Counting Bugs at LinkedIn
Counting Bugs at LinkedIn
Counting Bugs at LinkedIn

LinkedIn has a bug problem, in two senses. There are long-standing, unresolved errors, and there are agitators like me (or is it only me?) who keep finding more and say so.

This article is my latest “bug LinkedIn” entry. My latest finds center on counting. They’re very visible. I’ll show you two instances, and toss in a screenshot of a special slip-up.

(See also My Search for Relevance on LinkedIn, on search-relevance deficiencies, posted in March 2014; my April 2014 via-Twitter reporting of incorrect rendering of HTML character entities, here and here, since fixed although a very similar error in LinkedIn e-mail notifications remains unresolved; a February 2013 Twitter thread about the lack of needed LinkedIn profile spell-checking — do a LinkedIn search on “analtics” (missing Y) and you’ll see what I mean; and my July 2012 LinkedIn, Please Take on Group Spammers, still very much an issue. And the flawed algorithm I reported in my July 2014 article, LinkedIn Misconnects Show That Automated Matching is Hard, remains uncorrected.)

So what’s new?

How Many Moderation Items?


LinkedIn groups are a great feature. I belong to quite a few, and I moderate several.

Check out the moderation screen to the right. The Discussions tab is displayed, indicating 35 items in the Submissions Queue pending approval — the same number is shown next to the Manage menu-bar item — except we don’t see any pending discussion submissions, do we? We do, however, see a tick box next to… nothing.

Counting bug #1.

Actually, I can explain this error. LinkedIn provides group moderators a Block & Delete option under the Change Permissions drop down, as shown in the right-middle of my shot. A diligent moderator will use it to ban group members who repeatedly submit off-topic content. I’ve used Block & Delete. Each time I use it, while the submitted items disappear, they’re still being counted. My guess is that they’re still in LinkedIn’s database, but now flagged with a “blocked” status.

So we have a bad counting query that can be easily fixed. All LinkedIn Engineering has to do is add a condition — if in SQL, in the WHERE clause — so that only non-blocked moderation entries are counted.

How Many Connection Requests?

LinkedInAmyx1Counting error #2 involves connections requests. It’s a two-fer — two errors, actually. I can’t explain them, but I can show them and describe them.

First, check out the Inbox image, which shows a connection invitation that I’ve already accepted. Note the “1st” next to the person’s name. The second image confirms that he and I are connected. Look closely at his profile and you will see “Connected 1 day ago.”

LinkedInAmyxThe second image also the drop-down under “Add Connections,” which, again erroneously, shows a pending connection invitation from the person I’m already connected to.

But that’s not all! Did you notice the little plus-person icon in the upper-right of each of those screens? Did you notice the number displayed in a red background? It’s 3. Now, how many connection requests do you see under Invitations in the drop-down of the second image. I see 2.

Counting error #2.

LinkedIn ad placeholder


And finally, a lagniappe, an extra for those who have read this far. Check out the item under “Ads You May Be Interested In” in the image to the right


A Loyal, Paying User

Finally, let me reassert that I am a loyal, paying LinkedIn user. Did you notice the word “premium” next to the “in” logo in the screenshots I posted?

There’s always room for improvement, and of course, LinkedIn capabilities have advanced light years since I wrote, in InformationWeek in 2004, “LinkedIn is the only social-networking system I looked at that currently deserves enterprise consideration.” Myself, I may be a more astute industry analyst and better writer now, in 2015, than I was then. Here’s to progress!! … and also to getting even the little things right.

About the Author

Seth Grimes
Seth Grimes is the leading industry analyst covering natural language processing (NLP), text analytics, and sentiment analysis technologies and their business applications. He consults via Alta Plana Corporation and organizes the Sentiment Analysis Symposium and LT-Accelerate conferences.
  • Maryam Marjan

    Check out this latest error on LinkedIn: When I trying to share an update into a group, you can see the unending boxes that keep getting built up probably due to an infintive loop!

  • I’m hearing your pain Seth, I am the Admin for a large LinkedIn Group and there are 500 pending members and growing, an the official response from LinkedIn is;

    “We’ve confirmed the problem you reported, and after careful assessment, I would like to inform you that we will not be moving forward with a fix at this time.”

    I am also a premium member and I’m sad to say that this bug is incredibly frustrating.. It tarnishes me as an admin, as there is no way for me to contact pending members :-(

    Please please please LinkedIn help!

  • IrinaShamaeva

    and here’s a fun screenshot

  • IrinaShamaeva

    The “Contacts” functionality is ALL broken, nobody can sync or import from any of the multiple listed sources. :( Several more major bugs are described here: “What Doesn’t Work on LinkedIn” – – and there are several comments listing even more bugs at the post.

  • Richard Eng

    I’ve encountered a recent “counting” bug, too. If you are logged into LinkedIn, a discussion group’s comments may show duplicate comments. If you are not logged in, then it’s normal. Note that it’s not actually a counting bug – the count number is correct – but the listing of comments shows duplicates. LinkedIn is so frustrating. Before this, I encountered another bug: the “hero” image would occasionally disappear, replaced by a tiny placeholder image, and I would have to delete and re-upload the hero image. At least, LinkedIn acknowledged this bug to me.

  • Taylor- Freeman Student

    Thanks for sharing. As an avid LinkedIn user, I’ve definitely noticed these bugs, as well as other functionalities that have been down. Just last week, I was unable to logout of my account using a Google Chrome browser- very frustrating! I do think LinkedIn will step up their game in 2015 and fix several glitches in the system. They’ve got a large (hopefully bright) team there that seem promising!

  • Steph

    From a recruiters perspective, there are at least 10 functionalities that aren’t working right now. It’s incredibly frustrating, and they don’t seem to care at all.

  • How about the fact that they show dates as “Days Ago” or if further out, “Months Ago.” This is a total pain in the ass when trying to analyze company pages that you don’t manage – everything has to be manually edited in Excel.

    Additionally I think LinkedIn is missing out on a huge opportunity to open its API to social measurement platforms. There are a ton of comments and conversations happening all over LinkedIn, but there is no way for marketers to turn this information into insights. Until they do somethinag on this front, their content platform will lag behind the likes of Twitter and Facebook.


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