An in-depth look into forum bugs/issues and proposed solutions. Includes steps to reproduce.

An in-depth look into forum bugs/issues and proposed solutions. Includes steps to reproduce.

in Forum and Website Bugs

Posted by: TimeBomb.3427

TimeBomb.3427

Hey all. I’ve been both using and working with bulletin boards AKA forums in some fashion or another for the majority of both my personal and professional career as a software programmer.
Im going to look over, in detail, some of the bugs and issues that plague this forum. To do this, I’ll be doing a bit of QA on certain problematic areas in these forums to investigate exactly what is going on when these issues occur, and how to reproduce them. I’m also going to propose a solution for each issue.

Without further ado:

1) The thread pagination back button bug
p.Threads link to the thread name without any page specified.
URL Example: https://forum-en.guildwars2.com/forum/game/gw2/Lost-Shores-Dignified-anticipation

There is an inconsistency here: When first going to the thread, it shows the first page – but the URL does not change. But if you refresh the page, it redirects you to the last page, specifically the last post, ex: https://forum-en.guildwars2.com/forum/game/gw2/Lost-Shores-Dignified-anticipation/page/5#post632179
Once you’ve seen the first page, the URL without a page specified will automatically redirect to the last page and last post. It functions in such a way that you can not click the back button to go to page one. The back button will just lead to the specific forum you were at before clicking the thread.

How most forums work: If the thread is specified without a specific page, it always goes to the top of the first page.
There is usually, at the very least, a small icon next to each thread title that can be clicked to view a specific page or go to the last post on the last page.
By getting rid of this icon, the above inconsistent functionality was found to be necessary.

Solution: While I believe that even if there must be no icon or list of pages, this functionality can be implemented better than it currently is – I propose that an icon be added next to each thread that allows someone to go to the last post on the last page, as it currently attempts to do automatically via messy redirects. If they just click the normal thread title, it should always lead to the top of the first page. (Perhaps the preexisting icon to the left of the thread name could be used for this functionality, rather than adding a new one. Though it may be a bit too difficult for the majority of users to notice that the functionality exists if it’s that obscure.)

2) Pressing the back button can lead you back to the list of forums rather than a specific forum (i.e. list of threads) as expected.
How to reproduce:
A) Go from the main list of forums into any forum.
B) Click a thread that you haven’t read before; it should show you the top of the first page (rather than automatically redirecting you to the last post on the last page).
C) Click the back button. You should see the list of threads on the forum you were just at.
D) Click the forward button. Since the thread is now no longer new to you, you should see the last post on the last page.
The bug is here: E) Click the back button. Instead of going back to the forum you were just in, you will be brought back to the main list of forums.

So what is going on? At step 4, when you click the forward button, your browser history replaces the forum you were in with the thread you are now in.
You will also notice that you can press the forward button again, which leads to the same thread URL without any page specified – thus it automatically redirects to the last post on the last page (which is the page you’re already at; confusing, eh?).
I am not sure how related, if at all, to a browser bug this issue may be, but it is definitely an issue that needs to be and can be fixed in the Guild Wars 2 forum.

Solution: I’m going to leave this up to the forum developers. I’ve made it very clear what the bug is and how to reproduce it.

Edit; Additional Bug: If you get the above bug but go forward to the thread with a specific page, you can not go back to the forum listing by pressing the back button. This is because pressing the back button leads to the URL without a page specified, which redirects to the last post on the last page. You have to back up a couple pages at once.

[Continued below…]

(edited by TimeBomb.3427)

An in-depth look into forum bugs/issues and proposed solutions. Includes steps to reproduce.

in Forum and Website Bugs

Posted by: TimeBomb.3427

TimeBomb.3427

3) When a thread is locked, you don’t know it’s locked if you’re reading the thread – you only know if you’re looking at the forum list. The issue is that you don’t know it’s locked if you’re reading the thread until you click Add Reply. There is also a missing route bug.

An elaboration: The above is pretty clear, though it is a combination of a couple very similar bugs.
A) You don’t know if a thread is locked if you’re reading that thread.
B) When you click Add Reply to a locked thread, there is no matching route (very easy to reproduce), which creates a 404 error.
Upon pressing the back button, you then see the intended “Topic Locked!” message at the top unless (bug!) you clicked Add Reply from a thread that didn’t have a page specified in the url.
URL Example: https://forum-en.guildwars2.com/forum/game/gw2/If-the-new-zone-has-ANY-Risen-in-it
After pressing the back button when getting this route missing error, if your thread URL didn’t include a page, then instead of showing the Topic Locked! error, it redirects to the last post at the last page; this issue coincides with my first listed issue.
Do note that this also creates a similar issue as #2, wherein you are able to go forward to the same exact thread.

Solution: Fix the missing route error. Modify the “Add Reply” link for a locked thread to make it very apparent that the thread is locked.

Update: The missing route error seems to have been fixed.

4) Occasionally, a thread links to a non-existent page. Example: There are 5 pages in a thread, but it links to the 6th page. Then it shows absolutely no content aside from a buggy list of pages.

Solution: There’s not much more to say other than.. fix the bug. Also add a fail-safe fall back: If a non-existent page is accessed, redirect to the last page, perhaps with an error similar to “Non-existent page number: # accessed!” This isn’t just in case bugs occur, but also if somebody links to a non-existent page of a thread for whatever reason.

Update: This has been fixed.

5) More often than not, the post-specific edit/quote/report buttons are not visible – for your own and other people’s posts.

Solution: Requires a bug fix, plain and simple.

Update: This has been fixed.

Thanks for your time, I’ll add more bugs as I find them and have time to document them similar to what I’ve done above.

(edited by TimeBomb.3427)

An in-depth look into forum bugs/issues and proposed solutions. Includes steps to reproduce.

in Forum and Website Bugs

Posted by: TimeBomb.3427

TimeBomb.3427

All of these bugs are still very much in existence and quite reproducible. I have yet to see any acknowledgement from staff on a few of these issues, so just to ensure that this thread gets seen by the right eyes… /bump.

An in-depth look into forum bugs/issues and proposed solutions. Includes steps to reproduce.

in Forum and Website Bugs

Posted by: Snoring Sleepwalker.9073

Snoring Sleepwalker.9073

4) Occasionally, a thread links to a non-existent page. Example: There are 5 pages in a thread, but it links to the 6th page. Then it shows absolutely no content aside from a buggy list of pages.

Solution: There’s not much more to say other than.. fix the bug. Also add a fail-safe fall back: If a non-existent page is accessed, redirect to the last page, perhaps with an error similar to “Non-existent page number: # accessed!” This isn’t just in case bugs occur, but also if somebody links to a non-existent page of a thread for whatever reason.

That is only a consequence of the real problem: The forum doesn’t know what page of a thread a post is actually on. Go to any thread that has a second parge. Go to the last post on the first page. Open the direct link to that post in a new tab/window. It will go for page 2.

The longer the thread, the worse the problem. The most extreme is the Ascended items threadnaught, where posts on page 222 try to open page page 243.

I suspect that the function which determines which page a post is on thinks there are less posts per page than there actually are. A simple typo, or maybe a case where the number was changed but the coder forgot to update both variables.
But also a hint of bad coding practices. It shows that the posts per page number is stored in two separate variables. Since it’s always going to be the same for all code that needs it, it should be stored in a single variable that all the relevant code can access.

Another bug I’ve noticed is that the kitten filter ignores spaces when looking for stuff to censor, causing it to censor the middle of unoffensive phrases. I don’t know why it ignores spaces. It should only be there to catch accidental swearing, anybody who intentionally bypasses it can be dealt with by the ban hammer much more effectively. Sticking spaces in the middle of a word to bypass a filter is pretty clearly intentional.

An in-depth look into forum bugs/issues and proposed solutions. Includes steps to reproduce.

in Forum and Website Bugs

Posted by: xlion.3065

xlion.3065

  • Using browser “back” does not return you to “search” results but to the main page
  • A forced “login” does not return you to where you were but to the main page

ALL of this stuff has been reported ages ago, but I think it can’t hurt to send out a reminder.

An in-depth look into forum bugs/issues and proposed solutions. Includes steps to reproduce.

in Forum and Website Bugs

Posted by: TimeBomb.3427

TimeBomb.3427

Number 4 and 5 appear to be fixed – this is excellent! I think the missing route bug for #3 was fixed, though, as far as I’m aware, there has still been no improvement to further clarify that a thread is locked. #1 and #2 are still in the system.

An in-depth look into forum bugs/issues and proposed solutions. Includes steps to reproduce.

in Forum and Website Bugs

Posted by: Tsubaki.2508

Tsubaki.2508

A forced “login” does not return you to where you were but to the main page
—-
Not a bug but BUGGING ME GREATLY, is similarly when a friend links me a specific thread, and it’s been a day since I’ve last logged in to forum, it’ll ask me to log in – not a problem, though I would like to have a week or perm login option available. I log in, then it sends me to front page, and not the thread I was trying to access in the first place. Please make this quality of life change :/

An in-depth look into forum bugs/issues and proposed solutions. Includes steps to reproduce.

in Forum and Website Bugs

Posted by: Finaldeath.1059

Finaldeath.1059

The worst issue for me with the forums is when i view a picture on say the first page of a thread and hit the back button it goes to the last page instead of where i was at before. This has been a problem since day 1 with the forums and needs to be fixed. I am sick of losing my place in a thread because of this. If they can’t fix the back button issue then they should at least make pictures open in a little popup like the main site when you view pictures.