Ongoing bugs

I don't know about others here but personally I am starting to get frustrated by the way bugs and problems are handles and "solved" here.
We have ongoing problems like postings still going into the digital nirvana for no reason.
Ads showing for premium members.
Contests simply show up without being on the list of upcoming contests first.
The editor is still very sub-standard, although for writing this you offer already much more than for for an Ible...

What I would like to see is:
A) A central point where users can report bugs and site related problems.
B) An official statement to the problems listed there.
C) A timeframe in which we can expect the problem to be fixed.

Sure I have no clue how many people are actually working on the site but I do know that improvements and fixes are more than just overdue.
The site lives from the users and what they post here, so I think it is only fair to start to listen to them ;)

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pseaton2 years ago

We agree the site lives from its authors. We love you, and we hear you!

To get right down to it:

A) Email service@. You should get a response, and your request will be routed internally or treated right away. If your issue requires follow-up, that's where we may fall down a bit, especially with technical issues that may be complicated enough to have multiple dependencies and require work to be triaged over some period of time.

B) Postings "going into the digital nirvana" was brought to my attention on September 28 via this forum topic. We could not focus on that right away, because we released major changes to the Instructable page on September 30, further cause for your frustration I'm sure but I'll elaborate on that in just a second. The timing of that bug report wasn't good, but we're getting back to it now.

C) We're working on many bugs right now and I cannot make specific commitments on any individual one. We continue to triage and make decisions about importance based on how many people are affected and how severely. Keep in mind that some admin functionality may take precedence as issues there may stop others from getting their work done. Broken admin stuff can be angering in other ways, eg: spam.

Details:

- Ads showing for Premium members was my mistake, sorry. Fixing coming tomorrow, and this has already been addressed publicly here: https://www.instructables.com/community/Ads-on-my-o...

- Contests and their schedules I can't speak to. Try emailing service to see what happens!

- Not sure what you mean about the editor. You prefer the comment text editor to the Instructable text editor? I happen to agree, but unfortunately we must continue to support a wide range of arbitrary HTML that authors have submitted into Instructables since time immemorial. Removing features there is not an option. No WYSIWYG editor on the internet supports the range of input that we do and works smoothly. If you can find one that we can license and integrate, we'll switch. Guaranteed. I've looked in detail at TinyMCE (Wordpress), CKEditor (which we used to use), Redactor (which we currently use), Closure Library (the basis of Gmail), Medium's editor, and many more. Not one of those offers clean support for (for example) embedding YouTube code or <pre> tags in the HTML of an Instructable.... features I know many would sorely miss. We offer authors control where nearly every other site on the internet offers simplicity. We can give simplicity, but it'll cost control. That's a trade-off we haven't been willing to make.

About September 30:

Since the beginning of Instructables, we have used an architecture that treats logged-in users totally separately from logged-out users. I'll try to avoid going too far into it, but this has some immediate advantages and disadvantages. The big advantage: it's easy to code. You just say things like if(logged in), show screenname. The big disadvantage: it doesn't scale well. Think of it this way: if you're logged in and you view an Instructable, we have to go all the way to the database to retrieve things like the step titles and text, even though that information would be the same if you were logged out. So it creates a lot of unnecessary load, which slows things down and causes issues I know you've seen problems with, like dysfunctional forums at particular times of day. I believe you've noticed improvements there lately.

On September 30 we changed out the Instructable page for one with totally different architecture. Thousands of lines of code were abandoned all at once and replaced with thousands of new lines of code designed to have the exact same end result via a totally different path. We are using new servers running new code in different languages, and we're leaning more heavily on globally distributed caching systems that help get pages delivered fast for everyone. Our response times have improved by 30%, an improvement that you may have started to notice already, and will continue to improve, especially for logged in users like yourself. Because every code path is new, there are also lots of issues, some big some small. Ads showing for pro members is one... I know someone in the forums had an issue with out-of-date view counts as well, which you may notice are now much fresher than they have ever been in the past. There were hundreds of issues that we caught before release, and dozens that we couldn't see until we saw the whole thing actually working under production load. So some of these are still pending, though the torrent has slowed.

I don't think it's fair to characterize Instructables as broadly non-communicative. We pride ourselves on our human touch, and for an internet company with a small staff, it's uncommonly successful that we're able to have a human responding to every email. Stuff slips here and there, but by and large the system works. You posted here, and one of our community managers asked me to take a look. This response takes time and I can't promise to get involved in every issue, but I do want you to know that we care, and also that the dev team has given attention to every bug reported against the Instructable page in the last 6 days.... and there have been many. If that ends up delaying an outstanding bug in the forums, I'm sorry about that but I stand by the decision. Above just about all else, the Instructable page needs to work.

Downunder35m (author)  pseaton2 years ago

That is now what I would call an update on things, massive thanks for that!

So we wait until all updates and changes are completed and check what is all still working ;)
Massive updaes and changes are never easy with old content, so I can understand the problem with the old Ibles.
But for the editor I am still struggling here.
If control and flexibilty is required for an Ible than it would still make sense to include some basic features in other form.
For example the embedding of images usually works by posting a link to a hoster as there is no option to use images uploaded here.
This means images are gone once the hoster is dead or the account for the user there is.
To be able to get the image showing in the right size, at the right place and so it opens in anew tab means I have to create my own HTML code for that.
In the normal forum world this can be done by tags.
Similar to the way it works here with the highlighted tex to get in bold or to change it to link.
There should be a way to create button that a user can user, e.g. Insert image at coursor position with fixed size.
An image manager and options to embed video are available as plugins for Redactor if I am not mistaken.
Same for things like changing the color of text.
Maybe I am doing something wrong but I only see the most besic editor form possible when writing an Instructable.
The one used to post a question has much to offer in terms of text formatting - why are there different ones in use or is this a problem on my end?

Sites like Youtube already offer HTML code to embed but usually with their ads and never in the form you want ;)
For video it might be a different story but I would really prefer to have my images hosted together with my Ible instead of using external hosting services for this.

It's true, Redactor does support inline image uploads. Generally we prefer that people use our image upload, and attach images to steps, since it allows us to make sure that the display is as good as it can be across all of our platforms. You may want a 600px wide image on desktop for example, but on iPad that image would look better if it were 1200px wide. If you upload images using the upload button we can make that happen for you automatically. If you inline the image, we can't.

That said, you can also use us as a CDN. Just upload an image, then click on it to get to the file page. We're now hosting the image, and it can be inlined with any HTML you choose (though the internet usually considers this "new tab" behavior somewhat impolite).

We certainly prefer you host your images with us, and it looks from most of your Instructables like you do. If I've misunderstood the issue here, please let me know!

I don't understand people's obsession with wanting to embed images in their text. If it's important enough for the image to be linked with the text specifically, just create a new step. The image will appear above the appropriate text. So, I for one like the editor and it's simplicity. : )

+1

Downunder35m (author)  pseaton2 years ago

That is exactly what I mean, currently all my Ibles that have embedded images in the text or video for that matter, have the images hosted externally.
I add them with a fixed width of 200 pixels so it is usable on all platforms and if someone needs it bigger a click opens it in a new window.
Will try the CDN thingy with my next Ible, certainly would prefer to have the images here than outside.

Kiteman2 years ago

"A) A central point where users can report bugs and site related problems"

That would be the Bugs forum...

https://www.instructables.com/community?categoryGro...

Downunder35m (author)  Kiteman2 years ago

True but I meant more something like a thread that is being updated and sticky somewhere.
So users can see what bugs are still known and current and what was fixed.
Takes out a lot of the guesswork ;)

Yes, a list of known bugs and their status would help a lot. Everyone uses different wording when they describe a bug, so it's very hard to comb though the Bugs forum and see whether what you want to report has already been posted.

(Man, the forum is so much more useable through the View All link that I tend to forget it has discrete sections at all.)