  7. christie

    I am so disappointed! I spent months sorting through the most pertinent information from my various tags and organized them into stacks! Is there no way to access the information contained in them ever again? Many thanks :(

  8. christie

    They seem to be organized with multiple links contained under tags which were previously the names of my stacks :) I also tried the bundle feature… bummer though

    • Yes, any links you saved previously just with tags and then put into stacks are still there, but if (like me) you saved links directly to a stack they have now disappeared into bookmark heaven without a trace.

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