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Confluence Cloud is slow, out of date, convoluted and noisy

Edited

The endless popup notifications that interrupt your flow. (Thank you, I know I renamed it. Thank you, I know I moved it. Thank you a gazillion times).

 

Confluence does not know what it is like to try to work quickly in their products. They designed it for a slow, old school audience. And it wasn't adopted by them, either, because of the same reasons. It works for no one.

This tool has so much potential, and it looks like the same is did 5 years ago. Just more features, nothing refined, nothing improved. Look at the settings  page. Working with multple pages is insane, no realistic bulk actions.

Whoever uses this tool must use it, and is not using it by choice, I guantee you. I am one of them.

/endrant

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Well, there's one thing in there that's totally wrong, only a few weeks ago, we go https://community.atlassian.com/t5/Confluence-articles/Confluence-Mythbusters-Does-Atlassian-even-use-Confluence/ba-p/1805811

I'm going to question the "endless popup" too - I spent a good three hours writing in Confluence yesterday and the only pop-ups I got were the ones I'd asked for by inserting macros.

Like Curt Holley likes this
Curt Holley Community Leader Oct 19, 2021

But at least we know how @Matt Goulet really feels about Confluencee.

D'oh - Album on Imgur

Curt Holley Community Leader Oct 19, 2021

Honest questions @Matt Goulet 
What is /would be your preferred content creation tool, if not Confluence?
If you could change one thing about Confluence, what would it be? (OK...you can have 2) 😀

To be honest, I didn't think my rant would be read; so many of these forums are idle. Apologies - I was frustrated. You know, if that wasn't obvious.

The short answer is of the 5 or so cloud-based wikis I did a trial run on (archbee, notion, , they are all fatally flawed, with Confluence being the least flawed. The killer with Confluence is the editing/organizing workflow. Here are some of my least favorite things that happen when I am working on several documents. Maybe there are better ways, I'm open to suggestions!

1. Editing a document reloads the entire page, hiding the page tree. This forces opening multiple tabs. When more then 4 tabs are trying to be opened in new tabs all at once, the brower goes into the red (each tab consumes 100mb). Even the original tab starts eating up resources. Why would you want to open 10 tabs at once? See item 2.

2. Cannot delete pages from page tree. Must open document to use menu. If deleting 20 pages, you have to open 20 pages to delete them. Archiving (which is available on page tree menu) is not desired in my case, nor is available without paid subscription. Again, the overhead on 10 tabs opening is crazy. Now imagine having to quickly delete 30 pages. Hasn't everyone had to delete 30 files from Finder before? Or 30 folders? Or 30 emails? Solutions like exporting the tree, updating in a doc, reuploading are offthe table. Same with moving multiple pages in the tree- you can't multi-select in the tree. Very common needs for me.

3. Check this workflow out. I click Create Page somewhere in the tree. It open a new window. I decide, nah, I don't need this. I click close. It closes the document, and returns me to a homepage for confluence. Not even inside the space itself anymore. So then I have to navigate back into the space, find where I was in the tree, and continue on. This is one of those d'oh! things. I think this happens in other scenarios, as well.

3. When creating a new page or editing one, the url given is not the document link. You have to publish it to view/copy a real url. If you're doing requirements, you generally copy/paste a link to the req in your components in figma and/or trello or whatever. So, I'll have to create a doc. Publish it, edit it again, just to copy the url. Small thing, but all these add up.

4. Since creating several new pages is time consuming, when using the primitive 'edit a doc, split by header' technique, all of the new pages  are creating the 'old editor' and have to be upgraded. Each time you do it, you get the comment/rating pop up box asking for feedback. Which brings me to.

4. Popups and hovers litter the page tree. The need to turn off popup notifications for minor tasks like moving, renaming is important, especially when working at the bottom of the tree and it obscures your view. The hover-over for ever item in the page tree is distracting and unneccessary. If I'm working on 50 docs I just created, I  don't need to see my face and name pop up on every hover. It totally obscures the document on the right side if your mouse stays over the item you just clicked on to view.

5. Creating new pages from within a page, I thought, was part of the wiki feature set. I'm editing a document and need to spin off a doc, I have to close out my document, create a new page, publish it,  locate previous doc, edit it, paste link or use link shortcut. Preferred method would be to have a shortcut to create new doc when editing.

6. Unique filenames option. I actually don't want my document names in the title to or otherwise. Especially since page names change often. The url should use a GUID or whatever. All the old wikis did it this way, but not good for a documentation repo.

7. I wish the emojis were business related. There's nothing database or web related, tables, etc. I don't want to have to generate a png to tag all my content, but I also don't want to have to use "silly" icons for my technical content.

Please don't gang up on me about how my needs are not universal or important, even if you think that's the case. I know there are my own frustrations with the product, and I guess other people don't work the way I do.

Like Jason Levis likes this

And for those who have said there are no notifications, this is what I mean. I drag/dropped a page into "Seach" page, so the popup opens, and it totally obscures the page tree item I just dropped it into. It forces me to close it to see/use the folder. Sometimes, there can be 2-3 outstanding notifications you have to clear first. These are the productivity killing things that hamper the tool.

search.png

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Oh, you can still do point 5 in your list.

Confluence has always had a non-existant page function.  Confluence fully supports "internal links" - links to other pages (even in other spaces) that you can create without urls, using the plain space and page name (this is something that couldn't work if page names were not unique within a space, and one of many reasons page names should be unique, as per point 6)

These referential links are better than a url because 

  • If you rename or move a page, the links still point to the new name or location
  • They're done in human - not https://confluence/display/abc/my+page, but "abc:my page" (and if you leave off the space key. just using "my page", the link assumes "the same space the page I am on is in"
  • To your point 5 - you can create a non-existent link.  Save the page, you'll see the link is highlighted in red, click on it, and it takes you to "create page" (or the draft if someone is already writing it)

On server/dc, and in the old Cloud editors, you could use simply

  • [a page i need to create]  for a page in the current space
  • [ABC: a page I need to create] for a page in the ABC space

Unfortunately, Atlassian have messed this up in the new editor, you need to use

  • [a page i need to create]().
  • [ABC: a page I need to create]().

instead, which is obviously a lot more clunky.  I know why they've done it that way, but it is a bit silly and they could, and should, go back to [] alone IMHO.

Like Jason Levis likes this

I'm not following. I entered [This is a test]() and published page. It doesn't show as link, just text. Then I tried the 2nd way and same thing. So, not sure what you're referring to.

For unique names, I reject all claims that I should do it a certain way. That's why the tool doesn't work for everyone. I don't want unique names, and I don't want my page names in the url. Simple.

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That's why I said it was clunky - try it exactly as I wrote - with a period on the end.

>I don't want unique names, and I don't want my page names in the url

Actually, you do, and that's what most wikis do.  It's one of their selling points.

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Ha! See, that is the exact response that kills progress. No, I don't want my document titles in the url.

 

By the way, it did work when using a period at the end. Thank you so much! BUT, when you generate the new page, you can't change the title! This is what I'm talking about, the title should be editable. Documents whose keys are the name... this is like database 101.

Help me with this. I have a page called "Order Review and Checkout Requirements". Now I want to take a big section out of this document out and create a new document, changing the original meaning of the document. Now, there needs to be two docs, Order Review Requirements (original document) and a new doc called Checkout Requirements.

So, I rename the original document, and the url changes. Now, anywhere that I have used the previously link that I generated when I created the page will still refer to a url that says "Order Review and Checkout Requirements" when in fact that document now only shows the Order Review requirements.

Mmm, only if the reader chooses not to engage further because they don't want to have their assumptions challenged.  Why don't you want a friendly and informative name there?  What's better about /myconfluence/3254r902asfrdajrfw425rasfdasrq3w4132ugert5435t43 over /myconfluence/penguins/gentoo ?

Anyway, it's not an absolute in Confluence - the "friendly url" you see with the document title is not the only url for a page, some pages have two urls, some have three.

The nice friendly human url with a page title only exists when the page title does not have any special characters in it that the "friendly generator" can not handle (mostly basic punctuation, and alphanumerics).  If you do have a page title it can't process into a friendly name, it will drop it completely.  On server/dc, it reverts to using a url with the unique id as the name, and on Cloud, it drops the title completely from the end of the url.  You can refer to a page without the name entirely.

And on all versions, if you look in the page information, there's a shortened url as well.

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Oh, I will always engage. ;) You're not challenging my assumptions, Nic. You're telling me my needs are wrong. I am 45, Ive been in IT for like 25 years. I know what I want. And when someone says no you need this, you're not listening to my needs. What I don't want is a title of a sensitive or provocative or CHANGING name in a url. It't not penguins! I work for a porn company and my docs say horrile things. I don't want to have "smart-coded" urls anyway, since the purpose of said documents evolve. Do you see or are you going to tell me that no, your users (who you don't even know who they are) want this. No, they don't.

The use case for Confluence is narrow. If I embed a link to a Confluence document, I will label it there. I mean, its html 101. Label, url. Two separate things. The use case for Confluence now is that you are emailing someone a link. Literally the only time someone would see it, and it's not important anyway. Who sends a link out of the clear blue without context, just read the url! If it's on a site, it's labeled. Even if you bookmark it in a browser, you literally click the link. The only good use of it is emailing links or wanting a link to "look nice" in what, a presentation or a book report that links to wikipedia?

Confluence is not a business tool.

No, sorry, I must have written that badly.  It's not "needs are wrong", I'm questioning why non-unique and/or unfriendly urls would meet them.  I can't think of a way that they would.  If it's not public information, why are you exposing the system?  If it's secure information, why are you putting it in an insecure place?  I am just a bit stuck on how it would help.

As for the rest of that, you do know that if you change a link in Confluence, it'll redirect anyone using the old one to where the page is now?  The recipient of a link to Confluence will still land on the right page if they use the old link (again, something else you can't do with non-unique page names).  Or you could share the page with them.  Or just use the whole of your Confluence as a sharing and collaboration place?

Like Jason Levis likes this

None of these solve my simple use case outlined in my other comments. It can be boiled down to

If url is used in an external system, that url needs to be non-changing.

 

The Confluence workaround, as you point out, is that navigating to an earlier url with redirect to current page (and update url in nav bar). So, if the url I am using in an external system now has a friendly url name, but that url name is no longer relevant to the content that it refers to, then that's a problem.

The solution is to use system generated urls. If you need a friendly link, like everyone already does, you use a hyperlink on the web. URLs don't exist in an ether. You use a label which points to url. Anyway. We can agree to disagree.

This is literally one item out of the several I've indicated in just one quick follow up rant. Add all these thing sup and you have a real clunker of a user experience.

Catchy title...I was interested...and should have been able to tell me that the vague title would include all sorts of stuff (just like a poorly written requirement ;)  But I learnt some things, so thx for the post :)

1. Stop multitasking
2. Agree (the delete all should be included and not premium)
3. Agree (really annoying...learn to know what your going to do before you do it)
4. See #1 ;) or copy pages? (and the pop-ups (second #4 point)...agree, mix with #2 and archive a couple of pages and you have a "backlog" of notifications...would be good to disable them ;)
5. Agree, (and Nic pointed out the solution)
6. Never thought about this
7. My grandmother was called Silly <3
(and for the URL I do like the fact that Confluence keeps track and points to the right place and I work around that ;)

I'm not sure if that was a dig or not, but I'm just putting my personal opinion about a tool that has probably earned this company several millions of dollars which seems to be in a state of inertia for a long time. Bugs that were present when I tried to introduce the tool at the university I worked at are still there today about 4 years later. It's stuck in the mud. Partly because the existing community always rises up to defend its features, but what they fail to recognize that the one size fits all approach doesn't apply here. What works for one org does work for another.

In terms of multitasking, I think you misunderstood that one. The" feature" that I don't like is how Confluence does a full page reload, and hides the page tree in the process.

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@Matt Goulet: You're definitely not wrong about the user experience lacking. I'm still using the legacy editor. 

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