SlideShare: user communication failure

While Enterprise 2.0 applications can be useful, hassles sometimes abound.
Written by Michael Krigsman, Contributor

While Enterprise 2.0 applications can be useful, hassles sometimes abound. In this case, I innocently tried to upload a simple file to SlideShare, only to learn things aren't always straightforward.After attempting to upload the file, I received an error message stating in part:

There's a big chance this is just a temporary/random glitch with our servers; just retry after 5 minutes and see if it works.

Here's a screen capture, highlighting the relevant message:

SlideShare error message

The troubleshooting FAQ offers a bit more information:

I am getting a file conversion error while uploading my file. It gives me an "OOPs". What is this?

This means your file could not be converted to our format. Reasons could be varied - it's possible our converter is temporarily down, try uploading once again - if your file is password protected or contains macros, you might get an OOPs; remove them and upload again - sometimes uploading the pdf version instead of the original ppt/odp file (or vice-versa) helps to overcome the OOPs

If none of the above helped, this could be due to some incompatibility between our converter & your file.

While every application suffers bugs and errors, I don't understand why SlideShare doesn't state whether or not their converter is down. As the screen capture shows, I spent 41 minutes screwing around -- converting the file, uploading, re-converting, and so on. SlideShare, if your converter isn't working, please speak up so I don't waste my time.

Although I generally like SlideShare, communicating errors and problems clearly to users is obviously not a strong point. It's time the company learned this important skill.

Update 6/30/08, 8:30am EDT: The SlideShare blog reports the upload problem has been resolved. Amit Ranja, one of SlideShare's founders, sent the following comment by email:

Regarding your suggestion to add intelligence to upload error messages, it is definitely a good idea. Let me discuss this internally and see if we can incorporate that.

Editorial standards