Friday, February 06, 2015

Solving commenting problems

Today, I solved problems with commenting on this blog, and it was a family affair. Which is appropriate, really. Mainly, though, I’m just glad to finally find out why the problems were happening, and to end them.

Last month, I published a post, “How to comment”, which I did to deal with a particular problem, namely, that the way to comment isn’t necessarily as obvious as I think it should be. I don’t know whether that post helped anyone or not, but it at least explained what to do.

However, there was a larger problem that my January post couldn’t help.

My sister sent me an email last week, and at the end, she added, almost incidentally, “By the way, I still can't comment on your blog site without signing up first in order to gain access.” This confused me, understandably, because no one needs to register for anything in order to comment.

So, my sister sent me a screen capture of what she saw, and it turned out to be the log in to Blogger itself, and the reason she saw that was that since the Disqus element didn’t appear at all, she clicked on what is actually a way for the blog author (me) to log in to edit the post. This told me the problem was that Disqus wasn’t loading, and then all I needed to do was solve it.

It turns out, the problem was with the HTML code in the template for this blog. The photo below is from the Disqus help pages:

Step one isn’t actually current. Here’s how that step actually works: First, I click on “Design” in the upper right of my blog (this only works if I’m signed in, which I almost always am). At the top of the page that opens is the stuff relating to the Template. Under a thumbnail of the blog is a button “Edit HTML”. From there. the steps on the Disqus help page I linked to above. The code in question will be near the top.

The bad code was forcing Internet Explorer to emulate IE7, and Disqus only works on IE8 or later. So, anyone who used IE—even the most recent version—saw the page as if they used IE7, and that, in turn, meant that any reader who used Internet Explorer almost certainly was similarly unable to comment.

After I changed the code, my sister was FINALLY able to comment. I had quite a sense of accomplishment, of course, and it was all thanks to my sister helping me get to the heart of the problem so I could fix it.

I should note that this problem is largely unique to Blogger. Google doesn’t automatically update templates, and doesn’t exactly go out of its way to let users know that there are things needing updates. Wordpress, on the other hand, has automatic updates, which is a very strong advantage over Blogger.

In any case, a problem I wasn’t easily able to define before, is now fixed. Hopefully, anyone who wants to will now be able to comment. Thanks, sis! (and that’s funny because I don’t actually call her that…)


rogerogreen said...

Our international nightmare is over! Seriously, it loaded better for me today, which may be a benefit of your fix, or coincidence.

Arthur (AmeriNZ) said...

Yes, it's a new day! Seriously, you and some others had mentioned problems, and one or two ABC Wednesday folks said they weren't able to comment. But, as you know, I was having trouble working out WHAT, exactly, the problem was. I think this was probably it.

The Disqus help pages seemed to suggest that IE users can change their own settings to prevent emulation, though I'm not certain that's what they meant. In any case, it's possible your browser was overriding the code in the template, or trying to.

At any rate, now I can focus on whatever the next problem is…

sis said...

Glad it works. It was rather fun helping to trouble shoot from this side of the world to yours. It's good others get comment now, too. Good job, Bro!! I don't call you that either. ;-)

rogerogreen said...

The other positive is that it now shows how many comments have been left, which had been often invisible.

Arthur (AmeriNZ) said...

All things I didn't know before…

Arthur (AmeriNZ) said...

Thanks—for proving it's really fixed! ;-)