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    • CommentRowNumber1.
    • CommentAuthorUrs
    • CommentTimeApr 30th 2010
    • (edited Apr 30th 2010)

    There is a trap hidden here on the forum, and I wish to highlight it here, so that I don’t forget about it again (I ran into it a few times already), and that others are alerted of it. I think Zoran just recently mentioned the same problem:

    it happens to me that I compose a very long comment here, that takes me some time. Then when I finally hit “submit” the software thinks it might be better to check if I am still alive and tries to ask me to fill out a “recaptcha”. But sometimes, for some reason, all I see instead is an error screen that tells me that something went wrong with loading the recaptache page. But then, when that happens, the software will have entirely forgotten everything about the comment I just typed. It will be lost.

    Unless of course I made a security copy of it before hitting “submit”. Which I usually do. And thought I did with my last comment. But then noticed that I failed to do it properly. So now I have to retype it…

    • CommentRowNumber2.
    • CommentAuthorEric
    • CommentTimeApr 30th 2010

    gmail has an autosave feature. Is it possible to install something like that for the n-Forum?

    • CommentRowNumber3.
    • CommentAuthorUrs
    • CommentTimeApr 30th 2010

    On the nLab it also sometimes happens that after I hit “submit” I get just a blank screen with an error message. But there, I can just hit the “back” buttn in my browser and get back to the edit page with my latest edits still in place.

    • CommentRowNumber4.
    • CommentAuthorMike Shulman
    • CommentTimeApr 30th 2010

    I have never had this problem. Sometimes the software tells me “there was an error authenticating,” but then I can just click “submit” again and it works.

    • CommentRowNumber5.
    • CommentAuthorUrs
    • CommentTimeApr 30th 2010

    Aha, I see. I have this problem frequently.

    • CommentRowNumber6.
    • CommentAuthorAndrew Stacey
    • CommentTimeApr 30th 2010

    I don’t have access to the server logs here which would help a lot with debugging this …

    I don’t understand what you mean by a “recaptcha”? You should only see that when you’re logged out, and you should stay logged in at the least until you close your browser.

    Can you send me screenshots of your browser at the relevant times?

    Also, how long a time period are we talking about here, I mean from when you start composing your comment to when you hit “submit”.

    • CommentRowNumber7.
    • CommentAuthorUrs
    • CommentTimeApr 30th 2010

    I don’t have easy access to screenshots. I was editing for maybe 20 minutes. When I hit “submit” I got a yellow screen where in the top third in red letters a piece of half-human-readable XML-like code appears that contained the word “recaptcha” among other stuff. Isn’t that the piece of software that asks me to read an unreadable string of letters to check whether or not I am a bot?

    (And “half-human-readable” means “half-(human-readable)” not “(half-human)-readable”. :-)

    • CommentRowNumber8.
    • CommentAuthorTim_Porter
    • CommentTimeApr 30th 2010

    I have sometimes encountered similar problems.

    • CommentRowNumber9.
    • CommentAuthorAndrew Stacey
    • CommentTimeApr 30th 2010

    Okay, now we’re narrowing it down a bit!

    If you’re seeing actual XML code then there’s something that’s generating invalid XHTML and your browser is complaining about it. That’s actually a slightly different bug to that of losing comments and should also be easier to fix if I can track it down.

    If you’re editing for about 20 minutes then that might be the “session cookie” logging you out; I’ll need to read up on that, but basically there are two types of “cookie”: persistent ones and session ones. A session cookie is designed to die once the browser thinks you’ve lost interest in a site; it’s a bit imprecise, though, as there’s no real way to tell if you’ve gone away or have just been sitting staring at the screen for 20 minutes trying to understand something.

    Screenshots: what operating system are you using?

    • CommentRowNumber10.
    • CommentAuthorGuest
    • CommentTimeApr 30th 2010

    Right, so I saw it. That seems to be the source of the problem: your computer is logging you out.

    I’ve fixed the problem in the code that led to the weird XML. If this comment posts okay, then that also fixes the other issue because the first line above was written on the first attempt to submit (when I was logged out).

    • CommentRowNumber11.
    • CommentAuthorUrs
    • CommentTimeApr 30th 2010

    If you’re seeing actual XML code then there’s something that’s generating invalid XHTML and your browser is complaining about it.

    Yes, exactly, that’s what I should have said. Sorry.

    That’s actually a slightly different bug to that of losing comments

    Well, hm. It has precisely the effect for me that my comment is lost! :-)

    • CommentRowNumber12.
    • CommentAuthorAndrew Stacey
    • CommentTimeApr 30th 2010

    Ah, but I have to fix the bugs in the right order! For all I know, it’s the primary bug which causes all the others. Indeed, my one basic test shows this to be true. What should happens is:

    1. You start typing a comment when logged in.
    2. It takes so long that your computer thinks you’ve forgotten about this webpage and logs you out.
    3. You send your comment to the server.
    4. As you are logged out, it wants to know who you are so redirects to the “please log in” page; when it does this, it helpfully copies across your comment so that you don’t lose it.
    5. You log in, resubmit your comment, and all’s well.

    Except that at step 4, there was a bit of bad code leading to the XML error. So you never got to the relogin page and never saw that it was nicely saving your comment. I think that I’ve fixed that, so the rest should now work as before.

    (However, this has shown me that I don’t have the recaptcha thing installed properly)

    Incidentally, when you log in, do you click “remember me”? If so, you shouldn’t get logged out until you instruct your browser to delete all cookies (which you do when you close your browser, of course).

    • CommentRowNumber13.
    • CommentAuthorUrs
    • CommentTimeApr 30th 2010
    • (edited Apr 30th 2010)

    thanks, andrew, for looking into this, thanks a lot.

    Incidentally, when you log in, do you click “remember me”?

    i don’t use to do that, no. i guess i should

    • CommentRowNumber14.
    • CommentAuthorIan_Durham
    • CommentTimeMay 1st 2010

    I have had that problem but my browser keeps my comment in the window, for some reason, so I just copy it and repost it (I have a Mac and use Flock which is a Firefox derivative and is slightly buggy).