Okay, so the ads are gone. Yay!
If anyone still wants to contribute to the safety net fund, lowtechcyclist still has about $200 of matching funs left for the safety net. So chime in if you want to be matched up to $20 per person.
John and I are both committed to resolving the technical problems once and for all.
So now that the ads are gone, it’s time to talk about technical issues that remain so we can get those resolved.
A. I think Balloon Juice has been loading much faster on my laptop! Is anyone else noticing this?
B. Now that the ads are gone my iPad seems much more usable; it loads better and faster, but I am still getting the white space issue sometimes as I scroll through the front page on the iPad. Is anyone else noticing this? Having issues on your tablet or mobile?
Let’s start with what I consider the top 5 issues, and I’ll have another thread later this week for you to share other issues.
C. I am aware that the 5 items below have been an issue. Are any of these gone, or less of an issue now that the ads are gone?
- the back arrow works inconsistently
- sometimes when you press reply @commenter does not show up in the comment box
- Recent Comments is not always up to date for you if you use Chrome, and possibly Firefox, especially late at night
- it sometimes takes a while for new/revised comments to appear, both your comments and others
- it sometimes the visual tab isn’t available, only the text tab
Please help us take stock now that all the ads are gone.
Please speak up in the comments and let us know your thoughts/experiences in the 3 areas identified above: magenta (loading faster), blue (iPad & mobile issues), teal (top 5 problems).
There are a ton of different devices, different operating systems, different browsers, different browser versions, different ad blockers, and different browser add-ons out there. So it takes really good and very specific information to figure out what’s a site issue and what is a device/OS/browser quirk.
So can you help us out here? The more specific information, the better.
I plan to keep this post around #2 all day to make it more likely that everyone sees it.
Site now loads in reasonable time on not-actually-all-that-ancient iPhone 6 w iOS 12.5.5, which it really never used to do. So one limber and heavily-used thumb up.
I still get #5 (text comment box rather than visual) but now it’s erratic rather than all the time. IPad, Safari, Magic Lasso ad blocker, all current software.
It has been loading very much faster. I can find my favorite ads ( !?) on other sites. I chipped in because I love this site above most others
ETA I am on a Nook Android which protects us from most of our own stupidity, so we can’t download much. Few apps.
Collect underpantsEliminate ads
@MattF: If you can, try to take note off whether your losing/having the visual tab is related to things like this:
– whether you have just commented vs. having refreshed the page to see more comments
– whether it’s your first comment of the day, first comment in a particular thread
– whether it happens more or less after a reply to someone vs. just making a comment
Anything details you guys can notice will go a long way to solving the issues
@WaterGirl: So far, today, it’s been working correctly. I tried killing all the background jobs and it’s still OK.
@WaterGirl: …and then I switched to my Twitter tab and then back to BJ, and I got the text box.
ETA: But it’s not consistent.
@MattF: Had you refreshed the page when you returned from your twitter tab? Made a comment? Replied to a comment?
@WaterGirl: No and no.
I’m going to contribute on Friday, when I get paid.
I just threw some in to the safety net fund, so sign me up for the match.
I was able to turn off the content blocker on the laptop (mid-2013 Air/Safari 15.0/Big Sur 11.6) and the site loads faster now. Otherwise, I never had much of an issue. Seems to be doing better on my iPhone 7 as well, but I will need to give it a few more days to make sure.
I put $30 into the safety net a couple of days ago — didn’t (and don’t) know if I was supposed to report that here. Meaning to put in at least $10 a month, but probably in quarterly lumps.
@Layer8Problem: will do, thanks.
@JanieM: That will count toward the $20 match.
@Layer8Problem: Will do, thank you!
@MattF: huh. Let me make sure I am understanding correctly.
So you had the visual tab. You left the BJ tab open, did your twitter thing, returned to the open BJ browser tab and the visual tab was gone?
I’ve only noticed the back button. Once I’ve made a post, if I go back to my base position, I go to my most recent post rather than where I was reading. It works OK on nested back arrows – if I’m reading a post by xxx, which refers to a post by yyy, click through and *that* refers to a post by zzz, and click through again; my first back arrow takes me to yyy (as it should), but my second takes me to my most recent post rather than to xxx.
Sometimes, after I post, I go back to the front page and re-enter the comments so this won’t happen, because that stops the behavior.
@WaterGirl: Right. And then I tried repeating it, with variations on killing off background stuff, but everything worked correctly. So there’s some third or fourth party making a mess. Or something.
That would be my guess, too, but more data points from more people while help. Thanks much.
1. I haven’t really noticed anything yet other than the zippier site loading. I’ll try to keep an eye out though.
2. I decided to do my end of year donating (> $20) to the site just now. Hope there’s still $ in the matching fund.
A. Most definitely. My main laptop is came out during the Wilson administration, so it’s a torture test for that, and I didn’t have the usual 10 second pause while the poor thing looked down and took a deep breath before continuing.
B. Pretty much exactly as you describe — same problem as always, but less time to unfold.
Z. Hate to do this, but just this past moment I had a new one: the text box for the comment just didn’t show up at all. Had to reload the page to make this comment. I’ll let you know if that one repeats.
(Clarification of above: Not the text tab, the actual field for text entry didn’t appear, regardless of which tab was active.)
@Tenar Arha: Yes, thank you!
Definitely faster loading on both MacBook Air and MacBook Pro, as well as on iPad Pro and even my teeny tiny iPhone SE2.
The random white space on the iPad seems to be gone.
All of the 5 tech problems happen occasionally (assuming I check in here 4x/day, I’d say at least 3-4 times a week for each of them). The most common is inconsistent back arrow behavior, all platforms, all browsers. I’ll get the weird text box behavior (either no visual tab or no “@” on replies) on the Macs at least thrice a week; my suspicion is that something in the stylesheet range didn’t load or is hitting a memory problem in the browser. Reloading the page does nothing; sometimes changing app focus (Firefox to Tweetbot and back, for instance) helps, but usually the only fix is to quit & restart the browser. I don’t really pay a lot of attention to Recent Comments, but it always seems to be half-an-hour behind whenever I check. The least common problem is new comments and posts not appearing; I tend to think that my ISP’s gophers are trying, but the Internet is the speed it is when everyone and their pet pig are online at 9:30pm Eastern, so suck it up.
Thanks for checking on this stuff; unlike the random reload and the pageloading like molasses, these aren’t dealbreakers for using the site.
Loading faster on my laptop and desktop, actually. Main slowdown is honestly loading the Twitter embed.
Don’t own an iPad, so can’t speak to that platform. Using mostly Firefox, with a bit of Chrome, on my Note 10+, never seen this issue.
I think these are less of an issue. I would need to comment more, to confirm.
The other issues, I can’t recall seeing.
@Woodrow/asim: Just one more reason you should definitely comment more!!!
I haven’t had problems on my Linux desktop with ad blockers, the site worked well. It has also worked well on my Android phone.
Microsoft is how we roll at work and on Microsoft things are irritating. This may be a clue.
I am sending a check for the safety fund.
No more auto/inconvenient/frustrating refreshes!!! And, everything is uploading faster and mostly seamlessly. Only AL’s Covid posts take a few moments vs minutes to fully open – which I think is reasonable given all the valuable links embedded.
I is happy!
ETA IPhone 6, Safari
My wife and I only rarely use our laptops to look at balloon juice, so I can’t comment about that.
we read balloon juice heavily on our respective sixth generation iPads and on our iPhones (SE 2020 and XS).
I can say with certainty that BJ loads faster than it did before ads were killed. However, I would not say that the improvement is very dramatic, but it is noticeable.
on the iPads, white space is still an issue. When we first load balloon juice by clicking on a bookmark saved to the iPad home screen, BJ about half the time loads to the top, and the other half of the time loads “pre-scrolled“ down. either way, typically there is a large area of white space that goes away after the page loads further. this is much less on issue on the iPhones, and I don’t know why it afflicts the iPads.
The noticeable delay to load tweets is still an issue, though they load faster than before. As before, the text portion of the tweet loads quickly, while the images and all the other stuff (to embed or share the tweet, etc.) takes its own time to load.
The most annoying problem, the spontaneous reloading of the page, often leading after a couple of reloads to the dreaded message, “a problem occurred while loading balloon juice,“ is much improved. I think it is only happened once since the ads were turned off, once for each of us. In the before times, it was a regular occurrence, to the point that they were times when it was happening so frequently that we just gave up on BJ for the day.
anyway, I am much happier (but not yet ecstatic!) customer.
When I get a blank comment box in Reply it’s because I’m in Visual Mode, I switch to to Text mode and everything is there. Usually I can enter my comment and post in text.
WaterGirl — to donate to the safety net fund — do I simply donate via the “Keep Balloon Juice Ad Free” link & let you know it’s for the safety net? (I’ve been offline for a few days, so lost the thread… )
The site loads much faster. On my iPad, I don’t get the slow to load white spaces anymore, at least that I have noticed.
My internet speed goes from slow to very slow so the slow loading previously was not anything new to me for websites. But the improvement in speed now (with no ads) was a big surprise. With my slow internet speed I was prepared to see a very slight improvement. But it was a very noticeable big improvement.
In the comment box, I get the text box about 1/3 of the time and have to do the manual “click here to refresh” but It has always worked to restore the visual mode.
I have never had the problem of no comment box showing or a commenter’s nym not being entered in the comment box when I click reply to the commenter. I will try to notice what I was doing for that 1/3 of the time but I don’t often pay attention. I do know that it has occurred when I read a post and then tried to make a comment for the first time.
I don’t notice a lag in comments appearing or edited comments updating.
I do notice the lag in recent comments but have attributed that to my slow connection speed. Sometimes a refresh/reload seems to fix that.
Villago Delenda Est
John should consult with Rebecca Shoenkopf, aka the Editrix of Wonkette, on the no-ad business model. She might have some pointers.
Major Major Major Major
Dollars to donuts the Recent Comments thing is a cache issue that I would advise you not to try to fix yourself. I know we got rid of it on the old site because it was a really expensive database query—so I assume the new devs were smart enough not to reinstate it as a live query.
The other comment thing might well be a cache issue, too.
Major Major Major Major
On Firefox (windows 10, about five different privacy and ad managers) and safari (eternally up to date iPhone running adguard) I’ve long had the issue where the reply button doesn’t seem to do anything. Still do. I have to go to the text tab and get rid of the invisible elements wrapping the usual @ stuff I’m expecting.
Major Major Major Major
Have not experienced Recent Comments lagging on front page. Within comment pages the lag for Recent Comments is evident more often than not.
Intermittent protracted delay between clicking Post Comment and the page self-refreshing. Seems to occur mostly during late night and into the wee hours blog time, but cannot say with any certainty it happens only during those hours.
Right fly-out going AWOL or else not showing up until quite some time has passed after new post(s) have appeared on front page.
Brand new comment not appearing until multiple page refreshes have been performed.
Fix the goldang code so that single-spaced lists show as intended for Firefox users, rather than mysteriously (and consistently) inserting an extra line space between the penultimate and the final item. It is not, as has been intimated, a Firefox problem, it is a bugaboo inherent in the coding — behavior have never once seen manifest on any other site I’ve visited (and I poke around the web a lot).
@WaterGirl: can you tell me again how to donate? Cringe. I am kind of a luddite, but I do have a PayPal account if that works.
I just kicked in $25 towards the endowment fund.
I still have the teal issues on both laptop and desktop. In addition, that “data mice” thing has been showing up a lot lately. I generally use the text box anyway, but check any markup in the visual box before posting. When data mice are lurking about I can’t see anything in the visual. This has happened in original comments as well as replies where the box comes with a url supplied.
On the good side, the site does seem much faster on my android phone. Probably desktop too, but coincidentally I just got a faster machine, so it’s harder to tell.
There is a link in the upper right hand side of the front page: https://balloon-juice.com/donate-with-venmo-zelle/
For whatever reason, when the ads were up and now, I can usually only comment in the “text” box, but sometimes when I am not replying to anyone, I can use the “visual” box. This is a Mac OS, Firefox 93.0.
@Nancy: Thank you! lowtechcyclist will match $30 of it!
@PJ: Thanks. I just donated.
Everything about Microsoft is irritating. :-)
Seriously, though, I will need to know details for that to be helpful.
@way2blue: Yes, that would work great! Are you going with Patreon, Venmo, Zelle, PayPal or paper check?
@Villago Delenda Est: Something to keep in mind, thanks.
I see 2 choices for donating on Wonkette. For now, we are good with meeting people where they are in terms of their preferred methods for donating.
@Major Major Major Major: It’s obviously a cache issue. But the ads were messing things up so badly that, with particular ads causing more or fewer problems, so there was no good way to address a lot of the issues.
Now we have a stable environment that won’t be changing depending on what ads are up on which hour/minute/day. I’m sure you know it’s hard to troubleshoot a moving target.
@Major Major Major Major: Are you saying that you have had that problem? Or that that problem is still happening? That’s what I need to know.
There are two links under this section in the sidebar – I copied them here for simplicity.
?Keep Balloon Juice Ad Free
Become a Balloon Juice Patreon
Donate with Venmo, Zelle or PayPal
If you want to use Patreon, click the top link and it will take you right to John’s Patreon so you can sign up.
If you want to use PayPal (or Venmo or Zelle) click on the second link. On the page that comes up, there is a link to sign up on PayPal. Next to that link, it tells you Cole’s email address, which you will have to supply to sign up on PayPal.
If you want to send a paper check, send me email and I’ll send you Cole’s P.O. Box.
Let me know if you have any problems
edit: Ah, I see that you had already donated by the time I saw your comment. Oh well, I will leave it for others who might have the same questions.
@PJ: Thank you, $20 will be matched by lowtechcyclist.
@PJ: Interesting! So you get Visual mode if you go to the comment box that is toward the bottom of the page?
But if you hit Reply, you don’t get visual mode?
If everyone can take note of whether or not that is consistently true, that would be super helpful. thanks
If I have replied to anyone, Visual mode exists (presumably), and that tab is what appears first, but I can only actually type into the “text” field. This is whether I am making a new comment or making a reply.
If I clear the cache, however, I can type into the “visual” field, as I am doing now. And now I will see if I can still do that if I add a reply to this comment.
@WaterGirl: So, at least for the first reply, I can type into the visual field.
But when I reply a second time, I have to use the text box. So I assuming there is something in the cache that stops the text box from being used after the first comment.
@PJ: I just cleared the cache again, and am able to type my first reply into the visual box.
But for the second and subsequent replies (or comments), I have to use the text box. The only workaround is to clear the cache.
On my “antique” v.2 iPad, that I mostly don’t use anymore since it is so obsolete (running iOS 12.5.5) and especially bad (never would load) on the BJ site, since the elimination of ads, this site actually functions. Will have to try it on the morning Covid update.
just sent $30 to the safety-net fund via zelle.
Major Major Major Major
@WaterGirl: As I wrote, I have had it for a long time and am still having it.
@PJ: All these specifics are really helpful, thank you!
@Major Major Major Major: Sorry, I missed the “Still do.” sentence.