The bug report thread

Because we don’t seem to have a general purpose one, I’m making one right now, right here.

See the new theme? It’s a bit buggy. We want to hammer everything flat and put a coat of gloss before the rest of the network is subjected to it. What do you think?

The top menu and “chiclets” (social networking icons — Facebook and RSS) need some work yet, as do some CSS bits and bobs. Also want to get a Dashboard / Log In link up there somewhere. See anything that’s just plain not working as it should? Say so now.


  1. Rowan says

    The list of the other blogs on the network is way down on the page, that and the sitewide ‘recent’ section (which I’m assuming you already know isn’t working) are how I generally navigate FTB.

    And theres a “Last 20 comments” and a recent comments thing (granted the ‘recent’ one only shows like 5), but I think the Last 20 comments part takes up too much space [maybe if possible have it be collapsable?], and has no preview of the comment [would be nice if you could mouse over it and get a tooltip or something with the first couple lines.]

  2. says

    Rowan: that Last 20 is a unique widget on my blog. In fact, widget placement on my blog is atypical of the rest of the network — I was mostly enabling a bunch of stuff to see how it would all look in the new theme. Placement can be rearranged on a per-blog basis for some of it. Some is fixed on the network (ads, events, a few must-have widgets like About the Author). It will almost certainly be rearranged before go-live.

    But yes, we could maybe add “optional collapsible headers” to the theme wishlist. Of course, we’d have to specify which ones you could collapse, and it would probably only store your settings if you’re logged in.

  3. Lassi Hippeläinen says

    I see you haven’t been thinking about mobile users with their small screens…
    * The font is too small. Many sites offer three sizes to select from, and store the selection in a cookie.
    * Fixed width pages are bad. Let the browser worry about mapping the page to the screen.
    * The page is too long. For me, the list of other blogs in FtB is just waste of electrons. Try making it collapsible.

  4. Kate Donovan says

    I like it, and it seems to be fully compatible with the screen-reader I’m using (WebAnywhere)!
    Something has gone wonky with your name in the twitter widget though. It looks like it’s…repeatedly printed and fuzzy?

  5. says

    Lassi: a mobile theme is coming (hopefully soon). What device are you using?

    Font sizes might be handled by the browser, or might be something we could add to the theme and saved by cookie, yes. There are plugins that do just that.

    And again, the length of my sidebar is atypical.

  6. Rodney Nelson says

    As with others, my objections are the small size of the letters and the list of FTB blogs (something I consider to be indispensible) is too far down the page.

  7. jaxkayaker says

    Not a bug report, but a suggestion: network readability would be improved, in my opinion, by having an access page which had blog posts from all network members in the chronological order that they were posted, irrespective of which individual member of the network posted them, instead of accessing blog posts by each individual blog on the network.

  8. says

    jaxkayaker: there’s a front page being developed that will (hopefully) include exactly such a page, like the SB “Last 24 Hrs” deal.

    Funny that nobody’s mentioned the missing comment numbers yet.

  9. says

    Matt’s suggested to me that the parent theme to this might actually be setting the font sizes to the browser default. If that’s the case, then the font sizes stay for accessibility reasons (and because, to someone else’s point, fixing them to a point size is a bad bad idea).

  10. A. Noyd says

    Testing out the linking feature. I was going to mention the lack of comment numbers, but if there is a way to link to other replies, especially if multiple links can be included in each reply, I suppose they’re not strictly necessary.

  11. A. Noyd says

    Apparently the linking feature needs some tweaking since it’s currently doing nothing. I thought my Firefox addons might be killing it, but I tried posting this reply from Internet Explorer and didn’t see any link in the preview. And that brings me to another issue—I wasn’t actually able to post this from IE because it thinks I’m an imposter and wants me to log in. However, I can’t find a way to do that. (Luckily, I was already logged in through Firefox.)

    Also, the preview button is cut in half for some reason.

  12. Lassi Hippeläinen says

    “What device are you using?”

    Either a Galaxy Nexus or an ancient Acer One netbook. In both cases running Firefox.

    And thanks for the promised 24h feed. I’ve been missing it a lot.

  13. machintelligence says

    OK I like comment numbers — as long as they are fixed. Ones that change as comments are added above them are useless (Libby Anne’s blog at Patheos has that problem). You don’t use nested comments, and I approve.
    I will need to reset the font size for my old eyeballs. No opinion yet on linked replies.

  14. carlie says

    Trying not to hyperventilate…

    Comment numbers should be there – that’s one of the only ways to remember where you were in reading when you come back later.

    Overall layout – on my laptop, the first actual post is now more than halfway down the page – probably about at the 25% mark on height. That’s way too much space being taken up by the headers and ads. I know it’s FreeThoughtBlogs – I don’t need 4 square inches of my 14 inch screen taken up by the logo.

  15. maxdwolf says

    It’s not as ugly as the old style and the new comments format is an improvement, but I don’t like the font. The preview button is broken for me. Recent FtB posts missing is going to cut down on traffic from me. I don’t care about “top” posts, however you define it.

  16. jaxkayaker says

    @ Jason @ 2:33″

    Good to hear. I hope you’ll also be keeping the blog-by-blog option for flexibility of readers.

    I, for one, would be glad to be rid of comment numbers, since many don’t seem to realize that a comment’s number can change, making reference to a comment by its number largely useless. Also, threaded comments delenda est.

    What would be useful is a “reply to” button which, instead of threading a reply comment in, would automatically link to or quote a comment (or both).

    The preview button is smaller than the submit comment button, and truncated. Hyperlinks might be gakked, if my preview of my comment is any indication.

  17. khms says

    Another vote for comment numbers, preferably never changing ones.

    The theme thinks it has more horizontal space than it actually has. Please, never assume you have a certain number of points. If you need to make assumptions, use percentages.

    But really, the comment column could easily be narrower, so there won’t be need for a horizontal scrollbar. My available space is approximately 1325×980 – surely that should be more than enough?

    “Contact me via” … RSS?!

    Oh, and it would be nice to finally have an easy way to invoke PZ’s Gumby in comments.

    Preview button is still half obscured by preview instruction.

    foobar aoh rd ip o uogi oios oi oieu oiroi esoi oiu oiesu rotiuerori uoireoir uoise uoi oir iportipott kjdrhg oöi ori uzoir itz ijit joltzoi top ori oi oi iuru oi p po toi toie leruilulzu ri zrit i oir oir oiu oidr uoi uzoit rzoir tuiot

    Ugh. Blockquotes are really ugly. And I see that the cite=”” parameter still does nothing.

  18. says

    Fixed-width is an abomination against nature. Let me set that myself.

    The separator between stories on your main page is not strong enough graphically. Could be a thick bar or more whitespace. Right now the stories kind of run together.

    The bottom of the Preview button is cut off by the Click the "Preview" button... text on Chrome 23.0.1271.64 on OS X 10.7 at least.

    The Notify me of… checkboxes are not aligned, and the first one is larger than the second.

  19. carlie says

    Everything seems to look better for me on ipod touch – banners are much smaller proportionally, and I’m not seeing any scaling problems with horizontal size (no more so than on the old layout)

  20. chezjake says

    If you are going to let users choose font size (an excellent idea), please also let us choose font (or at least serif or sans-serif). I am much less likely to read any blog that makes me read a sans-serif font – my old eyes are simply uncomfortable with sans-serif

    I’m in favor of numbering comments, but also like the idea of linking to comments.

  21. Cuttlefish says

    Although you do have a “home” tab up at the top, the banner itself does not link to your home page, which it does on the rest of the FtB sites. Just a matter of convenience.

  22. says

    A. Noyd – it’s apparently not a linking feature, it’s just a hyperlink to that specific comment. Like on the old theme, the date/time link. Back on my domain, I used to have a “reply” button that hyperlinked and blockquoted the comment — it can be done, certainly. Might need to build some JS to do it though, because I don’t think we want to grab any more random plugins for WordPress that we didn’t build ourselves.

    khms: the Contact Me box is my own custom HTML, not a site thing. Now that there’s an RSS chiclet for the current site on the top, as soon as the theme is rolled out, I’ll be removing that RSS button in that box.

    I’m thinking of suggesting that the post bodies and comment bodies get switched to a serif font, but everything else stays sans-serif. We’ll see what the decision-makers say. :)

    All these suggestions are great, keep ’em coming.

  23. Amarantha says

    No, apparently it succeeded after all (apologies for double-post), but gave me the following error messages:

    “Warning: Cannot modify header information – headers already sent by (output started at /home/newfreet/public_html/wp-content/themes/ftb-theme/functions.php:113) in /home/newfreet/public_html/wp-content/plugins/jetpack/modules/subscriptions.php on line 502

    Warning: Cannot modify header information – headers already sent by (output started at /home/newfreet/public_html/wp-content/themes/ftb-theme/functions.php:113) in /home/newfreet/public_html/wp-content/plugins/jetpack/modules/subscriptions.php on line 507

    Warning: Cannot modify header information – headers already sent by (output started at /home/newfreet/public_html/wp-content/themes/ftb-theme/functions.php:113) in /home/newfreet/public_html/wp-includes/pluggable.php on line 881”

    Also, my paragraph breaks showed up in the preview as single line-breaks, but showed correctly in the actual post.

  24. says

    Yeah, that’s just one of the three bugs we have open on the preview plugin right now. The button’s chopped off, and hyperlinks don’t even work correctly. Hopefully we’ll either sort out why “preview” is nothing like an actual preview, ASAP.

  25. says

    Graphene was overriding the browser settings on the font, which Matt fixed. However, then the fonts were enormous under the default settings, so he bumped them down a bit from there. How’s this look?

  26. says

    I don’t like changes, but I get used to them, and how/what/where differences are just something I’ll cope with and acclimate to, but I hate the font. I’m not going to try to parse out if it’s a sans/serif thing or not, but the letters seem too tall for the space between lines, and the paragraph breaks are too small. Everything just looks like a mess. The dark outline around the main text part of the page is also making this crowded text business seem even more claustrophobic.

    Another issue of the spacing is that right below the end of the article, where the buttons and things appear… it’s way too close. So close that it almost looks like the next line is stuck somewhere inside a scrolling kind of frame feature and it’s distracting.

    The paragraph indenting inside block quotes is strange, especially with paragraphs also being distinguished with line breaks.

    The post about the IUD with all the Twitter pics in it was a nightmare to read. The tweet screen caps are gigantic, and the giant black border around them is obnoxious, and the text in between hard to spot. I am unsure where the fading in from the left part of the black border around the tweets comes from (is that an artifact of the redesign or of the Twitter account?) but it functioned basically like glare on a reflective surface and absolutely affected (in a bad way) my ability to take in the words of the post. it took a lot of effort to read and I just plain gave up. And I really don’t think it was because there were a lot of twitter things in it. I’m sure I’ve read posts like that on this network in the past with no problems.

    And yes–comment numbers that never change are a must.

    And now I’m just being tactless and ungrateful, and maybe the process just isn’t complete, but if there’s a move to reds and grays in the logos and the general theme of the page, why are all the links and comment backgrounds and submit buttons and post tags in blue? Is that one of those author preferences? Neither color scheme on its own is bad, but together they are fighting for attention and adds to the feeling of noise.

  27. fwtbc says

    Another change averse person here. I use screen readers and other accessibility tools, though.

    I use greasemonkey to remove a lot of extraneous stuff, and with most wordpress blogs this can be done easily by removing everything except the “content” div.

    With this new theme, there’s a lot of non-essential stuff after teh comments, but still within the id=”content” div. I can probably fix this myself, but if it’s possible to move that extra stuff outside of the content div, that’d go a long way, and if not, if you can make sure divs that represent different blocks on the page have unique id’s, then that makes it really easy for me to make them just disappear so my screen reader doesn’t have to deal with them.

  28. Really Se Habla Espol says

    A clue for those who prefer substance over style:
    In Firefox, I click View → Page Sty → No Style.
    I get to see
      — Comment numbers.
      — Font that’s big enough to read.
      — No horizontal scroll bar – the browser fits the text to the width, like HTML was designed for.
      — The right-side bar is at the end of everything. The ads are around here somewhere, but if you give me a choice between usable substance (No Style) or unusable substance (this style), I’ll take usable substance, thank you.
    The Preview button doesn’t seem to work, though, style or not. I’ve had to go back to Basic Page Style to submit. It still doesn’t work. The error message says that my info (Name and Email) match a registered user: that’s OK, it does do that. But the Connect With links don’t work, so I can’t log in.

  29. Really Se Habla Espol says

    The <p> tags don’t seem to work — all my paragraphs run together. I notice that paragraphing is not listed in the allowable-tags listing. Since <br> seems to work (although it’s not listed), let’s see if I can fake <p> with double <br>s>
    The <u> tag doesn’t work: that’s why my previous comment doesn’t have the proper underlining under the keyboard shortcuts. (I may have messed up a </u> tag, explaining why the word ‘Style’ was cut off. Preview would have let me catch it, but since Preview wouldn’t work for me …)
    I still read one of the ScienceBlogs blogs. Since NatGeo has ‘improved’ their blogging software, it’s painful to read RI and the other Pharyngula there. Please don’t be tempted to make similar ‘improvements’ here.

  30. Rob says

    Comment numbers please.
    Had trouble logging in through WordPress. It insisted on a URL rather than username/password.
    Running FF16 under Win7 the main article text is very heavy, but the comment text is fine.
    Running Safari under iOS6 text is fine, although at the limit of readability for me first thing in the am!
    White shadowing under headers on the RHS of the screen looks fugly and reduces readability.

  31. Really Se Habla Espol says

    OKI, the double <br> don’t give proper paragraphing. Let’s try <br>&nbsp:<br>. <br>&nbsp:<br>
    It would certainly help if the ‘improvements’ were substance-oriented rather than style-oriented: That would include allowing such basic html tags as <u>, <sub&gt and<sup>, as well as those features that others have mentioned.<br>&nbsp:<br>

  32. mildlymagnificent says

    Dan beat me to it.

    The font size would be OK if it weren’t so crammed between other lines (of whatever size). But I disagree with Dan on the ‘particularly in the comments’. I found the post itself difficult to read.

  33. mildlymagnificent says

    Why don’t you do a “Testing. Testing.” repost of a reasonable sized earlier post so everyone can have a side by side look to see what is better, the same, or worse than earlier. I know we’re all inclined to prefer the look of what we’re used to, but it’d be helpful to see exactly what makes the difference more or less appealing.

  34. mildlymagnificent says

    Just looking at how my comment came up, I can see one visual issue. Short sighted or long sighted people may have preferences in appearance of text. For those of us with astigmatism, crowding lines together is a very bad idea. (And no, reading glasses don’t eliminate those problems entirely. We need to concentrate to keep the lines clear and when we’re tired, that might not work wonderfully well.)

  35. rewarpsudo make install says

    Minor gripe. My Google+ name is [rewarp] [sudo make install]. For some reason it’s [rewarpsudo make install]. To be fair, this was a bug in the old design too.

    I don’t mind it too much. But it doesn’t quite give the right Linux command.

  36. says

    Where’s the option to log into your FTB account gone? (Mentioned in the OP that it’s gone missing; that forced me over to one of the other FTB blogs to be able to log in and be able to post this comment.) And san serif fonts are meh, but if that can be customised by the blog owner or using one’s blog options that’s liveable.

  37. The Real Mudpuddles says

    OK I just logged in, wrote a comment, and then when I hit “submit” I got a screen warning me that I was a possible imposter. Though I’m certain that I’m not. I’m fairly sure I am the real me.

    So I lost everything I had written, and hitting the “back” button was useless. So now I have logged in with a false handle (I am normally seen on this site as Mudpuddles)

    Anyway, my original comments were some small quibbles about aesthetics:

    I agree with others that comment number would be good.

    Also, the masthead is too big. Including the advert bar beneath it, it takes up 50% of the screen, top to bottom. Its best to have smaller mastheads for blogs as it keeps more of the info people want to see (i.e. blog content) in one screen without the need to scroll too soon.

    Also, the “About the Author” bit is too far down the screen. People who stumble across the blog or who follow links to it syhould ot have to hunt for the bio of the blog author.

    The Lousy Canuck banner image is slightly pixelated – it was nice and smooth in the earlier design.

    Also, the whole screen seems a little crowded – like there is too much happening from the beginning. Neat is better – you’ll keep your regulars, but newcomers might be turned off, especially if they’re used to neater blogs.

  38. says

    My sidebar is kinda messed up right now — all the widgets are in the wrong sidebar, the Campaign sidebar which defaults to the top, above some common sitewide widgets like About The Author. This is already an open bug on our tracker. It’ll get rearranged and cleaned up before launch.

    Paragraph breaks can be achieved by simply hitting enter twice in comments — no need for HTML. However, unless there’s ways to break the site by using HTML, I wouldn’t mind including those bits of HTML code as allowed, to give users more flexibility. However, you’re right in that it looks like they don’t render correctly in my tests. I’ve opened a bug for it as well.

    The Preview button is no longer cut off, but the preview it shows is still not a good approximation of what the comment will look like. Hyperlinks become giant, and paragraph breaks don’t show up at all. I suspect the Ajax plugin we’re using is placing the comment preview in the wrong place in the HTML and that it needs to be wrapped in a div like each comment to pick up the right CSS.

    I’m going to see about getting the login and dashboard links as soon as possible. For the time being, the tricks for getting to the login and dashboard screens are as follows: try [blogurl]/wp-admin/ for dashboard, [blogurl]/wp-login.php for the login screen. For instance, for my blog, they’d be Dashboard and Login.

  39. bruceh says

    My biggest issue is the line spacing, which is too narrow. Descenders and ascenders meet in the middle and paragraphs end up looking jumbled and disorganized. I think, in the style.css body section, it would help a lot if you set the following:

    font-family: Arial, Verdana, sans-serif;
    font-size: 1em;
    line-height: 1.5em;

    Note the use of em instead of px. This allows greater flexibility to the browser, and should help address the font-size issues.

  40. evilDoug says

    Perhaps the font and line spacing problems have already been, fixed, but I have no problem with line height, and I can almost read the text at 100% zoom on my web browsing monitor, which is about a metre from my face – and my vision is generally pretty bad. In general, I find sans fonts easier to read. (I’m using Firefox 16).

    I have been on lots of web sites that allow setting comment or feedback font modifiers such as italic, bold, etc. simply by selecting the text and clicking the appropriate button, which is very convenient.
    I would support going back to the old way (maybe that goes all the way back to ScienceBlogs) of auto-creation of links in comments – paste your dubdubdub… [looks like that may be happening here already, if preview is to be believed, which is why I used dubdubdub ] and it makes a proper link of it. It saves the awkward (and what HTML isn’t?) code for making a link. It does prevent “burying” the link in a word or phrase, but I prefer that. Since the actual link is usually displayed in tiny text by the browser, regardless of page display zoom level, you don’t know where you are going unless you read the fine print or follow the link to FSM knows where. I’m leery of all links chez Ed Brayton, since he is given to making links to horrible places like WND.

    Let me try two variants of a link, first just pasting, then with href code:
    (looks a total mess in preview)

    Though I can see drawbacks to it, allowing commenters to edit their comments after posting (with an auto-added “Edit by author at … tag) would be nice.

    The only way I could get this to post was to log in on Ed’s blog. The direct route kept telling me that I’m an impostor. (unposter?). Fortunately I saved my “work” using my AutoHotkey instant-popup minieditor.

    As an aside, I do find lots of web pages hard to read, so zooming in and out is useful. My keyboard is often out of reach when I’m browsing, so I use good old AutoHotkey (everyone who runs Windows uses AHK, don’t they?) so I can zoom by holding down the right mouse button and using the scroll wheel.

    AutoHotkey code:

    #IfWinActive ahk_class MozillaWindowClass

    ;seems to require some delay after sending control down
    RButton & WheelDown::
    send, {ctrl down}
    sleep, 1
    send, {WheelDown}
    sleep, 1
    send, {ctrl up}

    RButton & WheelUp::
    send, {ctrl down}
    sleep, 1
    send, {WheelUp}
    sleep, 1
    send, {ctrl up}

    The pop-up mini-editor I mentioned takes about 40 lines of AHK code.

  41. evilDoug says

    Both links look OK.
    AHK code had leading spaces on most lines – these were eaten, but that isn’t a big deal – seems to be virtually universal that indentation of any sort is “impossible”.

  42. evilDoug says

    A little hook with comment numbers if the blog owner holds comments for moderation:

    I have seen cases where a comment released from hold is inserted into the comment stream based on the time it was originally submitted. The numbering code the renumbers all comments that follow, which can be horribly confusing if you cite Cinerella @ #36 and the Satan’s comment submitted before her’s gets released and Cindy gets renumbered to 37.
    The only way I can see for avoiding this is code to insert
    “33 Satan’s comment is being held pending moderator review”
    or something like that.

  43. bruceh says

    Here’s a screen shot of the article section when viewed in Chrome (Version 23.0.1271.64 m) on Win7 (64bit).

    It looks fine in Firefox. I haven’t (and won’t unless asked) tested using IE.

  44. StevoR says

    Sorry but I gotta say I preferred the old look.

    Minor thing but the new logo , just looks like a ‘T’ inside a ‘B’ with the ‘F’ kinda disappearing and I can imagine our critics making lost of cheap shots about the “free” part apparently being dropped. Think you have to make the ‘F’ clearer!

    Not sure why you’re feeling it necessary to change – the FTB blog style / format was fine as it was in my view.

    Let’s avoid any new coke or vegemite 2.0 type stuff ups here shall we hey?

  45. Alverant says

    I miss the FTB Recent Posts list. It’s how I navigate around and saves me from having to check a half dozen blogs for new content. Please fix/add it.

  46. Rodney Nelson says

    I just noticed that Firefox killfile doesn’t work here. I just checked and it’s working for me at Butterflies & Wheels and Pharyngula.

  47. says

    It looks like that plugin is broken under this theme — see the “Sitewide Tab”? That should be the tabbed version of the widget right above it. I don’t think there’s a bug open for it now, but I’ll check / open if necessary.

  48. says

    Rodney: that’s the Greasemonkey script packaged into a Firefox plugin, right? Sadly, they’ll have to update the way it parses comments out of the theme, to match the new style’s divs. Shouldn’t take them long though, they’re not that much different.

  49. garnetstar says

    I think the move to sans-serif is a bad one. Those are graphics fonts, meant to impact the eye as one picture, and make it harder to read blocks of text.

    The serifs guide your eye along the line of text and facilitate reading: that’s why newspapers use them. I’m already finding it more difficult to read the posts, and the font is too large as well.

    The sans-serif font should be used wherever you want a graphics-type effect: sidebars, banner, etc. But the titles and bodies of the posts should be in a font that’s meant to be read.

  50. khms says

    Jason Thibeault:

    Rodney: that’s the Greasemonkey script packaged into a Firefox plugin, right?

    What plugin is that?

    I’m currently using plonk4wp, which mostly works but seems also broken by the new theme.

  51. says

    I’m thinking Matt’s been messing more with the fonts today — I can see the line spacing is increased in the text, and once upon a time, the blockquotes included first-line indents and were much smaller font-sizes.

  52. says

    I just checked it out side-by-side — while the logo is indeed very much larger than the old one, it also takes up more of the horizontal space and pushes everything to the right on this theme. As a result, while it looks ginormous comparitively, it only pushes down the top of the first post about 10-ish px.

  53. sugarfrosted says

    Not really a bug report, but I’m not a fan of the horizontal space for text. Ut’s a little long, so when I try to view the site with my phone I have to scroll to read an entire line. Just kind of inconvenient.

  54. BCat70 says

    I think the site would be better if your logo was still the ‘home’ button instead of having that tiny home tab waaaaay up top like that.

  55. says

    BCat70: it should be, right now anyway. It wasn’t at initial roll-out but that bug’s been squished. My banner takes you to the main blog, and the FtB logo takes you to the network home.

  56. Kimbeaux says

    Not a bug, but a request: would you please bring back the Previous post/Next post links? It would be especially lovely to have them at the top, as well as between blog and comments. I use these quite a bit to navigate through blogs. Thanks!

  57. says

    My blog isn’t representative of the overall theme any more, unfortunately. I’ve used CSS to increase the size and move the next/previous down some, to give it some visual separation from the ad.

    I’ve also changed the font to Gothic/Times/Serif for the comments and post body, and the comment numbering floats right and is large and grey. These are all modifications on the main theme that won’t show up elsewhere unless they steal the CSS for themselves. Giving us authors the rights to edit our CSS might have been a bad idea. :)

  58. danderberg says

    Adding links in comments seems to screw up the preview (site wide, not only here).
    A simple

    A <a href=””>B</a> C

    generates a “A C” and a big floating B and messed up indentation. The submitted comment is ok, only the preview is bad.
    [Firefox 17.0.1 under Ubuntu 12.04 LTS]

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