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Macfilos comments and the [object Object] bug

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My apologies to our readers and, in particular, regular commentators for the bug which inserts [object Object] in place of the commentator’s name on many occasions. It isn’t consistent, as you will have noticed, but it is becoming increasingly frustrating. Of course I have taken this issue up with Squarespace in New York and, so far, they haven’t seen fit to reply. I am assuming it is a common problem which they are working on, rather than something specifically related to this site.

It seems likely that last weekend Squarespace did an update to the system because I noticed a number of changes and some errors during post creation. In particular, the post creation form suddenly lost the ability to work with Grammarly, the grammar and spelling checker which I find very useful. This has been working without a problem since I subscribed to Grammarly a few months ago, but now it is dead. Squarespace acknowledged this problem and suggested I might care to run posts through Grammarly before uploading the text. They did, however, say that they would list Grammarly integration as a “requested feature” — completely ignoring that it was a feature which they have deliberately or accidentally hobbled.

If there was a major upgrade, Squarespace gave no warning, nor have they written to tell me about the new features (some of which I have discovered for myself). I am afraid this is par for the course and users are left flailing around in the dark, trying to understand what has happened.

Less reliable

There is more. Creating posts has become very slow and moving objects around is less reliable than it used to be. Again, this is probably a temporary glitch relating to the overall changes — it has happened before and gets sorted out. Creating posts must be done on-line through a web browser and a long article can be a nightmare. It is quite easy to work without saving and then to lose all amendments and have to start again. The long article on the Sony RX100 earlier this week was a pure nightmare and took many hours because of the slowness of uploading images. WordPress and other hosting systems allow off-line editing, notably in the excellent Mars Edit, which makes things so much simpler.

Added to all this is a recurrence of the slow running of the site. Reader Gordon Brown in Colorado complained that he couldn’t access links and it turns out that the culprit is slow loading. I’ve noticed this, particularly in the early afternoon in London when, I presume, the blog and website rush hour starts in New York. Even though we have a very fast broadband service, Macfilos (Squarespace) is often excruciatingly slow.

All in all, as you can gather, I am now less than happy with Squarespace and I do hope they are reading this. In fact, I will send them a link. Macfilos has been on Squarespace for six or seven years now and, in general, everything has gone smoothly. In particular, Squarespace is good at filtering out spam comments — we get none when other sites I know have to cope with several hundred a week and need to run anti-spam software to maintain sanity. I suspect Squarespace is a “walled garden”, similar to Apple’s eco-system, and is consequently less of the Wild West than some other providers.

Fundamental

There are more fundamental problems. Squarespace doesn’t seem interested in blogs and more and, I suspect, now concentrates on more lucrative commercial sites and on-line commerce. As as a result, the available templates for blogs are quite restricted. That’s why Macfilos is not as attractively styled and laid out as many other blogs you probably read. Without getting down to serious additional code, which I am incapable of, customisable options are very limited.

But when things go wrong, as this week, I have a feeling of helplessness. There is nothing I can do except dust off my contingency plan to move over to WordPress — which seems to be the most popular and malleable system for bloggers. Moving a blog isn’t for the faint hearted, however, and there are inevitably problems, some minor but some potentially fatal. Moving over the domain name — macfilos.com — is easy, but the problem comes in ensuring that the links to all the 2000-3000 past posts are translated correctly. I’ve done it before when we moved from Typepad, but the database is now so much bigger than in 2012.

Nevertheless, I am feel I am being forced to make the switch. There could be a temporary hiatus, even a period without posts, but I am now feeling that the time is right. And rest assured, I will warn you all in advance if I take this step.

In the meantime, please persevere with the “object Object” problem. I suggest that anyone wishing to leave a comment should also put their name at the foot of the comment text so we are aware who is writing. I am hoping the problem will be solved soon.

For the record, here is the response from Squarespace:

Hi Mike,

After doing some investigating, I can confirm that this is due to an issue with the commenting system on our end. Specifically, if a guest commenter makes more than one comment in a single browsing session, their names switch to [object Object]. Clearly not ideal.

We’ve made a record of this for our Engineering and Design teams to review. That being said, there are many moving parts and variables that need to be addressed before we can roll out a solution. Also, we thoroughly test all fixes before they’re released to ensure they don’t affect other Squarespace components or customers; we’re very proactive in this regard. As a result, resolution time often varies, and we aren’t able to provide a timeline for this.

While we can’t guarantee further follow up, customer bug reports are an important part of how we continue to improve our platform, so we appreciate your input. If you come across any other unusual behavior, please let us know.

Tim K.

And there’s more

Hello Mike,

Thanks for reaching out, my name is Michael. I understand you have come into contact with a few of Squarespace’s known issues. I can definitely understand your concern and disillusionment here.

When it comes to maintaining a website building platform as complex as Squarespace, there are bound to be some issues that sprout up here and there. This is true of any software.

We do out best to document, gather information, and thoroughly test solutions before implementation so that the fixes do not cause any other issues down the road.

As a result, we’re not able to provide a definite timeline, and due to the volume of cases we receive, may not follow up directly when the issue is resolved. 

I do see Tim K did respond to you about the [object Object] issue and you did also respond to that email.

That being said, reports such as yours are an important part of how we continue to make improvements, so I really appreciate you reaching out about this. If you come across any other unusual behavior, please let us know.

Michael T.

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50 COMMENTS

  1. Hi Mike,

    Thanks for the update and the complexity of what is going on behind the scenes.

    I will stick me name in the end of every comment so that you know who made it, should object object virus strike the post.

    Have a good day

    Object Object 😂😂😂

  2. How atrociously trying, Mike ! I would probably have abandoned ship by now.
    Hope you will go on objecting and that it all comes out in the wash.
    John Nicholson.

    • Yes, it’s almost a full-time job taking photographs and writing the copy without having to wrestle with template problems. This afternoon I had a bit of good fortune — a friend of mine who runs a photoblog is a professional photographer and website designer. It’s possible I can afford to pay to have the transfer to WordPress handled by someone competent. I’m investigating.

      • That would be a bonus if you can move the site, and not have the painful task of doing it yourself. I hope this comes off, more so because of the issues squarespace are giving you.

        Dave S – just in case Object Object kicks in, again.

  3. Uh oh. I use Squarespace as well, but for an online portfolio site (for work, not photography). I’ve not updated that site in a long time, so I’ve not experienced any issues. However, a few months ago I experimented with setting up a second site and almost none of the templates fit what I wanted to do. So I gave up, thinking maybe I should just roll my own, even though I’m hardly technically that savvy.

    My own photography blog, idle since 2015, is on WordPress, and I recall being happy with it at the time.

    • I agree on the templates, although most of them are probably more appropriate to your use than to a blogger. I have been with Squarespace for about six or seven years and hardly anything has changed on the template front. Of the two or three that suit, none have all the features I would require. Editing is limited, too, with no support for footnotes or anything fancy. This is perhaps the main reason I am thinking of moving to WordPress.

  4. Comment by David A
    Life is too short to endure such sudden changes in software behaviour. Thank you for your update. Let us hope Tim K resolves the problems described so lucidly by you.

  5. Hi, I have commented on the amazing Himalayan cat and later posts and hit post comment and my comment disappears so I have quit commenting except for this attempt!

    • Brian,

      Well, at least, this one got through. There is a known issue and, as you can see from yesterday’s article on the subject, Squarespace are working on a solution. It the meantime, it’s out of my hands and I can only apologise. This just one of several annoying glitches we are experiencing at the moment, and I hope they will get them sorted out soon. Please persevere. We don’t want to lose you as a frequent commenter.

  6. …..regardless of whether I am making a new comment or whether I’m replying to an existing comment.
    Will now power down the iPad, then restart, and retest.

  7. Now testing again.
    Making a comment on a this different article, immediately after having made a comment elsewhere.
    Let’s see what happens….hitting the POST COMMENT button now…

    • Aha, the Object Object bug doesn’t appear if a second Comment (or Reply to a comment) is made on a different article.
      It only occurs for second Comment or Reply made on the same article……….as will now occur for this one…..

  8. Thinking, thinking.
    Let’s test what happens with this first post here (after logging out of Macfilos then re-entering).
    This one should be fine.
    …….but then I’ll reply to this message after going to a different article and then coming back to this one I.e. not actually exiting Macfilos…..here goes…

    • …ok….so I have clicked over to John Shingleton’s Romania article….had another look at it ….and now come straight back to this article.
      Let’s see what happens as I post this reply….

      • Instructive – Object Object arose.
        So, the workaround to avoid Object Object does require that we exit Macfilos for any subsequent Comment posts on any particular article………but a first Comment on any article doesn’t require exit and re-enter Macfilos.

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