These features were beloved by users—so why did Wattpad get rid of them?
1. The Writer Forums
Wattpad's writer forums were a huge source of community building. Writers came to them for advice, editors, and cover design help. Readers used the forums to chat, ask for recommendations, and join book clubs.
In 2020, Wattpad shut down its writer forums and actually deleted all of their content. They explained in a statement that bullying had become a problem in the forums, though the claim struck many users as suspect—especially since they've failed to address many larger bullying issues. Many saw the shutdown as a major loss for up-and-coming writers who used the forums to promote and share their books.
The newsfeed was an updated list of site activity from other users you follow on Wattpad. It would share things like what your friends were reading, when your favorite books were updated, and when authors posted messages. Readers used this feed to keep up with what other users were reading and interacting with and authors relied on it to attract new interest in their books.
On September 30th, 2020, Wattpad announced it would be removing the news feed. They claimed that they had received "a lot of feedback around Wattpadders not feeling comfortable engaging with the stories and authors that they love due to a fear of being judged or exposed." While it's easy to see how making everyone's reading activity public could be a potential problem for users, it seems there may have been other options than removing the feed entirely. Wattpad could have introduced an opt-in/opt-out option or limited the types of activity that qualified for the feed.
3. Wattpad Futures
Wattpad Futures was a system Wattpad had been beta-testing to pay writers for ads played to readers of their stories. The program was riddled with implementation and infrastructure problems that made it confusing for readers and difficult for writers. It's unclear how much money was made available to authors under the program.
Rather than improve or update the program, Wattpad ultimately decided to shutter it and instead invest more effort into their Wattpad Stars and Paid Stories programs
4. New Story Search
Story search used to have two sort options—Hot and New. "Hot" would show you the most recently popular, top-ranked stories based on your search whereas "New" would show you the most recently updated stories. Now, all searches default to the Hot list.
Technically, this feature isn't entirely gone, but rather hidden deep within the search options. The filters allow you to filter search results by time of last update, but it's not quite the same and is hardly easy to access for the novice user. The change was done quietly and amateur writers considered it a huge blow to discoverability for their books.
5. Private Stories
It was once an option on Wattpad to mark certain stories as private so they could only be read by followers of the author.
On September 19th, 2018, Wattpad did away with the feature. All stories that were set to private were unpublished and marked as drafts. Since many users were no longer active, large chunks of stories just vanished from the platform, leaving huge plot gaps in their place. Most of the resulting half-finished books still exist on the platform and are seen as a huge source of frustration for readers.
What do you miss about the old Wattpad? Share in the comments...