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[BUG] Unable to access forum content

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At the request of Community Manager @SilverStormm, I'm creating a new thread here to document an ongoing bug that I and other users have been experiencing.

Since the site updates last April, I've experienced an issue where I'm unable to open links (on my custom home page or the "all shows" view) that go to multi-thread forums.  For example, I can open "Ted Lasso" (because that's a single thread) but I can't open "The Conners" (because that's a forum with multiple show threads.

If I have a notification, I can follow the link in it and open the thread it's for, but I can't navigate to other threads in that forum from it.

This has been happening across various browsers and platforms:  Firefox, Chrome, and Edge on a Win10 desktop; Safari, Firefox, Chrome, and Edge on an iPhone.

What doesn't seem to make a difference:

  • Logging in/out
  • Changing themes
  • Clearing cache
  • Ad blocker vs no ad blocker
  • Rebooting computer/restarting iPhone
  • Network/method of internet access (wifi vs.hard-wired internet vs. using cell data)
  • Using a different browser (actually that has worked sometimes but not consistently)
  • Using Incognito/private browsing mode (also has worked sometimes but not consistently)

What sometimes seems to work:

  • Right-clicking the forum link and selecting "open in new private/incognito window", switching to that window, and signing in.  This has worked sometimes in Firefox and Edge.

Currently I'm having a "good" spell, I can access the forums normally with Firefox on both my desktop and phone, so for me the issue is less urgent.  Chrome still seems to be non-working on both, for me.

In the Everything Else/Chit-Chat thread, other users have mentioned what sounds like the same or similar issues, starting with this link and going on for the next 2 or 3 pages:

https://forums.primetimer.com/topic/26532-chit-chat/?do=findComment&comment=6999619

Users who have mentioned this/similar issues include:

@Browncoat
@emma675
@bilgistic
@rcc

@SoMuchTV(me)

At least one of them has said they can't access this Bugs area at all; I'm hoping if I tag them here they'll be able to follow the notification link.

As background, there a couple of now-locked threads about the issue:

There was a bug thread for site upgrade issues; this is my post about the issue from last April:

 

Then a thread was created for the specific issue:

Hope that is enough information for you to go on!  Thanks for your ongoing investigation.

Edited by SoMuchTV
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Thanks for setting this up! 

I've tried all the same things @SoMuchTVhas tried and nothing has worked on my laptop or mobile. My issues started happening a few months ago first with my laptop (mobile was fine at that point and I could access everything normally), then a few weeks ago my phone started having the same issues. I can't access any thread I don't have a notification in. I have to go into my Notifications, find an old post that was liked or commented on, click on that, and then I can access those threads. If I try to get to a thread from the main forum page, it times out and I get an error message. 

On mobile, i'm on an Android Galaxy S9, Google Chrome, version 93.0.4577.62. On my laptop, I'm on Windows 10, Chrome, version 92.0.4515.159, or Edge, version 93.0.961.44. I've tried the site on multiple browsers and always have the same issue. 

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@emma675 I just logged in as you and posted in Test zone - can you try accessing that and/or another thread or forum that you wouldn't normally be able to now. Then let me know the outcome - I just wanna test out a theory, thanks.

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Thanks SoMuchTv for the mention. Now I can follow and will be notified on content.

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I just tried it on my laptop and mobile phone and it didn't work (I get the below error). I also tried to access a few other forums from the main forum page and it didn't work. 

image.thumb.png.da8740d9dbedd82f8f031cede0240ab1.png

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Just a note on the rather unique problems you guys are having. Daily uniques here are in the thousands (I will not provide the prefix to those thousands...) - and it's just you guys with this. If this was a massive widespread problem, traffic would be down as well - that hasn't happened. To compound matters, when Silver and myself sign in as you guys to try and replicate - we can't.

We're hoping there is "something" that we are all missing in the commonality or the way the problem is being described.

Anyone willing to screenshare? And by screenshare I mean live real-time screensharing so I/we can observe in real time.

EDIT: When you see that "Community is Temporarily Unavailable" that's a hosting problem and nothing to do with the site itself.

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5 minutes ago, AllAstronauts said:

Just a note on the rather unique problems you guys are having. Daily uniques here are in the thousands (I will not provide the prefix to those thousands...) - and it's just you guys with this. If this was a massive widespread problem, traffic would be down as well - that hasn't happened. To compound matters, when Silver and myself sign in as you guys to try and replicate - we can't.

We're hoping there is "something" that we are all missing in the commonality or the way the problem is being described.

Anyone willing to screenshare?

EDIT: When you see that "Community is Temporarily Unavailable" that's a hosting problem and nothing to do with the site itself.

I never get that message. It just does not enable me to open a thread.

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Indeed, I signed in as each of you guys (Macbook, Brave browser) to test accessing random topics and forums using the different themes and also posted in test zone as each of you, which, presumably you normally would have problems accessing:

And was unable to replicate the same issues, weird. 

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So why would it be having issues on our end when we are signed in and not on your end when you're signed in as us? What's the difference? 

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32 minutes ago, emma675 said:

So why would it be having issues on our end when we are signed in and not on your end when you're signed in as us? What's the difference? 

Therein lies the issue that we're trying to track down. What's the commonality you guys have that we don't that's causing the problem.

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32 minutes ago, emma675 said:

So why would it be having issues on our end when we are signed in and not on your end when you're signed in as us? What's the difference? 

31 minutes ago, AllAstronauts said:

Exactly!

There is something missing that none of us is describing or seeing. That's why I'm asking for screen sharing to live-watch and talk.

Just now, SilverStormm said:

Therein lies the issue that we're trying to track down. What's the commonality you guys have that we don't that's causing the problem.

I do not have this problem, but having spent decades helping users troubleshoot tech problems, one thing not considered thus far is:

  • Personal security settings?

Perhaps there is some commonality among the afflicted?

Note: Admins should feel free to consider this and riff off of it without making my post live. 

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10 minutes ago, shapeshifter said:

Personal security settings?

Possibly.  I know I have issues accessing the site when I use a VPN.   However, they aren't these exact issues, I just can't get to the site at all from some of the VPN sites. 

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2 hours ago, AllAstronauts said:

Just a note on the rather unique problems you guys are having. Daily uniques here are in the thousands (I will not provide the prefix to those thousands...) - and it's just you guys with this. If this was a massive widespread problem, traffic would be down as well - that hasn't happened. To compound matters, when Silver and myself sign in as you guys to try and replicate - we can't.

We're hoping there is "something" that we are all missing in the commonality or the way the problem is being described.

Anyone willing to screenshare? And by screenshare I mean live real-time screensharing so I/we can observe in real time.

EDIT: When you see that "Community is Temporarily Unavailable" that's a hosting problem and nothing to do with the site itself.

I just want to say that when I'm having the issue, if I wait long enough (maybe a minute or two?), I always get that "community unavailable" message.  And those are pretty much the only times I remember seeing that message.   I just usually give up and back out if the thread doesn't respond in a few seconds, before the message has a chance to come up.

And regarding the suggestion about different security settings - I've had the issue come and go in different browsers, with no change on my part to any settings.  At one point I suspected some filtering by my ISP, but I tried using cell data and had the same issue.

ETA:  Your mention of "hosting problem" raises a flag.  I'm not a website/networking techie, but don't some forums direct traffic through different "hosting" avenues?  Could it be diverting requests for single threads through a different host than requests for forums, maybe for some users/browsers and not others?  Are we all in the same part of the world?  Just a thought, I don't know enough to fully develop it.

Edited by SoMuchTV
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I discovered something interesting this morning while I was playing around with things. If I switch themes to IPS default, I can get into threads from my saved forums page if they have a little sub-area to the right (see below). I was able to get into the Everything Else section by clicking on the Family: The Good, the Bad, etc. link to the right:

image.thumb.png.068ffbfc6711aabb529b2a88a12f62aa.png

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1 hour ago, emma675 said:

I discovered something interesting this morning while I was playing around with things. If I switch themes to IPS default, I can get into threads from my saved forums page if they have a little sub-area to the right (see below). I was able to get into the Everything Else section by clicking on the Family: The Good, the Bad, etc. link to the right:

image.thumb.png.068ffbfc6711aabb529b2a88a12f62aa.png

I've been using that workaround as well, when I'm not able to find a "good" browser.  It makes sense & fits the pattern - those links on the right are pointing to individual threads, not full forums.  Also, once you've gotten into one of the threads, you can use the navigation at the bottom to go to "next unread topic".

I didn't realize it only works in IPS Default theme; that's pretty much the only one I use now.

Edited by SoMuchTV
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