# Brilliant Changes!

Staffs and Moderators, please don't change brilliant, it is liked as it was. All following and followers are gone We can't even search problems on our favourite topics in the search bar as there is no Problems tab. Also like button is removed.

Note by Akshat Rai
2 years, 10 months ago

This discussion board is a place to discuss our Daily Challenges and the math and science related to those challenges. Explanations are more than just a solution — they should explain the steps and thinking strategies that you used to obtain the solution. Comments should further the discussion of math and science.

When posting on Brilliant:

• Use the emojis to react to an explanation, whether you're congratulating a job well done , or just really confused .
• Ask specific questions about the challenge or the steps in somebody's explanation. Well-posed questions can add a lot to the discussion, but posting "I don't understand!" doesn't help anyone.
• Try to contribute something new to the discussion, whether it is an extension, generalization or other idea related to the challenge.

MarkdownAppears as
*italics* or _italics_ italics
**bold** or __bold__ bold
- bulleted- list
• bulleted
• list
1. numbered2. list
1. numbered
2. list
Note: you must add a full line of space before and after lists for them to show up correctly
paragraph 1paragraph 2

paragraph 1

paragraph 2

[example link](https://brilliant.org)example link
> This is a quote
This is a quote
    # I indented these lines
# 4 spaces, and now they show
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print "hello world"
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# 4 spaces, and now they show
# up as a code block.

print "hello world"
MathAppears as
Remember to wrap math in $$ ... $$ or $ ... $ to ensure proper formatting.
2 \times 3 $2 \times 3$
2^{34} $2^{34}$
a_{i-1} $a_{i-1}$
\frac{2}{3} $\frac{2}{3}$
\sqrt{2} $\sqrt{2}$
\sum_{i=1}^3 $\sum_{i=1}^3$
\sin \theta $\sin \theta$
\boxed{123} $\boxed{123}$

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Why on earth has the search facility been removed? Are we supposed just to be content to look at the recent postings? In many cases problems are posted that are similar to those posted/solved previously, and it is extremely useful to be able to hunt for past entries.

Don’t waste time removing features. Concentrate on the mathematics.

- 2 years, 10 months ago

AND CONCENTRATE ON SCIENCE

- 2 years, 9 months ago

Returned to Brilliant after a long time and was very disappointed to see this feature gone.

- 2 years, 9 months ago

Brilliant now is not like it was. It used to be fun. But now we can't interact with the community that well. Also the staffs have become selfish. They want us to download their app as they have removed the search function from the online page.

- 2 years, 9 months ago

Dear @Michael Mendrin, @Mark Hennings, @Jon Haussmann, @Annie Li, @akshat rai, and others reading this –

First – let me thank you all for caring about Brilliant, and for speaking up about how some of the recent changes have worried you. We love that you care so much about making Brilliant what it is: a place where people can explore and discuss and stretch themselves to learn, and we appreciate that you care about maintaining this core goal on Brilliant.

Next, let me explain the background of these changes a bit. It never feels good to remove things that are used and loved, even by one person. However the original intention of these features – to create a shared experience around learning math and science – are central to our long term aims. You will see more and more work in this area. We’re so excited about what the community will become, and the features we’ll get to build now that we have more time.

I also want to add that I’m sorry that, in making these changes, we didn’t give you more notice or an explanation upfront. The explanation is fairly simple: (1) we’re a small team, and can only work on and maintain so many projects at once and, (2) while a few users do love these features, they don’t seem to be the right way to engage more than about 1% of users in a community. To give you a sense of the scale, less than 1% of our most active users engage with likes, following, user and problem search combined. And the Notes and Shared Saved Sets features unfortunately fall into the same category.

And if you’re interested in the details regarding each feature, here’s a quick summary:

• Problem search: the ability to search problems was removed because the results were so confusing that we were receiving questions about them. Instead of trying to fix it which would take on the order of months we decided to remove the feature. I will add that it’s very likely that a version of problem search will return at some point in the future, but for now we’re emphasizing the features that more people actually use which are wiki and quiz search.
• User search: this was the least used search option, and additionally, the one that we received the most complaints about. A lot of people have an expectation of privacy, and don’t want to be discovered, followed, or liked on a service when they’re there to learn.
• Liking: only 68 people liked a problem in the month of July, despite it being a record month for total people using Brilliant.
• Followers/following: for the dominant majority of people coming to Brilliant today, the goal is to learn about a topic by following another user was simply a confusing concept. “What does it mean that I can follow someone?” “What does it mean that someone on Brilliant has followed me who I don’t know?” Etc. When we combined this data with the work that we’re doing internally to simplify our codebase overall, we discovered that following, re-sharing, and liking were among the most complex but also least used parts of the product.
• Notes: we’re going to be removing the ability to create new notes, since it is such an uncommon content type on Brilliant. Sometime in the following few months, we’ll work out a migration path to preserve some of the most amazing contributed content as we also remove all existing notes.
• Saved sets: we’re going to be simplifying this feature into one “saved for later” folder, and removing the ability to have multiple sets, and the ability to see other people’s sets.

Finally – I’d like to say again that I’m sorry that this change was made abruptly, and that we didn’t warn everyone ahead of time. I personally would love to have versions of those features that have a wide fan base, but the fact is they're not widely used, and we’re sad to see them languish without active development. Furthermore, a surprisingly large amount of time behind the scenes had been going into maintaining these features and how they interacted with each new element of the site.

Still, there were parts of each feature that we will miss! And it is exciting to see how much you all care. It definitely inspires us to work harder to figure out a way to build the best version of Brilliant.

Yours faithfully, Silas

Staff - 2 years, 10 months ago

A search function gives confusing results if it is fed inadequate data. Type "cubic" into Google, or your preferred search engine, and you receive little information about cubic equations. Typing "impossible triangle" into the Brilliant problem search feature gave, as first option, a problem posted a couple of years ago whose title included that moderately distinctive phrase. In other words, a search engine is only as good as the data it is fed, and a too-general input will yield little useful information. This does not mean that a search engine is not worth the effort.

As someone who was a regular contributor to the various Brilliant Integration Contest notes, I trust that the really interesting content on these pages has not simply been deleted, but will be made available again.

- 2 years, 10 months ago

I believe the original intent of Notes was to provide material for eventual inclusion in Wikis. Let's hope Silas means to do more than simply preserving some of the existing old Notes.

- 2 years, 10 months ago

Thank you for your thoughtful comment. As I've mentioned elsewhere, I do believe that search on Brilliant will get better with time.

For example, we recently released an updated custom search results feature. For example, try searching for "computer science" or "trig" and check out the custom results inserted above.

Staff - 2 years, 9 months ago

you are very selfish and want us to do only quizes. Atleast allow us to choice what we want to do. Please resore atleast the search function. Its the least you can do.

- 2 years, 9 months ago

I'll be compiling and saving all these content offline in a week or two as soon as I get time. Hopefully they are not deleted by then...

- 2 years, 9 months ago

I just want to share my thoughts.

About the saved sets, if there is only one available set, then the problems in it will become messy. If that set as too much items, then finding one specific problem will be a hard work.

And about the user's privacy, you can improve it by adding an option in account settings, "I want/don't want to be found by other members in Brilliant."

About the notes, though it is an uncommon type of content, I don't think there is a need of removing it. It is a way that people can ask questions they don't know the answer to. And if this function is removed, it is hard to share our thoughts with staffs and other members, which is also a way to improve Brilliant. Otherwise, I think Brilliant should have a page similar to "message boards", so people can have a chance to contact with staffs.

- 2 years, 10 months ago

I am in complete agreement with you about the need for something like Notes to help with communication between members and Brilliant Staff.

- 2 years, 10 months ago

Thank you!

- 2 years, 10 months ago

Yeah, slack is not usually used

- 2 years, 10 months ago

Thank you very much for your thoughtful response.

Staff - 2 years, 9 months ago

Once Notes are removed, that's going to silence communication even more. For example, right now we're having a discussion about future changes in Brilliant, but once that is gone, then there's no further such talk.

As you have pointed out, only about "1% of the users" are active and highly engaged in Brilliant, and I believe they significantly help contribute making Brilliant what it is. The other 99% are infrequent visitors, even though they may make the bulk of total visits. If Brilliant migrates towards the lowest common denominator, then the Brilliant experience will be gone for the 1% active members. I believe it would be a mistake to ignore what the Brilliant experience means for the 1% active members, even though I understand there are necessary trade-offs regarding maintenance effort "in keeping such a small percentage of users happy". But I'm asking Brilliant not to throw the baby out with the bath water.

Please continue to make the effort to keep the sense of community alive even if only a small percentage of users would appreciate it. While eliminating features for "practical reasons", consider what can be done in their place, the most important being keeping alive means of cross communication, including how to contact Brilliant Staff about issues that are continually popping up.

- 2 years, 10 months ago

In some retail businesses, keeping your most "active" 1% of consumers happy is crucial, but for an entity like Brilliant they now seem to be expendable. As I recall, one of the primary original goals of this site was to allow for the discovery of talented young minds who would otherwise be overlooked. Clearly, that is no longer part of the mission. Another early goal was to create a sense of community; the has been disappearing for some time now, as Sharky pointed out in the discussion on Calvin's messageboard. I have always wondered what the business model was for Brilliant, but if the only way it can survive financially is to become primarily a learning site for the 99% then so be it. I miss what we had, just as I miss what we had on Y!A, but Brilliant is headed in the same direction so it may just be time to move on, (to what I'm not sure yet; any ideas?). Unless ... unless Silas et al can give us a hint of the "exciting new features" they will now have the time and resources to create; "Just imagine what we can become!" is not a great selling point otherwise. They are no doubt a talented crew, so I can only hope that they are up to their biggest challenge yet: staying both unique $and$ viable.

- 2 years, 9 months ago

As I said elsewhere, I hope Brilliant will continue to heed Item 5 in Our Principles

Other successful sites such as Wikipedia invest an enormous amount of their workload constantly monitoring the accuracy and quality of their Wikipedia pages. At the opposite end of the spectrum is Y!A, which has been roundly criticized for having poor and undependable accuracy and quality of their "answers", because there are no controls. Likewise, as we've heard infamously in the news, Facebook, which is great as social media but unfortunately is also an huge vector of diseased "information".

Brilliant knows it has to maintain a certain high standard because of the nature of its content. I do believe that Brilliant does recognize the value of the active 1% in helping maintain accuracy and quality of content, as well as "providing a sense of community", i.e., it's not just the Brilliant Staff interacting with the members, it's members interacting with others. But how to achieve that while trying to make the best use of Brilliant's resources is unfortunately not easy, as Silas Hundt has tried to point out. For example, he's made the point that in spite of July being a record for total people using Brilliant, only 68 people liked a problem. Why so few---if the "active members" are so engaged? I've been doing some counting previously with the POTW, and it looked like on average only a few percent of the solvers even bothered to Like a POTW problem, anonymously! It sort of sends the message that, "yeah, sure, I solved the problem but I didn't care for it." This is not because Brilliant failed to make the effort to get people engaged.

- 2 years, 9 months ago

I don't know if it affects your point at all, but he didn't say only 68 times a problem was Liked. He said only 68 people Liked a problem. We have no information about how many problems those 68 people Liked in total.

- 2 years, 9 months ago

Fixed my wording. But, yes, considering that something like between 10K and 100K times a problem was solved in July, there was maybe 100 to 1000 Likes. That's a Like rate of 1%. In other words, even among the active 1%, on average each Liked a problem only once in July. I'm throwing out some rough estimates, but I don't think I'm far off.

You could even say that there's only about 100 "super active" users? They alone could account for a significant fraction of solvers, community contributions, and Likes. However, as the years have gone by, there's been a steady turnover of those highly visible "super active users".

- 2 years, 9 months ago

I probably "like" 100 or so problems a month, in the interest of making a good problem "popular" or encouraging the problem-poster to continue creating new questions. I was quite shocked to read that only 68 people used the feature in July; it's an easy-to-understand feature so it does speak to a lack of engagement on the part of the vast majority of Brilliant members. It made me feel like a dinosaur just waiting to go extinct. As you have said, this is not the fault of Brilliant, but is just indicative of the online zeitgeist.

If Brilliant staff consider the 1% who are active users vital to maintaining the integrity of the site, then they will need to find a way to keep us engaged, otherwise we will drop off and more of that responsibility will fall on their shoulders, which in turn would leave them with less time to innovate. With the recent changes i feel they have taken a step back in that regard, but from Silas' note I sense they felt that they had to "rip off the bandage" and just move on. There is no reason they must cater to the "super active" users by maintaining boutique features, but I don't believe throwing out all but the kitchen sink was the best approach. I can imagine the next staff meeting will be a lively one, (or maybe not, as perhaps they were all already on board with the new philosophy before the bandage was ripped off).

- 2 years, 9 months ago

Even I can't offer "clear cut solutions guaranteed to work", because it's all in the numbers---benefits vs costs. It's a complicated picture. I'm sure Brilliant had hoped for a far more extensive active community---how often have we posted a problem or a solution in Community only to see it kind of go dead? What I think happens is that newcomers that are active at first find it attractive, but after some weeks or months of frustratingly poor responses, they give up and move elsewhere. And Brilliant Staff has only so much time to devote to communicating with the users. How do you improve responses?

I have a feeling that Brilliant has had plenty of lively meetings before the changes were announced.

- 2 years, 9 months ago

Yes, that is a great assessment of the dynamic they are up against. Because we came on board when we did and experienced that sense of community we feel quite passionate about this site, (not to put words in your mouth but I sense that is your experience as well), but if I were a new user now I'm not sure how deep a commitment I would make to Brilliant; as you say, a fun fling for a while but then drift off to other pursuits. Creating active, long-term users in an age of short attention spans and myriad distractions is an enormous challenge; if we did have the "clear cut solutions" we would be billionaires. :)

- 2 years, 9 months ago

Brian, I've been involved in a number of businesses in my time, and it's unfortunate how businesses often have to keep re-adjusting to new realities. I would often have to say, "what was a good idea before doesn't mean it's a good idea now".

- 2 years, 9 months ago

The silence from staff is deafening. Given the lack of equivocation in Silas' note, I suspect now that they have made their decision and are not going to revisit any of the changes they've made, despite the reasonable feedback they have received here. While regrettable, I'm sure it was not done with malice or disrespect in mind, but just survival. That said, I'm finding it difficult to feel good about this site now...

- 2 years, 9 months ago

Silas did not say that all the mentioned features will be removed permanently with no expected replacements. For example, it is likely they'll offer another way to look for problems. But what they are not going to do right now is to reinstall the coding for these features when they're in the middle of an overhaul. Give them the chance to work things through. And there's also the reality that, apparently, the majority of members want to stay anonymous, preferring if others don't know what they are doing or where they are, so that's just another layer of complications for Brilliant. On one hand, Brilliant is trying to "feature" members to encourage participation, but on the other hand, a lot of members want to stay under the radar.

I'm not sure what else Silas can say right now, short of saying, "okay, we'll reinstate the features that you want!" He does have a serious point about sofware "load", which they are trying to manage. Increasing software load can make it progressively more difficult to implement changes.

I do miss the "Like" feature, but let's be honest about it... very very few people have actually been using it.

- 2 years, 9 months ago

It’s their fault for deleting it in the first place!

- 2 years, 9 months ago

Annie, every website has to keep evolving. There's a formerly excellent website, "Cut The Knot", that has stalled because of problems with Java, and now it's not functioning as well as before. It is not changing because the author of that website has recently died, and apparently nobody wants to take over and revamp that website.

- 2 years, 9 months ago

Don’t call me li, it sounds too weird

- 2 years, 9 months ago

Lol, are you 12?

- 2 years, 9 months ago

Yeah. Why?

- 2 years, 9 months ago

Just interested

- 2 years, 9 months ago

Hahahahahah, you actually think that i’m Twelve! That was like, 6 years ago!

- 2 years, 9 months ago

So are youj 18 now?

- 2 years, 9 months ago

It is so sad about Alexander Bogomolny. Cut The Knot is a great website.

- 2 years, 9 months ago

Yes, Maria, that was sad. It must have pained him to realize that much of his life's work on Cut The Knot may all have been in vain because of problems with Java. Java has been plagued with problems almost from the beginning. I hope somehow, someday someone will take over the website and revise it without using Java, so that his work can be appreciated.

- 2 years, 9 months ago

What is the solution to problems with Java? Another software?

- 2 years, 9 months ago

All the Java scripts in Cut The Knot probably need to be redone in another language.. such as GeoGebra, which he did use and is still effective.

- 2 years, 9 months ago

Thanks for the splash of cold reality, Michael. I'm still surprised, though, at the lack of response to all the comments to his (Silas') note; I was not expecting "a we'll reinstate the features" reply, but just some sort of acknowledgement of the additional thoughts and concerns that were offered and that staff will take them into consideration while doing the overhaul, and perhaps even give a hint of what improvements might be coming down the pike, (as Brian Moehring suggested). It's so odd that when the user base was smaller everyone wanted to "follow" and "like" and engage in general, yet when the user base grew the feedback that staff received was for more anonymity. In light of that I wonder how long the "featured members" section will last; it seems a waste of "load" at this point.

- 2 years, 9 months ago

Exactly, they should at least reconsider

- 2 years, 9 months ago

We've reconsidered these decisions so many times. We started discussing this internally many months ago :(

Staff - 2 years, 9 months ago

Who knows. Remember AOL? They popularized Chat Rooms, and for a while it was lively. Then it just died out, and along with it AOL's shrinking subscription base. It wasn't because AOL had decided that their Chat Rooms was a waste of time.

I hope Brilliant will continue to make the effort to keep alive "a community of passionate users that want to interact", even though it may be that the largest majority of its members aren't like that.

- 2 years, 9 months ago

I was just on vacation, that's all! This thread is extremely thoughtful and gratifying, and I'm thinking about it all. That being said, I don't anticipate the decisions outlined here changing too much in the short term, although some changes like problem search and notes are still being discussed internally.

Overall, these are extremely expensive features to maintain and so few people using them means that we simply must rip the bandaid off and remove them ASAP so that people don't keep investing in them.

Staff - 2 years, 9 months ago

Thanks for your replies, Silas, here and elsewhere in this note, and I'm sorry about not considering the possibility that the "deafening silence" was simply due to you being on vacation. Contemplating the changes from your perspective, as well as digesting Michael's insights, have made me more accepting of the transformation Brilliant is undergoing. You have to respond to your market to survive; going back to a model that us "active users" (and perhaps some staff as well) are nostalgic for, given the data you've provided, is not an option now. It was a bit of a shock when all the changes were made in close succession, but as has been pointed out by others there are ways (albeit sometimes clumsy) to approximate the actions of some deleted features. (I know it won't be restored, but I do so miss the option to "like" problems, and that is the one feature that cannot be "approximated". :( ) I'm still trying to figure out how best engage with this site now; the "community to content" trend that Michael pointed out (via Sharky Kesa) is quite accurate, and it was that (now diminished) sense of community that in large part kept me coming back. However, I'll figure it out, and out of stubbornness I'll stick around as long as Michael does. :)

P.S.. The 0.05% and 0.15% rates of problem-posting and solution-posting, respectively, are alarmingly low. I stopped posting problems some time ago due to diminishing returns (in terms of attempts, feedback, etc.) for my efforts. I'm concerned that the removal of the "like" and "repost" features will further de-incentivize others from posting problems, and my impression is that the quality of problems being posted has already been in decline recently, (as well as there being an increasing number of troll postings). Unless a problem wins the lottery and is chosen as a POTW it tends to languish. I trust that staff have been considering affordable ways to incentivize problem-posting to encourage a stable, quality "supply" from which the POTW are chosen.

- 2 years, 9 months ago

I think this is an old problem, lack of feedback de-incentivizes contributors. I've noticed that over the years, we've had some newcomers that were very active for a while posting new problems and solutions, only to kind of fade out when they get to the "why am i doing this?" stage. Part of this is natural, priorities change. Part of it could be the changing mix of Brilliant users as Brilliant evolves, so there's less feedback, as with the problem of "Like". I honestly don't know what Brilliant can do about this, given the realities they have to deal with, but, as you have said, I trust that the staff is thinking about it.

Let me try to imagine an analogous business situation (which I've actually seen happen). Some small boutique eatery gets popular, so they decide to expand and start selling their own products. Pretty soon it's a combination store and eatery. After a while, the store business dominates while the original eatery hasn't seen a corresponding rise in income. The eatery then just becomes a storefront window in which to attract customers to the store. How much should it continue to invest this eatery, which has virtually become just another form of advertisement? You and I are like the loyal customers of the original eatery, still loving to have meals there, while most other customers probably just order through the internet.

- 2 years, 9 months ago

Great analogy. I worry that the "eatery", (or in the case of Brilliant the Community section), will eventually be shuttered due to a lack of turnover of newcomers interested in trying out all the "products", (including especially the option in the case of Brilliant of posting their own problems), before settling on their favourites. I see that already the Community page now features the POTW at the top, so we now need to scroll down to find new problems, (the production of which appears to be gradually slowing down; again, that 0.05% value is alarming). The POTW is popular but it does depend on new problems being continually generated by the community at large. That said, as the POTW needs just 15 new problems per week it is conceivable that staff (and perhaps a handful of still eager volunteers), could simply come up with these on their own, thereby negating the need to carry the "expensive" Community section on the inventory list. I very much doubt staff want to go that route, as this is a key ingredient of what makes Brilliant unique, but this is a business, so ....

- 2 years, 9 months ago

I don't think Brilliant wants to shutter their "eatery". Pea Soup Anderson's is doing rushing business selling their canned soup products, but their landmark "eateries" along California interstates are still very much beloved.

- 2 years, 9 months ago

Haha I had to google that company; amazing that pea soup could be a top draw to a restaurant. Well, hopefully Brilliant's business model will be similar to PSA's, (perhaps they could even put a windmill on the home page). :)

- 2 years, 9 months ago

Silas says about Rohit Gupta's stable ball question. I can still remember it. It is a record week for brilliant for total number of users using brilliant but still it has got only 68 like for 49K solvers

- 2 years, 9 months ago

Remember in the Star Trek series, they're always rerouting the power of the ship to where it's most needed? Okay, Brilliant is doing that. POTW is a success, but for some strange reason only a microscopically tiny number of people actually use the Like feature. What's with that? Brilliant is going to invest more resources into successes.

- 2 years, 9 months ago

Thank you for the extremely thoughtful and careful reply. The considerations here are exactly some of the ones that I think about all the time.

A decent summary might be – what is the proper "form" for a community focused on learning difficult things, especially when we're simultaneously developing Premium courses along side the community? Following/followers, resharing, likes, etc. are apparently not what uninitiated members wish to use. The most successful community "feature" is problems of the week. If you're looking for the future of community on Brilliant, that is probably what you should look at as the model.

Staff - 2 years, 9 months ago

The difficulty in finding something to replace the Brilliant community with points to the trickiness of what we've been working on for years: fostering a community that is useful and inclusive to everyone, while also building a self-sustaining business focused on math and science isn't easy! We think we've mostly figured it out though.

To address your suspicions directly, we haven't abandoned our mission at all. We've spent an enormous amount of time on the "Courses" tab on Brilliant, and it is feeding and creating tens of thousands of talented young minds :)

Staff - 2 years, 9 months ago

Just curious: what percentage of the community posts new problems?

- 2 years, 10 months ago

Or who post solutions.... I've often wondered that myself. Probably back to that 1% value, I'm guessin'.

- 2 years, 9 months ago

About triple the number of people who submitted a problem.

Staff - 2 years, 9 months ago

Roughly 0.05% of members active in the last week submitted a problem.

Staff - 2 years, 9 months ago

"First – let me thank you all for caring about Brilliant, and for speaking up about how some of the recent changes have worried you. We love that you care so much about making Brilliant what it is" Silas is laughing on our affection for Brilliant. He isn't taking any action @Michael Mendrin,@Mark Hennings,@Jon Haussmann,@Chew-Seong Cheong,@Vilakshan Gupta,@Aaghaz Mahajan,@Annie Li

I think we should boycott brilliant

- 2 years, 9 months ago

That was a little harsh, Akshat. I know Silas means well.

- 2 years, 9 months ago

What’s boycott?

- 2 years, 9 months ago

Look up it in a dictionary,that’s about resist together,or “抵制”in Chinese,l am not good at English.

- 2 years, 9 months ago

Ok, btw, i am terrible at Chinese. It is much to hard for me.

- 2 years, 9 months ago

It means to stop using brilliant for a while. Brilliant is popular because we have a fine community here. We("give you a sense of the scale, less than 1% of our most active users engage with likes, following, user and problem search combined" as said by Silas) solve each other's problems. and the also post new problems for the "the other 99% infrequent visitors". So if we boycott brilliant for few days it would get ruined and then the brilliant staff would definitely realise their mistake.

- 2 years, 9 months ago

Take a survey: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/QYCTMPW

- 2 years, 9 months ago

Thanks

- 2 years, 9 months ago

Brilliant has been evolving since its inception years ago, and I expect it will continue to evolve. I can remember the time it originalily targeted users involved in math competitions to polish their skills, without much sense of community. It's come a long ways from that in response to market realities. Right now, as Silas Hundt has tried to explain, this is about the best allocation of limited resources. Rather than restoring the features which means bringing back old coding, they'll probably do a coding reboot to reduce programming load. Give them some time to come with an improved version, while being aware of the needs of the active 1%. This cannot be done over the weekend.

- 2 years, 9 months ago

Yes that is a good one. I have an excellent idea.

- 2 years, 9 months ago

@akshat rai – this is a completely reasonable response. In the meantime, we'll keep working hard to serve everyone on Brilliant and continue to asymptotically approach the (theoretical) best possible to learn math and science.

Staff - 2 years, 9 months ago

For the record, I'm one of those who has never or rarely used most of those features you mentioned. However, even from my position of rarely having used them, it seems like a very strange decision to remove Notes and Saved sets.

In my experience, notes have served to resolve questions within the community and to help vet problems before they're posted. It's therefore reasonable to conclude that removing notes will both increase load on your support team in a manner that doesn't scale well for a growing business and stop some types of people from posting problems.

Similarly, I haven't personally made any saved sets other than the "For Later" set (and I would be happy if that set is made private). However, I have seen and used others' sets as community-curated lists of problems, and it seems to me that removing the ability for community members to curate their own lists of problems is removing a feature that could draw many others in.

On a slightly different note: While I'm sympathetic to the fact that this level of maintenance might be stifling to innovation in a small company, both your paying customers and your potential customers only see the removal of features with this update, so it's only natural that many would be upset. You can't possibly believe your customers would be happy with "just imagine how good Brilliant can be now!" when the only concrete fact you've given us is that the previous features were stretching the team too thin.

If you have a feature that will now have accelerated development, tell us why that particular feature is going to benefit the community. You need to at least tell your paying customers that in order for them to continue to justify their subscriptions with something more than trust that you'll make Brilliant worth it with future updates.

- 2 years, 9 months ago

I agree that it really does hurt the Brilliant experience for active users to not have means of finding, saving and organizing links, or to even have means of cross-communication via notes such as this one about Brilliant changes. I hope Brilliant does not end up plunging all of us into a blind silence, where we become passive, solitary users.

- 2 years, 9 months ago

@Brian Moehring – thank you for your time and careful response.

Re: sets – a total of 150 people viewed someone else's set on average in a given week. To provide some perspective, that is less than the number of people who read solutions on problems of the week in a typical 15 minute period. This leads me to believe we ought to invest a lot more in solutions and comments!

Re: future development – I'm not going to provide a feature development roadmap, especially since we have plenty of competitors around. There are more related searching coming, especially related to search, weekly problems, and the practice area.

Staff - 2 years, 9 months ago

Thanks for the response. I certainly wasn't expecting an development roadmap in the sense of "we're using so-and-so neural network to improve this feature" which would be sharing development info with competitors and be useless to almost all your users. In the short run something like "we're improving search" is fine.

All that said (and I may be showing my naivete about your current policies), will we be seeing some sort of notice when a new feature is actually launched, or would it be launched silently?

- 2 years, 9 months ago

it'l be launched from a sub

- 2 years, 9 months ago

We almost always launch new features silently, so as to see how they get used by people organically. However, some features are highlighted a month or two later in the monthly newsletter.

Staff - 2 years, 9 months ago

OK, so only 1% of people use all the features you mention. I hardly ever used the Member search feature - if I wanted to find information about someone, I would be reading a comment or a problem posted by them, and I could follow the link back. Of the features axed, it is (to my mind) the least useful, and I am not worried at seeing it go.

I do think that it would be interesting to find what are doubtless larger statistics about the usage of each of these features individually. Your argument is that since hardly anyone uses them all, then all should go. Hardly anyone uses both men's and women's changing rooms at the gym - does this mean that we should get rid of all changing rooms?

- 2 years, 9 months ago

Exactly, th toilets are still there right? Why aren’t they something else like a storeroom?

- 2 years, 9 months ago

That's an interesting and funny analogy, "hardly anyone uses both men's and women's changing rooms at the gym - does this mean that we should get rid of all changing rooms?"

- 2 years, 9 months ago

Hi @Mark Hennings – my summary statistic was the sum of the people that use all the features combined. That being said, we'll probably be bringing back problem search in some form sooner than later.

Staff - 2 years, 9 months ago

- 2 years, 9 months ago

The search option is removed for notes then how am I supposed to learn LaTeX from Daniel Lu's note. How? You do not even create a proper wiki for LaTeX. Daniel stepped in and now you removed his effort to teach us LaTeX.

- 2 years, 9 months ago

https://brilliant.org/tags/latex

- 2 years, 9 months ago

Hi @Mohmmad Farhan – We'll probably be converting the more popular notes into wikis. In the larger scope of things: Brilliant is not the best place on the internet to learn LaTeX – there are a ton of great resources out there.

Staff - 2 years, 9 months ago

Thank you! Sorry if I was a little bit harsh

- 2 years, 9 months ago

Damn, all mine would be gone!

- 2 years, 9 months ago

What do you mean

- 2 years, 9 months ago

Cause i have a lot of notes

- 2 years, 9 months ago

Oh!

- 2 years, 9 months ago

If we decide to go forward with removing notes, you'll be able to export them forever – we won't simply delete the information of course.

Staff - 2 years, 9 months ago

Look forward to restoring some features with them taking up less space

- 2 years, 9 months ago

Respected Silas Hundt sir I don't know why people won't discuss physics problems. Basically I am a physics dependent student. Most of my problems and solutions are based on physics and also most of the questions which I solve are physics. But the problem is that people won't discuss them and hence I am left with a quite few upvotes. For instance, take the second problem of this week's POTW (Balancing Rod by Rohit Gupta). Number of people solved : 10.6 K , Number of people discussing solutions : 74 , Number of people upvoted my solution : 29. So, you can imagine how the situation. Not only for this time but from the time I started using brilliant the same thing is going on. Although at present I have 21 featured solutions my upvotes count is just 1.6K which is quite a low number. The reason being is that most of my solutions are physics based which will have at most 50 upvotes and that'a all (and also they are the highest upvoted solutions of their respective questions). I am mentioning this comment because I feel that the next feature to be endangered is "upvoting solutions" and also if condition is still worse the "solution writing" feature will also be endangered.

- 2 years, 9 months ago

I'm fine with removing followers, likes and repost functions, but kindly don't remove Notes, Sets and Problem/Note Search feature.

- 2 years, 9 months ago

- 2 years, 8 months ago

Silas, I understand what you mentioned above but, following this line of thought, every user should be anonymous. Doesn't make much sense, right? It would be better to have a Privacy feature in which the user chooses whether he/she wants to be Followed/Liked/Found or not. There were some users whose the contributions I really like and now I struggle to find their problems. It is just like, you like some specific authors, but you can't find their book by their names. I also used to keep track of nice problems that I liked with the Like feature and now I cant find them. If some users don't want to be found, ok, it is their choice and I respect it, but what about the others? It is not exactly fair with the old users. I guess the Privacy feature I mentioned would make more users satisfied, what you think? Thanks for your attention.

- 2 years, 7 months ago

However, as pointed out in my original comments, the issue with that approach is that it puts enormous strain on our engineering and product design teams, since now every single feature on the site has to be fed through a series of privacy controls. It increases the complexity of the overall system substantially (on top of the existing features not being used by very many people.)

Staff - 2 years, 7 months ago

We want the Following option back, because when we follow a member you get to know when he posts something.

- 2 years, 7 months ago

Dear @Silas Hundt . Why did brilliant.org remove the saved sets feature ? . I think when I started using brilliant.org at the beginning of 2018 it was perfect . And frankly speaking , the "features" which make brilliant.org so brilliant is the contribution by users with their problems and their notes and all other such stuff. I personally only come here for problem solving and maintaining my streak. So in conclusion , if even brilliant did not change one single thing I would love it even more. I want a system which gives me the option to search my preferred sort of problem in an easy and hassle free way. Brilliant.org should focus more on Math and Science instead of bogus website features or rather the removal of them. Recently the feature that 4 related problems used to show on the bottom of the screen when you opened some problems...that feature is gone too. It is my humble and earnest request that brilliant.org be returned to the state which it was in the beginning of 2018 when I started using it.

I am shocked to find that the search feature of the website has been removed. I strongly urge the staff to restore this key feature.

- 2 years, 10 months ago

I second this opinion!!!

- 2 years, 10 months ago

Me too. It is just so hurtful

- 2 years, 9 months ago

I don't understand why the Search feature has been truncated to such an extent that it's not any more than an index search for Wikis and Quizzes. It used to be very useful and quick for finding things---problems, members, notes. And I am concerned about the seemingly increasing impersonality of Brilliant.org. As Sharky Kesa said, it's moving from "community to content". I want to continue seeing feedback from members, and the Like feature was one such way. Maybe Brilliant.org is trying too hard not to be like Facebook?

- 2 years, 10 months ago

Hi @Michael Mendrin, @Mark Hennings, @Jon Haussmann, @Annie Li, @Ram Mohith and many others – we've added problem search back. Thank you all again for your patience and thoughtful responses.

Staff - 2 years, 8 months ago

Silas, thank you for putting that back in. It's already making things easier for me, as someone that has to constantly look for previously reviewed problems. For a while, I had to simply search down the Community feed list, which was time consuming.

- 2 years, 8 months ago

Haha! Finally!

- 2 years, 8 months ago

- 2 years, 10 months ago

Good logic

- 2 years, 10 months ago

But you can save it.

- 2 years, 9 months ago

Yeah, you're right. (But actually I don't have to now because the notifications simply sends me messages about this every day and I can press the connection. 260 replies now!)

- 2 years, 9 months ago

@Calvin Lin Sir, I agree with Akshat Rai.....!! Now, we can not even repost our problems!!!

- 2 years, 10 months ago

Also, the like feature was great as it helped us to store problems for future reference too!!

- 2 years, 10 months ago

- 2 years, 10 months ago

$\large \boxed{\color{#3D99F6} \text{Community - Staff Act}}$ Brilliant is made for the community and supported by the community. Recently the staff had brought new changes which are worse and they are not responding to the community members. The staff has to agree with this act before it becomes serious.

Terms of the Act

$1.$ This is the first and the most important change which has to be brought. The search option facility should be immediately restored as the community members are finding it hard to search for problems and notes which they want to see.

$2.$ Also the like and repost options must be restored irrespective of whether a particular question has been liked or not.

$3.$ Coming to the following and followers features it must be judged by means of a voting system. But it is recommended to have this option because the members personally used to use the followers' function to take a look at the problems, notes and sets. But now they are unable to do it.

$4.$ Also, if brilliant want to bring any changes it must be first kept before the community members and should be debated.on that changes. In this way smooth functioning of brilliant can be achieved as the community can itself frame the changes they want.

$5.$ As a part of their duty the community members should like and save the problems, notes, sets which they feel are right to be rewarded and should participate in all the discussions. This must be done to prevent further any situations like this updates and should make use of these features to their best.

If you have any suggestions to this act please kindly put them so that I will add them in this act. Thank You. I request Akshat Rai to keep in this act in the main note so that every one will see it.

$\quad \quad \quad \quad \quad \quad \quad - \color{#20A900}Ram \space Mohith$

- 2 years, 9 months ago

The best possible result of proposing a list of demands like this is that the list of demands are ignored; otherwise, they can only derail reasonable discussion. I am waiting for a comprehensive response, but almost all of this discussion happened at the end of the week. It isn't unreasonable for the staff to be given a chance to talk before they decide what to do, and that may even mean waiting for a couple days.

- 2 years, 9 months ago

So you say that whatever we do the staff is not responding.

- 2 years, 9 months ago

Silas responded about 36 hours ago, before a lot of this blew up right before the weekend.

I would expect some type of response in the next 24 hours, so keep watching this note, but I wouldn't be surprised if we have to wait until Monday for another official response. In the mean time, trying to foment discontent isn't going to help your case.

- 2 years, 9 months ago

I will also post this in Calvin Lin's messageboard.

- 2 years, 9 months ago

Yes

- 2 years, 9 months ago

A number of detailed points have been made by this discussion, and I will be interested to hear the official response some time after the weekend.There is, however, no good to be achieved by provocative actions which are not conducive to debate. I hope that Brilliant will reconsider some of their recent decisions, but I do not think your Act will help with this.

- 2 years, 9 months ago

So, what is your opinion. Do my idea doesn't work at least in fulfilling the first condition ???

- 2 years, 9 months ago

Your Act demands that Brilliant hands its operational decision-making over to an amorphous set of users. I cannot see any company agreeing to that.

- 2 years, 9 months ago

- 2 years, 9 months ago

Mark is right that companies cannot operate effectively if decision-making is left to consumers who don't have any responsibility in ensuring the company's survival.

- 2 years, 9 months ago

Ok I have changed that sentence.

- 2 years, 9 months ago

You should also add “Always be online to see what we are doing.”

- 2 years, 9 months ago

Actually that may not be a term as it is according to one's wish.

- 2 years, 9 months ago

The problem is becoming serious day by day. Now, I am not able to solve problems at-least I find difficult to find a problem to a certain topic.

- 2 years, 10 months ago

Exactly, we can;t find the fun type of problems anymore

- 2 years, 9 months ago

For an enthusiastic learner the old version of brilliant is the correct. Now, please don't corrupt the correct one by deep-rooting the old version of Brilliant. Please don't plunge Brilliant into darkness. Dear staff and moderators don't bring the ocean of Brilliant to just a mere pond by taking such a wrong step. This is on behalf from of all enthusiastic burning hearts.

- 2 years, 9 months ago

HELP US. WE NEED BACK BRILLIANT

- 2 years, 9 months ago

I really liked Brilliant previously...

- 2 years, 10 months ago

It is extremely frustrating to see the new update. How are we supposed to search for problems?

Moreover, I personally used to use the followers' function to take a look at the problems, notes and sets; but after this update, it felt like a heart attack, no exaggeration.

- 2 years, 9 months ago

Truly, a HEART ATTACK

- 2 years, 9 months ago

You can find the members you previous followed by typing https://brilliant.org/profile/syed-hamza-u7xl85/following/

- 2 years, 9 months ago

The problem search is back!

- 2 years, 9 months ago

That's a good news. Ohh !!! what a relief.

- 2 years, 9 months ago

I know right!

- 2 years, 9 months ago

A disastrous Effect on Brilliant

- 2 years, 10 months ago

Yes

- 2 years, 9 months ago

Not Disastrous. Too bad to even express it in words

- 2 years, 9 months ago

OLD is GOLD. Let brilliant be in it's own natural way. Don't try to beatify it using make up creams (new updates). In future it will get side effects due to these creams (new updates).

- 2 years, 9 months ago

Here is the data everyone:

- 2 years, 9 months ago

Thanks for the data!

- 2 years, 9 months ago

- 2 years, 10 months ago

I strongly request Brilliant staff to restore the previous version of this website. Why can't we even repost problems?

- 2 years, 10 months ago

Please, myself and other Brilliantians request that you restore the previous version of this site. Truncated search options, inability to repost or like good problems etc. are not why we joined Brilliant. This is a downgrade to the previous version.

- 2 years, 9 months ago

Now they are trying to get us to go onto premium by giving us 20% discounts. What a waste if the and money, they should be paying us to get off brilliant

- 2 years, 9 months ago

WE DEMAND OUR MONEY BACK FROM BRILLIANT. WE DID NOT PAY FOR THIS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

- 2 years, 9 months ago

- 2 years, 9 months ago

Yeah he did

- 2 years, 9 months ago

Yes

- 2 years, 9 months ago

That’s just sad, complain to them

- 2 years, 9 months ago

I have an excellent idea. Lets redirect as many as possible community members to this note and create awareness about this new updates and their effects so that everybody will come to know about this and can keep pressure on staff to bring back the old changes. For this post problems and notes regarding to these updates like this and this one. Also, under careful study I have made an Act. Let's fight until brilliant staff agrees with this act.

- 2 years, 9 months ago

Now, the problem is much more becoming serious. I am unable to solve any problem related to my subject in my academics. Last Friday I am solving physics problems of level 3 and 4. Just after I finished them I got a notification "See how close you are to level up". If I would solve 1 or 2 level 4 question I will definitely unlock level 4. But I stopped solving for that day and hoped to continue it later. But now I am finding it quite difficult to find a Level 4 question of my subject and as a result I didn't still leveled up. Before I used to type the topic name in the search option and would find questions related to that topic. But now that is quite a tough task. This is what is my condition.

- 2 years, 9 months ago

Go to the community page, and choose "Classical Mechanics / New / Hard". There are many Level 4 and Level 5 problems.

- 2 years, 9 months ago

But I want questions which are related to a certain topic which are covered in my academics

- 2 years, 9 months ago

Then it is harder now. Let's hope they will restore the searching function as soon as possible.

- 2 years, 9 months ago

Good luck finding them.

P.S. You need good luck

- 2 years, 9 months ago

It'll be easier if you use the "tags" function to find.

- 2 years, 9 months ago

The brilliant staff are really unfair. This discussion has more than 270 replies and yet it does not appear as ‘popular’ on the community page.

- 2 years, 9 months ago

TRUE!

- 2 years, 9 months ago

Everybody, take a survey to express how you feel: survey

- 2 years, 9 months ago

Edited the note

- 2 years, 9 months ago

- 2 years, 9 months ago

how to enlarge it

- 2 years, 9 months ago

Idk, but good enough 👍

- 2 years, 9 months ago

Why can’t I open the website?

- 2 years, 9 months ago

Why not?

- 2 years, 9 months ago

I opened it just now. Thanks.

- 2 years, 9 months ago

No problem. Thank you for participating in the survey

- 2 years, 9 months ago

JUSTICE!!!

- 2 years, 9 months ago

I cannot believ it. I got 57 notifications (in lesser than 20 hours) and most of them are from here.

- 2 years, 9 months ago

Hahahah, i got 87

- 2 years, 9 months ago

I can't believe, got 105 notifications.

- 2 years, 9 months ago

K

- 2 years, 9 months ago

I just got 67,and it’s really difficult for me to translate them to Chinese

- 2 years, 9 months ago

How much English can you understand?

- 2 years, 9 months ago

A little,I think

- 2 years, 9 months ago

I haven't "cleaned" the notifications for about a week. The first six days passed, and it finally got to 100. The seventh day(today), it got to 227.

- 2 years, 9 months ago

WHAT!

- 2 years, 9 months ago

228 now:p

- 2 years, 9 months ago

- 2 years, 9 months ago

HAHA IT has reached 230

- 2 years, 9 months ago

HAHA!

- 2 years, 9 months ago

@X X Think about me its been 24 in 2 hrs

- 2 years, 9 months ago

I got 221

- 2 years, 9 months ago

for me 69 notifications in 3 hours

- 2 years, 9 months ago

Check out this discussion(hope it helps)

- 2 years, 9 months ago

It does help. I putted in a set and upvoted.

- 2 years, 7 months ago

Search for problems is now available in the app.

- 2 years, 9 months ago

How to you post a picture?

- 2 years, 9 months ago

Where? (In solution or what)

- 2 years, 9 months ago

- 2 years, 9 months ago

![caption](link) but if no caption than put blank []

- 2 years, 9 months ago

![caption](link)

- 2 years, 9 months ago

I took the screenshot and kept the link in one of my solutions. Then from there I have copied the link and pasted it here in the comment section. That's all it is simple.

- 2 years, 9 months ago

THE PROBLEM SEARCH IS BACK!!!!!!

- 2 years, 9 months ago

Great!!

- 2 years, 9 months ago

Survey is anonymous

- 2 years, 9 months ago

- 2 years, 9 months ago

This is probably a lot more popular than any other notes that are "popular".

- 2 years, 9 months ago

Lol

- 2 years, 9 months ago

Also, i currently have 18 people who participate din the survey! Thank you so much! Soon, i willl show the results here

- 2 years, 9 months ago

Are we boycotting?

- 2 years, 9 months ago

Please don't do this, or there will be no feedbacks, and the staffs won't know our thoughts.

- 2 years, 9 months ago

This is not completely boycotting. It is just a type of demanding.

- 2 years, 9 months ago

Bru]illaint is also currently making ads on YouTube, y should people join?

- 2 years, 9 months ago

Btw,what did you mean?

- 2 years, 9 months ago

- 2 years, 9 months ago

Chinese can’t open youtube,Facebook and Twitter.They are not allowed by our government.so I still don’t understand what happened,I am very sorry for it.

- 2 years, 9 months ago

Oh that’s too sad. Are you in china?

- 2 years, 9 months ago

That’s sure.

- 2 years, 9 months ago

- 2 years, 9 months ago

- 2 years, 9 months ago

I know that. government blocked it

- 2 years, 9 months ago

I just want to know what happened,that’s not the time for us to talk about what our government did.

- 2 years, 9 months ago

You won’t get it cause you can’t see youtube

- 2 years, 9 months ago

What did they do in YouTube?

- 2 years, 9 months ago

Can't u use vpn or tor browser?

- 2 years, 9 months ago

VPN should work, but you will have to pay more

- 2 years, 9 months ago

When they say that they are removing notes they are MUTING US FROM COMPLAINING!

- 2 years, 9 months ago

IKR! They need to appreciate us more, cause without us, they become less popular

- 2 years, 9 months ago

Let us all observe the staff's activities and when they post something we comment on that regarding this matter and then we can find out more

- 2 years, 9 months ago

Yah

- 2 years, 9 months ago

What do we comment?

- 2 years, 9 months ago

Why is this happening??????

- 2 years, 9 months ago

Ok. Np

- 2 years, 9 months ago

Wait, we can;t search up members! Nooo!!

- 2 years, 9 months ago

When you spot them (ALTHOUGH IT IS HARDER!)

- 2 years, 9 months ago

Silas commented, so you can press on him

- 2 years, 9 months ago

An individual is no match but WE, THE BRILLIANTIANS TOGETHER CAN GET JUSTICE

- 2 years, 9 months ago

Sure

- 2 years, 9 months ago

- 2 years, 9 months ago

At least ask them related questions

- 2 years, 9 months ago

Ok

- 2 years, 9 months ago

I posted a new problem

- 2 years, 9 months ago

Here are all of the staff: https://brilliant.org/discussions/thread/experimenting-with-new-profile-blocks/?ref_id=1382156

- 2 years, 9 months ago

Press here

- 2 years, 9 months ago

Did any of you recieved the streak notification these two days?

- 2 years, 9 months ago

What streak

- 2 years, 9 months ago

If you get onto Brilliant everyday, you will get a streak notification

- 2 years, 9 months ago

I haven’t.

- 2 years, 9 months ago

For these two days only, or never recieved one?

- 2 years, 9 months ago

@X X Maybe never

- 2 years, 9 months ago

I didn't recieve it only these two days. Maybe it is also a change?

- 2 years, 9 months ago

@X X Maybe that is,but I don’t care about it,that’s useless.

- 2 years, 9 months ago

Yeah, but I was worried about it because I didn't want to break my streak.

- 2 years, 9 months ago

- 2 years, 9 months ago

I know, it just worried me for a short time and found it.

- 2 years, 9 months ago