April 15, 2021

Explore Update: 23 Hours Later

Latitude is sharing updates on our progress 23 hours after our initial announcement and takedown of Explore and social features to update users on our current progress and plans.

We are committed to maintaining transparency during this process of rebuilding Explore and rolling back social features with our community. Part of our efforts since yesterday have included community outreach, listening, and responding to feedback and concerns from members of our communities. We value everyone that has shared their AI Dungeon and Explore experiences with our team.

Today, we began the process of developing the new Explore experience with the first of several tabletop exercises with leadership from across the company. We identified several areas where we’re coordinating on developing tools which will allow users to discover content (e.g. tags), blocklist content (e.g. reporting, personal blocklists), and be aware of their limits for both creating and sharing content. We identified existing deficiencies in our infrastructure which have prevented us from implementing these features previously.

It turns out that all of these features involve multiple competing equities which have led to problems at other companies. We want to learn from those mistakes. While we would have liked to have started building those today, we need to take a few days to make sure that we’re building something which will be sustainable and make sense. As we learn more, we plan to provide a survey for features and distribute them throughout the community. Cautiously, we are optimistic that we can begin this as early as tomorrow once we identify what we can do.

We realized that a lot of the basic functionality that had organically developed as part of the first version of Explore does not scale to new users or new content. For instance, right now there are multiple SFW/NSFW toggles. These toggles have been a consistent pain point for the product over the last year and regardless of changes that we’ve made, they’ve confused users on whether they’re active or inactive, and potentially sometimes did not work as intended. We need to figure out a way to make the settings themselves intuitive, create more granularity over the controls so users are empowered to fine-tune and control their own gameplay, and consolidate the settings into a singular location.

For the path forward at this point, we have concurrently begun the design process for the new Explore experience along with the infrastructure that it will connect to. The current plan is to begin implementing changes on the Featured Scenarios page and then expand out from there to become the new Explore design. This will allow us to test our assumptions on a small set of scenarios before we apply it to everyone’s scenarios again. We realize the downward scrolling lists are not great for our content and are taking patterns from the Worlds page for a carousel design for different sorts of scenarios. However, the hard part is figuring out how to label and order the database of scenarios for users to view, as well to ensure that we can effectively moderate them in accordance with our community guidelines and policies which we are completely revamping.

We’ll keep you updated as we flesh out our plans and designs.