Long ago, in the early days of Quizlet, things were simpler.  It was a one-man team running the whole show, slowly adding features and fixing bugs. This much can be discerned by looking through the archives of Quizlet’s blog. The creator, Andrew Sutherland slowly but surely added more features over the years, including some really neat features like private messaging and class forums, a dashboard, and friend lists. Quizlet was very fully-featured, though ugly.

And then something happened. I think it began when Quizlet stopped being a little hobby and became an entity and a full-time job worth dropping out of MIT for. At the beginning of this phase, employees were being hired, and tons of languages were added to Quizlet. Then something happened and all those languages are no longer accessible. In fact, there was even a multiplayer game in the works. It got taken down and never came back up. The cool features like friend lists, class forums, and private messaging are all gone. I haven’t found any traces of them or reasons why they disappeared.

In addition, with the increasing staff members, the quality of the blog posts went down until they became practically tweets. Instead of a long explanation of what went wrong, why, and how to fix it, posts on downtime became simple “server was down. back up now” sentences. Now, Quizlet is still, at its core, what it was, but lacking a bunch of things that were convenient and useful. I can certainly see how class forums and private messages could be abused, especially with a service whose userbase is primarily children, but enough so that it warrants permanent removal from Quizlet? Multiplayer seems to have been taken down and never brought back online, but that’s an abandoned project, which is different than simply removing features.

Perhaps there is an explanation hidden within the Quizlet blogs, but I haven’t found it yet. It seems that earlier on, Sutherland added private messaging and mentioned it in subsequent posts. However, the archives I’m viewing are getting closer and closer to present time with no mention of private messaging or where it went. What I find slightly amusing is that Sutherland talked about how IE was absolutely terrible (no argument there) and that Firefox is much better, and the new, current Create Set test only works on Chrome.

There are mentions of the Friends system in the Quizlet FAQs but I was unable to find anything anywhere else pertaining to this. Maybe the answer is right under my nose or maybe I completely overlooked something, but I don’t think so. I really just want to know what happened to Quizlet and why. Maybe someday I’ll find out.