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Discussion about IPS 4 forum software

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Age old advice to try to recover non-working forums is to delete cookies.  Note that this advice is not specific to this problem or site; just something that every site manager I've ever asked "Why doesn't the site work with my browser any more?" has suggested first.

Just remember that if done bluntly (as in deleting ALL cookies) it could mean you will need to remember/retype every password and redo every preference you've ever asked the browser to remember.

Again, I've no specific experience with FireFox or its derivatives and cookie handling, just passing on what everyone suggests as a first try...

-Noel

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2 hours ago, NoelC said:

Age old advice to try to recover non-working forums is to delete cookies.  Note that this advice is not specific to this problem or site; just something that every site manager I've ever asked "Why doesn't the site work with my browser any more?" has suggested first.

Just remember that if done bluntly (as in deleting ALL cookies) it could mean you will need to remember/retype every password and redo every preference you've ever asked the browser to remember.

Again, I've no specific experience with FireFox or its derivatives and cookie handling, just passing on what everyone suggests as a first try...

-Noel

Well, to be fair, 99% of first reply when asking about *any* problem with *any* OS in a lot of places is "re-format and re-install OS", the fact that it is popular (and often effective ;)) doesn't really mean that it is a good idea or that is an appropriate answer to the specific problem at hand.

jaclaz

  • Upvote 2

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Yeah, well, I've managed to get online forums working often enough by trashing cookies to make me realize web programmers don't have a clue about what happens when an upgraded forum package tries to read old cookies.  That's why I mentioned it.

-Noel

Edited by NoelC

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Thanks Noel, I'll use CCleaner and see if it takes care of the problem. If it doesn't, I'll have to get more aggressive about cleaning out cookies.

--JorgeA

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Used CCleaner to clear out unknown/unfamiliar cookies, but that didn't do the trick.

Any other suggestions as to what to do? I am very reluctant to just nuke all cookies, surely there must be one or a few that I can hone in on to delete.

If it helps to pinpoint the problem, I've noticed that sometimes when refreshing the MSFN page, the boxes for "Quote" and multiquote (that "+" sign) will be visible briefly and then disappear. In PM, the lower left corner of a post by me shows only the "Edit" box, all other MSFN posts show nothing in that corner.

--JorgeA

P.S. New annoyance: I was on this thread in PM (in addition to FF). When I navigated from page 9 of this thread to page 8, I got signed out! :angry:  WTF is going on?!?

Edited by JorgeA
correction, addition

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Going back to my Status Problem... well, everything failed. As suggested, I've tried to log in using different PCs (at least 4 physical machines + virtual machines). I've used different browsers (FF, IE, Chromium, Chrome) on different operating systems. I've logged into my account, and tried to create new ones. I've tried to connect via foreign proxy. Effect is always the same, looks as in this post:

So, there is something inside the forum (limitations for specific users? Bugs?) or some Devil keeps spoiling MSFN for me. Or just doesn't work and I don't know why...

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@JorgeA I've had the problem you're having and it's only been on this forum. I suspect it's because of the theme. I tried clearing cookies, cache, etc. and nothing fixed it. After a few weeks it finally worked again just as mysteriously as it started.

I say that I suspect it's the theme because on my own forum I use the stock forum theme and haven't had the issue. Nor have I on the several others, such as the official IPS website, Malwarebytes, and other sites that use the stock theme.

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Thanks, Tarun. Which one is the stock theme?

Actually, the situation is so bad that I cannot even get into the theme editor. Clicking on the paintbursh icon at the top does nothing at all in Pale Moon!

Things seem to be getting worse and worse. Not only is MSFN functionality crippled in PM 27 on Windows 7, but today I discovered that the same functionality is crippled in PM 27 on Vista, too -- and just now I was on Firefox 43 on Vista and hit F5 to refresh for new posts... and I had to sign back in to reply to your post!!

Something awfully strange is going on. Months ago I had already stopped visiting MSFN via Internet Explorer on either Vista or Win7 due to usability issues. Now the Firefox family is under attack.

--JorgeA

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The theme editor only changes the colors of this theme.

Other things you can try is making a whole new Firefox profile. Create a new Firefox shortcut and make it read like so:

"C:\Program Files\Mozilla Firefox\firefox.exe" -p

That will let you make a new test profile, without addons and everything.

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Jorge, are you blacklisting sites?  Maybe something has gotten into a blacklist that is necessary?

I saw, for example, the Quero-hosted black list the other day take on something it shouldn't (they blacklisted code.jquery.com - I've since reported it and it's been removed).

Edit:  FWIW, I'm able to edit this post here with FireFox version 50.

-Noel 

Edited by NoelC

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2 hours ago, NoelC said:

Jorge, are you blacklisting sites?  Maybe something has gotten into a blacklist that is necessary?

I saw, for example, the Quero-hosted black list the other day take on something it shouldn't (they blacklisted code.jquery.com - I've since reported it and it's been removed).

Edit:  FWIW, I'm able to edit this post here with FireFox version 50.

-Noel 

Nope, I haven't done anything special. The only kind of blacklist I've implemented is via the hosts file -- and I haven't touched that one in ages.

Now here's a couple more things to throw into the mix. I'm composing this reply in Firefox 43; when I came into MSFN, I had to sign in yet again. Somehow the login info isn't being retained. Just checked, and this happened in FF 43 on two different computers and in PM on the same two computers plus a third one.

And the second, possibly more significant, data point is that last night I tried logging into MSFN via Pale Moon 27 on a little-used Vista laptop, and then tried to reply to a post. This laptop definitely has not had tinkering or tweaking of any kind done to it. The last thing I did with it was to update PM from version 26.5 to 27. I had the same problem on the laptop with missing Quote buttons and a reply panel that just would not finish loading when clicking on the reply button. (That does seem to rule out the possibiity about the forum theme being related to the problem, since whatever I saw on that laptop's first visit to MSFN would presumably be the default theme.)

I never had a reason to visit MSFN from that laptop before, so I can't be sure that PM 26.5 would have been OK with MSFN there since I never did it, but still the evidence is suggestive. My suspicion is that Moonchild (the developer of Pale Moon) screwed up something with version 27. Sadly, on the PM forums people are saying that going back to an earlier version doesn't put things back the way they were.

And yet FF 43 is also affected somehow, since I keep having to sign in again every time I go into MSFN. (I do check off the "remember me" box, every time.)

Bottom line: on PM 27, I have to sign in every time and can't post anything; while on FF 43 I have to sign in every time but can post and edit.

--JorgeA

P.S. Now this time, after composing this reply in FF 43, I clicked on the "Submit Reply" button but nothing happened, my screen remained the same. Hitting F5 to Refresh signed me out. Going back into this thread, my reply had not been posted. Good thing I put it on my clipboard so I could try again, but that won't be much good if I can't actually get it posted...

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I took a screenshot so that you all could see what I mean by the reply panel not finishing loading up. Follow the black arrow:

Cant reply on MSFN.jpg

BTW I had to try this several times, as I ran into the same issue as in the P.S. of the previous post, where hitting the "Submit Reply" button didn't do anything and hitting Refresh kicked me out of MSFN without the reply actually getting posted.

--JorgeA

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test post. After typing, will try to submit.

Submit successful (second, different laptop). Will now try to save this edit, then hit Refresh.

Second and third tests successful on different laptop with IE10.

Fourth test: signed in on same second laptop via Firefox 49. Will try to edit this post and save it.

FWIW, just after I signed via FF on this laptop, Norton advised me that a certain file, widevinecdm.dll, is Safe. The DLL file is located in the folder Users\xxx\AppData\Roaming\Mozilla\Firefox\Profiles [etc.].

On a third laptop, signing in via IE11 and then hitting F5 to refresh signs me out of MSFN. The same thing is now happening in IE10 on the second laptop (where the second and third tests had been successful), but apparently not in FF 49.

Edited by JorgeA
additional test

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I think the problem may now be solved.

As it turns out, when distributing Pale Moon version 27, Moonchild changed the default user agent mode from Firefox compatibility to Gecko compatibility. There are now several reports on the PM forum (such as this one) that this has broken websites for people, and that the solution is to change the UA back to Firefox.

Better communication of changes to PM's users, and of the practical consequences they might entail, would seem to be in order here. The bias from the "expert" community is for users to automatically update to the "latest and greatest" version of whatever (shades of Windows 10 :rolleyes: ) and there is inadequate explanation of the havoc that that might cause. As experienced by me over the last few days. :angry:  OMG, how the h3ll is it supposed to occur to a normal customer to "change the user agent mode" when the sites he visits are suddenly broken?!?

So now with Firefox as the UA, I am once again able to navigate MSFN and post replies without hindrance. Except that, after clicking on the reply panel and then Refresh, I was able to type in this reply but there was no Submit Reply button. Put the text of the reply on the clipboard and hit Refresh again, and I had been signed out. We'll see how (and if) this all pans out.

Not sure, though, what any of this might mean for the difficulties experienced with IE10/11. But so long as I can get in here with at least one browser, I guess it's not a critical problem.

--JorgeA

Edited by JorgeA
clarification

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>OMG, how the h3ll is it supposed to occur to a normal customer to "change the user agent mode" when the sites he visits are suddenly broken?!?

I think the intent with making such changes is that sites are supposed to be suddenly fixed.  Potential downsides are all too often ignored, and for some reason it's considered bad form to pop up messages and actually tell people things.  It would just upset the poor dears.

As with most things high tech, the devil is in the details, and the only way to be in control - especially if you're going to run a non-mainstream browser - is to become more knowledgeable.  So I guess it's time to go back to college, get a degree in computers, then spend a few decades writing software.

Of course I'm being facetious.  It would not have occurred to me to check the user agent string and I've done all of the above. 

There are probably browser extensions you can add to get it to send just the right agent string to each individual website.  The whole thing is like a big costume party where no one's quite sure who's talking to whom.  Our problem is that we expect it to work.  Oh, and remember to consider the agent string next time you look over web usage statistics.

At least you had the wherewithal to research the problem online and find the root of the problem.  Well done, and thanks for sharing the solution here.  I don't mean it as an insult, but I think you're already more "geek" than "customer", Jorge.

P.S., you consider yourself a "customer", but how much did you pay for the software?  Maybe for free open source software you should think of yourself more as a "co-developer"...  Apparently the folks who made the decision to change that agent string default didn't include you.  Just thinking out loud here.

-Noel

Edited by NoelC
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