Tuesday, July 14, 2020

I broke this blog – again

I managed to break this blog—yet again. It started yesterday, I discovered it today, then, in trying to fix it, I made things far worse. Technology!

Yesterday, when I posted the new badges for my grief journey, I accidentally deleted a widget to make my blog use Disqus for commenting, rather than the inbuilt commenting system from Google's Blogger. I only found that out this morning when I went to fix a typo and wanted to see the comment that Roger Green left. That's when I found out it was using the old Blogger commenting system again.

For recent readers, I switched to Disqus in the first place because I got sick of dealing with the constant barrage of spam comments. In fact, even now, there are more than a thousand spam comments waiting to be deleted (somehow, spammers got past Disqus to post directly in Blogger, even though I wasn't using it.

One big advantage of Disqus is that it allows users to edit their comments, something that's handy for me (I always correct typos when I find them, no matter how old they are). It also allows easy formatting of text in comments (like Italic, Bold, etc).

Google hasn't done much to improve Blogger for years, and the old commenting system has been neglected for as long as I've had a blog—13 years this year. Maybe the "new Blogegr" fixes some of the issues? I don't know because when Blogger defaulted to the new version on July 7, I immediately went back to the old one—the new one was truly awful and very user un-friendly.

When I realised the blog was borked and Disqus was gone, I tried to fix it. However, the help pages for Disqus were about as useless as Google's normally are, and no amount of—ahem—Googling gave me any answer. I tried editing the HTML code for the blog, but that didn't work.

One suggestion from Disqus was to, basically, nuke all the gadgets—put them back to their default setting. Nothing else had worked, so with a "what do I have to lose?" attitude, I thought, why not?

It turned out, I really should have made a back-up first.

When I nuked the gadgets, it killed the one I had that made so all my Labels displayed as a drop-down menu instead of a list. I did that so very long ago that I couldn't find the HTML code I used to place it on my blog (if I ever saved it at all). I tried to find it, or different one, again, with no success.

After my attempts to "fix" the blog, I ended up with a two-bit commenting system and a long list of Labels (with my carefully crafted "Subject Badges" at the bottom. In other words, the blog has gone back many, many, many years in the past. Who says time travel is impossible?

I'll continue to try and fix the Label issue, but if I can't I'll switch it off completely, and maybe also add a couple more Subject Badges in its place. The commenting problem may be unfixable, though. Maybe if I change themes or something I can fix the code then. Or, maybe I can break something else.

I have zero tolerance for frustration right now, and I yelled out more than a few "naughty" words along the way. I also thought that maybe it was time to just end the blog altogether. I'm clearly struggling to post, and the page loads are pretty consistent, leading me to think that most of the "readers" are actually bots and webcrawlers, not real people. If I'm having trouble blogging, and hardly anyone is reading it when I do, well, what's the point?

The answer to that question is, "good question!", and it's one I don't have an answer for. I may continue, or I may stop (though if I do stop I'll announce it here first). While I can't handle frustration right now, I don't want it at any time, not when I'm doing this all for free.

I'll fix the blog problems as best I can in the days ahead, but, as the record shows, it'll take me awhile to decide on whether I'll continue the blog or not. If I do, at some point I'd put real focus on it to see if I can make it a bit more read than it is. It was at that point I thought to myself that maybe I should just start over, with a totally new blog.

None of those thoughts are new, of course (I've talked about them before), but this time they were all motivated by the fact that I managed to break this blog yet again. I do feel like I'm kind of getting over this sort of thing, and all the mostly self-inflicted destruction. But that, too, is part of using technology.

Update – July 15: I moved the long list of Labels to the bottom of the left hand side, and renamed it "All Labels/Tags". I can live with that.


Roger Owen Green said...

My blog went down for 28 hours on July 4, 5, totally out of my control. I watched three Marvel movies because I tired of checking the blog every 10 minutes.

Arthur Schenck said...

I've managed to break every site I've had. This is just the first time I couldn't fix it. 🤷🏻‍♂️