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Some Known Issues With The New Techdirt

Well, that’s a wrap on our first week with Techdirt running on WordPress. Overall things have been working pretty well, but as expected there have also been several issues and some things that need improvement. We’ve been tracking user feedback in the comments and via the contact form, and I want to assure everyone that we’re working through the list as quickly as we can! Today, I want to share a few of the issues that we know about and are currently working on. This is not an exhaustive list, so if you don’t see something here that you’ve been concerned about, don’t worry — that doesn’t mean we aren’t aware of it!

  • Character and line break problems in posts: We know that we’re experiencing various text formatting and display problems throughout the site, especially on older posts but sometimes on new ones as well. You’ve probably noticed some ? characters and unnecessary line breaks. We’re slowly tackling this issue, moving through old content with some fix-up scripts (but not rushing, since there is the potential for breaking formatting in other ways) and examining what’s causing it with new posts.
  • Problems with older comments: Some comment sections on older posts have issues with how the replies are threaded, and some have missing Insightful/Funny votes and badges. Also, some users have noticed that there are gaps in the record of comments on their profile page. None of this data has been lost, some of it just hasn’t been tabulated correctly in the new database, and we’re working on getting all of these issues resolved.
  • Comment notification emails: Currently, users who subscribe to email notifications for new comments on a post are receiving emails about their own comments, or about phantom comments that don’t show up on the post. We have a fix ready to deploy soon, so these problems shouldn’t last much longer.
  • User preferences and cookies: Users without accounts are having trouble getting their preferences to save, and some users are repeatedly seeing the cookie permission popup. These issues are related, and a fix is almost ready to deploy.
  • Missing memberships: A small number of users have found that their active membership subscriptions did not transfer to the new site. Absolutely no membership or transaction data has been lost, just in some cases it was not properly associated with the account. We’re working to fix all such instances automatically, but if you are impacted by this, let us know and we’ll take care of it right away. If you receive a membership activation email for a missing membership, clicking the link it contains should restore your subscription features (however this also should not be necessary, as we are trying to fix all these memberships in the database, so don’t worry if you miss such an email).
  • The Comment Scrubber: Reactions to the new “comment scrubber” have been mixed. Some of you feel, as we do, that it provides some great utility on longer comment threads; some are uncertain about it, and some simply do not like it. Also, people who use the variable width option to view the site are finding that it is positioned in such a way as to cover up content. We’ll be addressing this last issue first, then later adding a user preference allowing you to turn it off entirely if you don’t want to see it.
  • Lost account emails: This isn’t a bug, just an unfortunate bind that some of our users are in. If you no longer have access to the email address associated with your Techdirt account, then it is of course currently impossible to reset your password and continue using your account on the new site. We’re very close to having a solution for this (allowing you to log in to an archived version of the old site and update your email there, so we can confirm your ownership of the account and let you reset your password on the new site), but we are moving cautiously in order to be responsible about security and not give anyone’s account to the wrong person. Stay tuned for a post about this when it’s ready (and if you’ve reached out to us directly about losing account access, we will get in touch directly as well).

As noted, this is not everything we’re working on, but these are some of our top priorities at the moment. Incidentally, I’m also suffering from a migration issue myself: we haven’t yet completed the system for checking the weekly comment vote totals, which is why you’re reading this instead of the normal comments post! We’ll be back in business with the comment rankings before next Sunday, so the posts will return, and then moving forward we plan to explore some new possible features like live comment leaderboards. So keep those comments coming, and thanks to all our readers for your help and feedback — and your patience! — as we continue fixing and fine-tuning the new Techdirt.

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Author: Leigh Beadon

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