Macfilos comments and the [object Object] bug
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.
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.
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:
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.
And there’s more
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.