What to Do If You Have a Glitch on the Forums

From time to time, you may notice a glitch or two on the Forums. This can happen for a variety of reasons! For one, sometimes updates designed to fix issues create more problems! Other times, the plugins on the website clash. On occasion, it might be that the server is down or experiencing problems. When this happens, it might create lasting problems that we need to work through! Sometimes, though, it’s my fault. I could have added a theme component or plugin that just puts too much strain on the server. Or, I changed a setting that made things not work too well.

But that just comes with running the Forums, unfortunately! They aren’t going to work as well as we like all of the time. It happens with small websites and Forums like ours, and even big ones like Duolingo, Twitter and YouTube! We just need to try our best to make sure that the problem doesn’t persist for too long and cause too many issues.

Unlike big platforms, though, we don’t have a whole team on the Forums who can work day and night to solve glitches. So, we will do our best with the limited knowledge, resources and time that we have. This might mean that it takes longer than you’d like, but please bear with us! We are doing our best and working as well as we can behind the scenes to make this the best place for you to spend your time.

If you have a glitch and it’s affecting your ability to enjoy the Forums, please speak out! You don’t have to put up with it without saying anything. We can’t help you if we don’t know what’s going on! Here is what you should do and in what order.


If the Glitch Hasn’t Shut the Forums Down #

There are two types of glitches that we experience. One of them shuts the Forums down completely. With the other, you can still use Forums, even though it might hurt your experience with us. First, we will look at the latter: where you can still technically use the Forums, even if your experience is lessened or the glitch just makes you not want to use them.

When it comes to this kind of glitch, please try your best to help us resolve it on the Forums as best you can. Of course, don’t put your mental or physical health at risk! That will always come first! For example, if you experience light-sensitive epilepsy and the glitch may cause you to have a seizure, avoid it at all costs. Or, if it’s triggering a traumatic memory, we will never expect you to ignore that. In those cases, it may be best to speak to us on the Discord or send us one email.

However, if you can still use the Forums well enough, we have plenty of things that you can do right on the site to help us help you. So, please see if you can run through these steps if you have a problem that doesn’t break the Forums. It helps us a great deal if you follow this order! It means that we won’t get overwhelmed by messages about the same issue or something that isn’t even a glitch.

This is essential. If we are overwhelmed with messages, we can’t act efficiently when a problem comes up. So, we need you to help us by not dogpiling us with messages, no matter how kind you are when you send them. Follow these steps for the best results.

Step One: Identify the Glitch #

First of all, you need to be able to work out what the glitch is. If you can’t explain it, we can’t help you and you can’t talk about it with others! This step is crucial in helping to identify your problem and find out if it’s actually a glitch or issue, or if it’s something on your side.

You need to gather as much information as you can for us! The more you give us, the better. If you can send a screenshot or two through, that will be of great help to us! Or, even better: why not try a screen recording? That way, we can see what you see. This will help us to find out where the problem is, and also to make us empathise with your situation a little bit better.

So, first try to see if you can explain your glitch in simple words. Find out as much as you can about when and how it comes up. When did it start? What do you click on? Do you have to click on anything at all? Where are you on the Forums when it happens? Does it end when you click off that section of the Forums? Or does it persist? Do you see any error codes that come up? Please note those down! We need them! And also: does this glitch require you to refresh the Forums all the time to keep them working properly? That’s super important for us to know!

The more info you give us, the easier it is for us to talk to you about it. If I have no clue what you’re saying, it’s going to be a big waste of both of our time.

Step Two: Ask Other People if They Have the Same Issue #

This step is very important in the process of finding and getting rid of glitches. It helps us to find out if the problem is with the Forums or if there has been an issue specifically with the data making it’s way to your device. This isn’t about a blame game. Rather, it’s about being able to give you the best help that we can.

So, you need to ask other people if they have the same problem. If they do, see if there is anything in common between your experiences. Are you using the same browser or device? Are you part of the same trust level or group on the Forums? This is all useful information for us to find out more!

My advice is to start a thread in the Site Feedback section. At this point, please don’t tag the Heads. Just ask others if they have the same problem as you!

If no one else is having the issue, you need to fix your device. The next step will help you with this.

There have been way to many times when people blame me for an issue that only their device is experiencing. As much as I understand how frustrating it is, if you’re the only one with the problem, it’s very hard for me to help you. In fact, there’s a 99.99% chance that it’s something on your side that you need to sort out. And so, it takes a toll on my already fragile mental health when I’m getting blamed for a glitch that no one else is having. Please help me!


Step Three: Refresh, Update and Clear #

Sometimes all you need to fix things is to refresh the Forums or close the browser completely and re-open it. Maybe you need to clear your cache and cookies. Other times, it’s just that the web browser you’re using isn’t compatible with the Forums because of an update (I recommend using Chrome or Safari). Or, your device needs an update! All of those things can cause you to notice glitches on the Forums that have nothing to do with us.

So, please swallow your pride. We want to help you as much as we can, here! If you can fix the problem on your own, that’s great! And if you think the problem is on your side and you need help to fix it, I am so happy to help! In fact, it’s a nice experience! Much better than one person with an issue demanding I fix it. Come to the Heads if you need help and you’ve gone through the advice on this doc.

If you have gone through step two and lots of people have the same glitch, you can pretty much skip this step. Clearly, the issue is not on your side! So, don’t worry about it! Although, it’s good to know these things for yourself. They could help you with another site at another time!

Here are a few things that you can do to help with the situation.

Clearing Your Cache and Cookies #

Many, many glitches can be solved by clearing your cache and your cookies. You see, sometimes we have a glitch that fixes itself pretty quickly. When this happens, your browser cache can save broken versions of some of the assets and features of the Forums on your browser. Things are now back to normal on our end, but you’re still seeing the broken version because your cache has saved parts of the Forums.

Your cache is super helpful on a good day! It slows down the time it takes for everything to load. If your browser has a copy of thumbnails, for example, then you don’t need to load them again! But on a bad day, it can just make a glitch last longer for you than it needs to.

One time, the company that runs our server, DigitalOcean, had a problem with its storage space. When this happened, it caused a glitch where no one could see profile pictures or any images that had been posted on the Forums! We managed to fix the issue pretty quickly, but then users needed to clear their cache so that their browser wasn’t saving broken versions of the pictures. If they didn’t, it would look like the glitch lasted a lot longer than it actually did for them.

So how do you clear your cache and cookies? Well, it depends on the browser. Google has a great guide on how you can do it for Chrome. If you use Safari, I find that this Macworld article is super useful. If you use another browser, then just look it up on your search engine.

Other Things You Can Do #

Here are some other things that you can do if you are the only user with a glitch. They can help us a lot! Even if you can’t solve the issue on your own, they can help you to give us more information on the glitch so that we have all the info we need to research.

  • Restart the Forums.
  • Close and re-open the app or browser.
  • Check if your device, app or browser needs updating.
  • Restart your device.
  • Try using the Forums on incognito or private mode.
  • Check if you have the issue on other sites.
  • Try a different browser.
  • Turn off (or on) your wifi to check if it’s a problem with filters.
  • Try a VPN, or turn off your VPN.
  • Check your device for viruses.

Basically, play around with your device and browser. Do everything you can to fix the issue on your own! You can even help us out by sending any info you’ve found for yourself. If you want the glitch to be fixed quicker, you can always search if people on other Discourse forums are having the same problem.

Also, make sure that you are not banned or suspended! This is not a glitch. If either of these is true for you, you will get an email telling you what rules you broke to result in this punishment. Of course, there may be cases where users feel as though our decision was the wrong one. If that’s the case with you, please use our appeals process to find out what you can do to restore your account.


Step Four: Tag the Heads in a Site Feedback Thread About the Glitch #

If you have tried all of the other steps, this is when it’s time to get the Heads involved. If you followed step two, you should have already made a thread about the glitch. So, please only tag us there once at first. Allow the person who made the thread to tag us, unless they have asked you to do so or they are offline for a long time. Then, you can keep discussing the issue on the thread.

Please use the @Heads tag and don’t tag me, @ShanniiWrites, individually. As much as I would love to help you, we have two other amazing Heads who can also be of service to you when I’m not online. Plus, I have been bombarded with criticism of the site or Forums recently, and it has taken a toll on my mental health. I do check the Site Feedback section from time to time, and I do read things that the Heads get tagged in, so you don’t have to worry there!

Don’t create a PM with only me to talk about a glitch. Please don’t message or @ me on the Forums or Discord about glitches or typos. My DMs and Discord are always open if you just want to chat! But we have over 700 people on the Forums. If you all start messaging me about issues, it will be very stressful and overwhelming. I also find that some users tend to pick apart a lot of the things going on with the site and Forums. This is super helpful, but don’t harass me with it.

The Heads will let me know if they can’t solve the problem and I will get on it straight away!

Step Five: Wait Before Tagging the Heads Again #

Usually, the glitch will have been fixed by this point. However, the Heads are only human and we do forget or overlook things from time to time! So, you may need to remind us.

If we have replied to or liked your Site Feedback thread, please wait two weeks before you remind us. We might not reply with words, so watch out for that like! It means we’re working on it but can’t reply for some reason. If you haven’t had a like or reply on your thread, please wait one week before you remind us. This will give us time to see if we can solve the issue and stops us from feeling bombarded with messages about the same problem.

It could also be the case that we’re waiting for a reply from DigitalOcean, Discourse or another company. If that’s the case, your reminder could prompt us to chase up the progress of the issue. We want to fix the glitch as much as you do! So, we are doing our best behind the scenes to get things sorted as soon as we can.

This is for the same reason as before: I really appreciate your enthusiasm, but it does create a lot of stress for us when you tag us too often. I don’t have a team of people who can filter the negative feedback, criticism and demands for a glitch to be fixed. So, when I’m tagged multiple times about glitch, or one person has several things they want to criticise all at once, it can very quickly feel like I’m being bombarded or harassed.

I have depression and anxiety and I tend to dissociate when under stress, so having many people contact me all at once like that can lower my productivity.

Step Six: If the Heads or Other Users Have Confirmed That the Problem Is Fixed, Refresh Again #

So, we on the Head team have said that the glitch is fixed. Or, other users have said that the issue is solved for them. Well, that probably means that we did, in fact, fix the issue. So, it’s time for you to check your own device again. Please try to what we suggested in step three once again. Just make sure that you close and then re-open your browser once you’ve cleared your cache.

Again, this isn’t about blaming you or your device for the glitch. There was something that needed to be fixed in the first place! Now it’s time for you to make your device give the Forums a fresh start. Take the time to do what you can to fix the glitch on your side of things. So, we can do our best to work together to make sure that the Forums work well for you.

Please be cooperative, though. Don’t expect us to fix the Forums if you have done none of the work on your own. We can’t fix issues with your device, but we will try our best to help you through the process.


If the Glitch Has Shut the Forums Down #

You might find that a glitch makes the Forums shut down completely. If this is the case, you won’t be able to use the Site Feedback section to tell us about it. If this is the case, the Discord is a great way to tell us about the problem. To be honest, I’d love it if you could join the Discord server, anyway! It really does help the Forums.

A glitch that shuts the Forums down is extremely urgent. More so than every other type of glitch, in fact! So, feel free to @ me and Muu once and only once. If we don’t reply in time, it might be a good idea to tell the other heads, too. Just make sure not to bombard me or Muu. If one person has already tagged us in the Discord server, don’t do it again. Just wait for us to reply!

After all, time zones exist. Sometimes, I’m asleep or at work when the glitch happens. So, sending me message after message isn’t going to help anything. In fact, it’s going to do the opposite! It’s going to take me a lot longer to sort through the messages and realise what the problem is – and I don’t want to become overwhelmed by the messages! Just send me one tag explaining the issue and make sure that you check beforehand to see if anyone’s already done it.

I hope that we don’t have too many glitches in the future! But if we do, I hope you are now more informed on how to handle it well.

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