Twitter is responding to critics with an admirable degree of humility.
I don’t think it’s a case of armchair quarterbacking, more a case of Twitter being in the “show me” penalty box that comes with having immense promise and goodwill, and simply not delivering on a key expectation. Twitter has, as a company, had one real responsibility put on them by their community, make the backend stable. There has been no loud outcry about client side improvements or richer functionality, none of the stuff that other companies have to deal with, just make it work reliably.
Simply put, Twitter fails too frequently and only recently has the company begun seriously addressing these issues in a public fashion. I still love the service but I’m more interested in seeing improvements, less interested in long winded explanations about why their reliability sucks. It they want to post these details, I’ll listen but when it comes to actual improvement in service, show me.
Part of the impetus for this public discussion extends from the sense that Twitter isn’t addressing our architectural flaws. When users see downtime, slowness, and instability of the sort that we’ve exhibited this week, they assume that our engineering progress must be stagnant. With the Twitter team working on these issues on and off for over a year, surely downtime should be a thing of the past by now, right? Shouldn’t we be able to just “throw more machines at it”?