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Common Knowledge: Bug reports

Common Knowledge, WikiThing, HelpThing

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Oct 10, 2007, 5:04am Top

Here's a topic to hang bug reports on.

Oct 10, 2007, 5:16am Top

I don't seem to be able to get the gender "radio buttons" to work. At least not for the couple of authors I've tried. (IE6 on Windows 2000 Professional in case it matters.)

Otherwise, I think that any hope of productivity on my part has now gone out the window :)

Oct 10, 2007, 5:25am Top

Can you try them again now? I just made a change.

Oct 10, 2007, 5:26am Top

Never mind. That didn't fix it. This is a new bug, so I should be able to find the cause in a few...check back.

Oct 10, 2007, 5:36am Top

Not really a bug, but an annoying feature: the date format is going to confuse people. When editing, we're told it's month/day/year, but that's not clear in the normal view. How about having the the month shown by name?

Oct 10, 2007, 5:36am Top

Oh and another small thing:

The "History page" has a title of "Fwiki Data Browser" which shows up on the browser bar. Which could be confusing.

Oct 10, 2007, 5:40am Top

Ah..thanks. I'll fix that. The date thing is another whole conversation...and one that we've had a few times around here. I'll let Tim give his input here.

Oct 10, 2007, 5:42am Top

We're keeping the date as text for now. PHP has good functions to convert it, if we need to. So we're suggesting an input type, but we're not "doing" it. You can't do dates correctly withtout a LOT more overhead, asking users to fill in all manner of boxes. A system that handles some modern personality is not equipped to handle a medieval one, let alone Homer or Zoroaster.

Oct 10, 2007, 5:51am Top

Named months are shown in catalog, e.g. Entry Date, and (differently) in lists of posts. How about going for consistency (and SPOT).

Oct 10, 2007, 5:52am Top

Regarding the dates, would be possible then to define them as either US or European or whatever by fiat and mention that beside the field.

Otherwise I can imagine a mixture of both occurring very quickly.

Of course I would suggest the European way, but I'm perfectly happy to write them "backwards", if they'll then be uniform.

Oct 10, 2007, 5:53am Top

That was the intention of the hint text:

"12/30/2007", "12/30/1080 BCE", "5th-6th c. BCE", "1650"

There is no 12/30 in European format...

Oct 10, 2007, 5:54am Top

Yeah, I know. But as jimroberts said, you only see that when you go to edit it.

Oct 10, 2007, 5:55am Top

We understand that, but it's shown only on edit - the normal reader will often not instantly know which format is being used.

Edited: Oct 10, 2007, 6:37am Top

How can I add in more than one place of residence for an author..? Dickens had several residences, but even when I click the edit pencil icon I can't seem to add extra places


I love this new feature, BTW! :)

Oct 10, 2007, 6:38am Top

What browser and OS are you on. The + adds easily on mine.

Oct 10, 2007, 6:39am Top

The gender "radio button" seems to be working for me now. So whatever you did worked.


Oct 10, 2007, 6:40am Top

I don't have an + option, using IE 7. Let me try it in Firefox...

Oct 10, 2007, 6:42am Top

Oh, wouldn't ya just know it... works perfectly in Firefox! I am dislking IE 7 more & more each day ;p

Oct 10, 2007, 6:44am Top

Weird. You don't have the + button?

Oct 10, 2007, 6:46am Top

Some items don't have a + button. But, if it is the same item type then that is not supposed to be happening.

I'll check on it.

Edited: Oct 10, 2007, 6:51am Top

I just checked. In IE6 Windows 2000 Prof., there is no "+" button for any of the relevant author fields. It's there for all of the work fields.

Incidentally, I do want to say that I really like the feature, in spite of the amount of times I've posted in this thread. (I'm supposed to be working and ended up procrastinating by looking at everything.)

Oct 10, 2007, 6:53am Top

In IE7 I get + options for works only, but not authors. In Firefox I get + options for both.

Oct 10, 2007, 6:58am Top

21 & 22> No, no. The input is good to have. I only have a windows box part of the day (my wife uses it), so good windows bug reports are welcome.

Oct 10, 2007, 7:03am Top

>23 conceptDawg: But at 6:58am you'd probably rather be sleeping right now (having stayed up all night working on this)!

Oct 10, 2007, 7:07am Top

eh...I'm central time so it's "only" 5:58 here. But yes, sleep is approaching me quickly.

Oct 10, 2007, 7:23am Top

I've been editing dates in an unambiguous format like 10OCT2007, and I've just got a slapped wrist from Tim. I'd like to say that I'm unhappy with having to use a strange format, as I'm sure I'll stop looking at the hints in time and just default to the format I know, if I'm forced to use a number-only format.

Oct 10, 2007, 7:24am Top

I suspect a bunch of people won't be able to read the hints, either, since they are so pale.

Edited: Oct 10, 2007, 7:53am Top

I've fooled with it a bit, and had zero problems so far. Very cool.

I saw the hints right away, but I'd read the blog post, and so was expecting them...

Minor glitchy thing: all the disambig notices* I've looked at have 3 blank lines just before the final line of the notice (see John Green, Arthur Meier Schlesinger). When I click edit to fix it, they're not there, though.

*These transferred over very nicely!

Oct 10, 2007, 7:57am Top

It would be good to get the + button on IE6 on the authors page - save Tim having to correct my messed up entries!

I would personally like to see the hint text under "Places of Residence" for authors to start with "Boston, MA, USA" rather than "Boston, MA" as I have no idea where MA is & would hope to see consistent treatment across all countries - getting this right now will save a lot of editing later!

Oct 10, 2007, 7:59am Top

Minor glitchy thing: all the disambig notices* I've looked at have 3 blank lines just before the final line of the notice ...

This is some sort of vertical-align issue.

Oct 10, 2007, 8:08am Top

>30 timspalding: This is some sort of vertical-align issue.

You talking to me, or yourself? (i.e., my problem, or LT's?) :)

Oct 10, 2007, 8:08am Top

Should members' work descriptions be visible to visitors? I tried adding a description to the work Damon Knight's Collection 2. Neue Science Fiction Stories, then tried to look at it from a machine I'm not logged on at, but it doesn't show up. (Ubuntu 5.10, Firefox 1.0.7!)

Oct 10, 2007, 8:13am Top

Same in the descriptions field (blank space between first and last lines).

Oct 10, 2007, 8:15am Top

Ah...yes. those should show up even if you are not logged in. Good catch. I'll see if I can track that one down quickly.

Oct 10, 2007, 8:39am Top

I was playing around and was able to edit one author's birth date ... now, however, whenever I click on the "edit" button on an author's fields, I just get bounced up to the top of the page ... I can't actually edit.

Cool feature, though.

Edited: Oct 10, 2007, 8:52am Top

I am unable to edit the common knowledge on the author pages. The page loads without errors then when I click on the pencil to edit, it jumps to the top of the page appends the # to the page address and I get an error (as the icon in the left corner of the status bar).

Line: 85
Char: 3
Error: 'attributes.hashistory.nodeValue' is null or not an object
Code: 0
url: http://www.librarything.com/author/drurykeith

I'm using IE6 on XP. I tried deleting history, cookies and files.
This also occurs on pages that already have information.

Oct 10, 2007, 8:44am Top

Descriptions should now be visible to non-logged in users. (oops...missed a closing tag in the code).

Oct 10, 2007, 8:44am Top

I'll work on the vertical alignment issue once I've had some sleep.

Oct 10, 2007, 8:49am Top

I'm getting the same, though without the error message, it just jumps.

I'm also using IE6 on XP.

I was doing fine before I stopped for lunch! so it was working about an hour and a half ago.

Oct 10, 2007, 8:49am Top


Oct 10, 2007, 8:57am Top

Yup, description shows up OK now. I've also tried Firefox in Suse 10.0, that's OK too. I wanted to try an IE under Win98, but IE crashes whatever I do in LT. It's an IE5, though, I suppose you don't even try to support that.

Edited: Oct 10, 2007, 9:16am Top

I also cannot edit on IE6 - XP. When I click on the pencil, the picture on the computer screen just jumps to the top of the page.

ETA: This problem happens on the author pages, not on the work pages.

I now have to leave for work... :-(

It'll all be done when I get back home! ;-)

Edited: Oct 10, 2007, 9:23am Top

I have the same problem as SqueakyChu. IE6 and XP. I cannot edit anything.

Switched over to FF and it's working perfectly.

Oct 10, 2007, 9:26am Top

I can't get the pencil thingies to work at all on the author pages. IE6, XP Professional. Seems to be okay on the work pages, though.

Edited: Oct 10, 2007, 9:48am Top

Pencil works fine on author pages with IE7 XP. No + box as already mentioned.

It was workign fine a few moments ago - now i gt the jump feature as described!

Oct 10, 2007, 10:09am Top

Re the Jumping Feature - I've installed Firefox (been meaning to for ages, thanks for the kicker) and I can now add data to authors again. Still not working under IE6 though.

Oct 10, 2007, 10:27am Top

Same problem everyone else is describing with jumping to the top in IE6 on XP.

I guess I was not meant to play with this from the office.

Oct 10, 2007, 11:07am Top

Damn. I was looking forward to playing with this.

So far (using antiquated IE 5.5) all I've managed to do is to "delete the previous content." :(((((

This may be one of those wonderful things, like adding a link on an author page, that I won't be able to do. (*sob*)

So... specifics. I looked at Hugo winners from the blog. I went to The Forever War, to add the 1976 Nebula to the awards. After numerous clicks on the pencil, IE error messages, being taken back to the top of the page, I finally got the field to open and saw a +. I typed in "Nebula (1976) below "Hugo 1976." I hit "Save." That deleted the Hugo entry, and added nothing.

I went back and tried again, adding both. Blank field, and the history again says that I "deleted the previous entry."

I tried (twice) adding an award for another work The Valdez Horses that had none listed. (At least I wouldn't delete anything.) It didn't show. The history says that I "deleted the previous content."

Btw, I'm not getting a little hand or other sign that "Save" is functional, but a click seems to do something --- maybe deleting!

Oct 10, 2007, 12:18pm Top

2 "I can't get the gender radio buttons to work"

Good. I can think of several authors who would be quite unhappy at being pigeonholed into either. Could we get a "Neither/Other" option?

Oct 10, 2007, 12:53pm Top

#48: myshelves
Have you a good reason not to install Firefox or Opera, anything really, rather than use IE? Are you using Win95?

Edited: Oct 10, 2007, 1:05pm Top

#50, Jim Roberts,

Thanks. Win98 Second. The main reasons, aside from technical incompetence, are:

- hardware; limited space and memory

- dial-up connection, making major downloads an all day treat IF they succeed

I hope to get a new computer, and DSL, before too long. I'll add another browser then.

Oct 10, 2007, 1:06pm Top

> 50

I don't know about myshelves, but many who are accessing LT on work computers don't have that option. What is installed on work computers is generally strictly regulated, and installation of non-approved programs may subject someone to discipline (or worse).

Oct 10, 2007, 1:08pm Top

> 52


Oct 10, 2007, 1:12pm Top

>52 lilithcat:

Portable Firefox?

Oct 10, 2007, 1:17pm Top

> 54

That would be one I could get in to even more trouble than by installing firefox.

Oct 10, 2007, 1:22pm Top

Looks like the fields on the Author pages are not working. Could not add any data to any of the fields. Had no problem on the works pages...seems restricted to the author pages.

Oct 10, 2007, 1:36pm Top

Same jumping problem in author pages as described by others (IE6), but somehow I managed to show up in the history for author disambiguation for Michael Craft. I did try to edit out a large space that has shown up in the notice, but couldn't do anything with it.

Oct 10, 2007, 3:09pm Top

I'm working on the IE problems right now. I probably won't be able to get a fix out for another couple of hours. But help is on the way.

57> All descriptions have a strange space at the bottom. It's probably not a space in the data, it's a styling issue that I'm also working on.

Oct 10, 2007, 4:01pm Top

> 58

Faster than the speed of light! (Well, almost.) Not an hour later, and all is well with XP Pro and IE 6. Thanks!

Oct 10, 2007, 4:03pm Top

lilithcat, you beat me to it!
Thanks conceptDawg!

Oct 10, 2007, 4:38pm Top

GREAT! Believe it or not I actually made those bug fixes without having my windows machine to test on. I thought they might work but I wasn't sure.

Needless to say, it couldn't have made it worse. :)

Edited: Oct 10, 2007, 4:47pm Top

The "what" link on works pages (e.g. http://www.librarything.com/commonknowledge/characternames/Wednesday) links to .../commonknowledge/worknumber instead of .../work/worknumber

Oct 10, 2007, 4:46pm Top

Sorry, I'll fix that. Just making changes as quickly as possible.

Edited: Oct 10, 2007, 5:00pm Top

No problem! Bugs happen (and don't I know it!). Thanks for the amazingly quick response!
(and almost as quick fix)

Oct 10, 2007, 4:52pm Top

62> same with authors, I've noticed.

Oct 10, 2007, 5:02pm Top

Should be fixed now.

Oct 10, 2007, 5:13pm Top

Here's a strange one...
http://www.librarything.com/commonknowledge/placesofresidence/%22Hamburg%2C+Deut... shows the author Ildikó von Kürthy. When you click the link on his name you get to Ildikó von Kürthy ... which doesn't show any Common Knowledge. (I was going to remove the quotes.)

Oct 10, 2007, 5:16pm Top

That is because there is probably some Common Knowledge entered in a language not your own. You only see CK that is in your language on the author and work pages.

This is something that we are thinking long and hard about. We're not real sure what to do about it yet.

Oct 10, 2007, 6:36pm Top

I broke it...
If you look at http://www.librarything.com/commonknowledge/placesofresidence/Marion%2C+Indiana
I managed to create a line with no author. I did this from
I thought I was editing the author page but it was some mystery page.

Oct 10, 2007, 6:43pm Top

ah..ok. Thanks. I'll check out that loop hole and try and close it.

Oct 10, 2007, 7:11pm Top

No luck here, as expected. :-(
Just managed to delete some more nonexistent content by trying to add awards.

Oct 10, 2007, 7:33pm Top

Is this only happening on authors?

It looks like it is happening if you are on an author page that doesn't correspond to an actual author in the system (which is actually pretty easy to do just by adding characters to the end of the author URL)

Oct 10, 2007, 7:34pm Top

Also, post a link to the browse page showing the data with an empty slot and I'll delete it.

Oct 10, 2007, 7:47pm Top

Yay! This is definitely addictive!

Now that I can see it, KUDOS on the auto-completion in the fields. That will definitely help to keep some of this info aligned across author/works.

Oct 10, 2007, 7:55pm Top

Thank you. The kudos do mean a lot.
The autocompletion is probably my favorite UI element. It took a lot of work to get it "right" and working the same across all browsers (read: IE).

Now we just hope that it doesn't bring us to our knees from a server/database standpoint. If it can deal with today's traffic it is probably going to be ok.

We're getting close to 10,000 edits to the CK data today!

Edited: Oct 10, 2007, 8:36pm Top

I'm not sure if this is exactly the right place but it's affecting an Award page. If I search for "Monster Blood Tattoo" I get 6 instances of the first book, Foundling.
The author's D.M. Cornish page has no extra combinable works.

I added an award to one which was not on the author's page and now the award page http://www.librarything.com/commonknowledge/awards/Aurealis%20Award

has a blank for What. I also added the same award to the combined copy, which was fine.

Edited: Oct 10, 2007, 8:48pm Top

Re: the autocompletion - I'm not having a very good time with it this evening. Earlier in the day it was working fine for me, but now that there are more hits when I first start typing, it's acting up a bit. I come to the end of what I want to type, and the list just keeps refreshing, and moving around. This is on FF on XP.

ETA: This was happening for about an hour but seems to have let up and is running much smoother for me.

Edited: Oct 10, 2007, 9:54pm Top

I seem to have spotted some odd behaviour over at "http://www.librarything.com/commonknowledge/awards/Hugo"

Firstly, there's a line saying "Today: 6:27 pm
Lois M Bujold
Hugo (1991) Best Novel: The Vo… awards and honors : author eng Jvstin", but I can't see it anywhere on "http://www.librarything.com/author/bujoldloismcmaster"

Secondly, I can see some character name entries sneaking in there.

Oct 10, 2007, 10:17pm Top

78: That is all acting as designed. I know the URL says that you are looking at /awards/Hugo but you are really just looking at /Hugo (any data item that = "Hugo"). That's a relic of the development process, but one that might come back into play as the data gets larger. We'll sort it out.

As for your first problem, I'll check it out. It's most likely a different language and there is an error in the language presentation code. For the history view.

Edited: Oct 10, 2007, 10:51pm Top

Ah...here is the reason for the missing entry.
It's not really missing but it has been entered into one of the combined author pages here:
The master author page is here:

I'll have to make a check and not show the CK block on combined author pages. Does that sound reasonable?

Edit: There done. CK blocks are no longer available for author pages that have been combined. They are only available on master author pages.

Oct 11, 2007, 1:01am Top

>80 conceptDawg:

Good. I am not at all sure that every LT member is familiar with the combination process, so they maybe not realize that there is a master author page somewhere.

Oct 11, 2007, 3:24am Top

A small buggy thing: When entering data on the author's page, for some reason a carriage return does not submit information in the date fields, although it does work for all the other fields.

Oct 11, 2007, 7:54am Top

Dumb question of the day:

I'm using outdated hardware & browser, so I expect to have problems. But I'm surprised about the problems that others with newer or very new systems are experiencing.

Isn't IE by far the most prevalent (not popular) browser, the one that comes installed on most of the computers that Joe and Jane Nontech buy? If that's correct, I'd expect that a site aimed at a wide audience would design features to work right on recent IE versions from the start. In the occasional case in which I've had problems using a web site, it has been because a more recent version of IE was required, not because I needed to get a different browser. I can just imagine telling some of my technophobic friends who have used computers for years, without even knowing what the c drive is, to get Firefox in order to use a site. :-) They turn the computer on, click on AOL or whatever, and make their airline reservations, without a clue about browsers.

Am I wrong about the browser usage numbers? Or missing something else that factors in?

Oct 11, 2007, 8:01am Top

About "Master" authors:

It would be helpful if the list that comes up when you search for an author indicated in some way (preferably visible on all browsers *grin*) which is the "master" author, and which names have been combined under that master. Oddly, the first listing for John Doe almost always turns out to be an empty author page, the name having been combined with the 2nd or 3rd John Doe on the list. Such an indication would be especially helpful for combining "Doe John" with the "master" author.

Oct 11, 2007, 8:22am Top

#83 MyShelves

Internet Explorer is not really compatible with standards like CSS. It takes some work to get it right ;).

Oct 11, 2007, 8:28am Top

On the author page, it used to have a line near the top that said something like "You have xx works by this author" then a link to go directly to your list of books. I don't see this anymore. The only way I find to do this now is to go down to the bottom of the page and find my user name amongst the masses and click from there.

Can we put it back at the top?

Oct 11, 2007, 8:36am Top

#85 sophies_choice,

I'm beginning to figure that out. But does it answer my question? If most people have IE, does it make sense to use something (even if that something is much superior to the alternative) that isn't compatible?

Disclaimer: I own no stock in Bill G's company, which I regard as the computer world's version of the Borg. But love it or hate it, it is my impression that most computer users have been assimilated. :-)

Edited: Oct 11, 2007, 2:18pm Top


Well, yeah, it's strange. But a major fact is that it is preinstalled on a computer together with Windows. So most people just use Internet Explorer because they are not familiar with other browsers or don't dare to install one.

Second: a simple website (without javascript, Ajax, etc. etc.) is in most cases viewed OK in all browsers. When it becomes a more difficult site (like LT, CNN,... the bigger sites) it becomes also more difficult to get things correct in a lot of browsers. If you take care to make it look perfect in Internet Explorer, some things might be broken in Firefox. If a site looks good in Firefox, Netscape and Opera, it usually also does in Internet Explorer. It's certainly not easy to ensure that all visitors get to see a nicely build website.

Oct 11, 2007, 2:37pm Top

The easiest way to write a complicated website is to write it "correctly" - according to the various standards - and then fix what doesn't work in browers that don't work right.

Unfortunately, this means that things are more likely to go wrong in IE. Just because it's the most common, doesn't mean it works best.

Oct 11, 2007, 4:18pm Top

80: Thanks for your reply to my comments.

I seem to have found another bug now. I was trying to add "James Tait Black memorial prize (1989)" under awards for the following work: http://www.librarything.com/work/120092

However, it doesn't seem to take, even though I'm doing nothing different to the many other times I've added award details. I'm stumped.

Oct 11, 2007, 4:27pm Top

CK suddenly is not retaining my saved entries on author pages. I'm using IE6 & XP Pro.

Oct 11, 2007, 4:49pm Top

I think the site was hammered for a little while...

Oct 11, 2007, 5:08pm Top

"Looking perfect" is one thing, but having the functions work is another. (Isn't it?) Aren't there ways of doing things that work with all browers, even if they aren't as "sexy"? Maybe the question is what % of users it is acceptable to have in a regular state of frustration? I'm glad I don't have to figure it out, or understand what is involved!

An idea --- probably a stupid one, but . . . . One genealogy site that I use provides an option to switch to "text only." It is UGLY, but the site owners (not my favorite people; they charge a pretty penny & also bombard members with flashing ads; and they send form-letter replies to feedback) must have had a compelling reason (too many people unable to use the regular version?) to make it available. I guess any dual system on LT would require cloning conceptDawg, huh? :-)

Oct 11, 2007, 5:23pm Top

The skipping to the top of the page thing that a few people were mentioning earlier is still happening to me on work pages so I can't add to them, but not on author pages.

Oct 11, 2007, 6:15pm Top

Yes, supporting IE is where I spend a bit of my time. I dream of a world without the atrocity that is IE. Yes, those are my dreams. Obviously, I don't get out much.

The problems that people mentioned with IE (no + sign) were ironed out within the first hour of going live with CK (other than the one I mention below....but see why). They cropped up because of another change that I made after going live. Eh..those things happen when trying to make bug fixes as quickly as possible.

I'll take a look at the skipping to the top thing. I have not experienced it (FF and Safari on Mac, IE 6 on windows) so it's hard to debug.

Oct 11, 2007, 9:25pm Top

> 95

Have you looked at the previous 1.xxx version of FF? I had the same problem and decided to upgrade to the new 2.xx FF and it stopped skipping to the top.

Oct 11, 2007, 9:28pm Top

Yes I have to say that while I hate having only the American format date on an international website on principle, it's more than that this time - because it's really confusing. I'm very aware of the different formats and still have trouble entering these correctly.

If it's too hard to support various formats first up you should really avoid the the ambiguous format and go for one that uses month names. Or have a gadget/widget/control to let the user choose.

And if you're going to use the ambiguous format anyway, you should definitely do sanity checking on the result. A month greater than 12 is always a sign the user didn't notice they are entering a date in a foreign format.

Oct 11, 2007, 11:33pm Top

We are planning on adding more features to the controls of CK. One of those is a selector for date format (like the one in the catalog). Unfortunately time just wasn't our friend in this case. We changed the way were were handling dates at the very last moment. The previous way worked wonderfully, letting you enter dates in pretty much any format you wanted (text, numbers, "now", "yesterday", etc.). But there were technical issues that caused us to have to move away from that. But we didn't want to delay the launch of the entire feature just for the date issue.

We'll get it ironed out.

Oct 12, 2007, 2:07am Top

I'd like to put in a vote for the ISO standard date format (2007-01-01). We're going to need a worldwide standard some time, and it's the best way out of this mess. I now use it wherever I can. It also sorts nicely when I use it in filenames and such. And it can be abbreviated to 2007-01 if you only know the month.

Oct 12, 2007, 3:59am Top

99: That's a fine solution to the problem given the current status. I'll change the hint/help text, but people will have to go through and change the dates that are already in there to the ISO format. That will take a little time, but not too bad at this point.

Any takers?

Oct 12, 2007, 4:55am Top

100: I'll start ... as soon as the example dates are changed, so that people start putting new ones in using the standard format. (When you click on the pencil icon by a date field, the samples are still showing up in US date format.)

Oct 12, 2007, 5:28am Top

Applauds decision!! - and I can help out a bit.

Oct 12, 2007, 5:51am Top

There's a date format selector for the catalog? Where?

ISO date format for CK is far better than USA format, but I still think it's a pity that LT uses several different date formats.

Oct 12, 2007, 6:02am Top

Didn't Tim say he had an aversion to ISO standard dates in the dim and distant past?

Oct 12, 2007, 6:07am Top

> 103 : jimroberts : I think that must be the one on the book edit page. It sets a cookie - but AFAIK never looks at it again. At least it always shows me both options with the US one first ao I always re-select the European.

Oct 12, 2007, 6:13am Top

Thanks, GreyHead. I've never used the acquired/started/ended fields and don't normally scroll down that far, so I'd forgotten that option.

Edited: Oct 12, 2007, 7:56am Top

Someone on the blog suggested a good answer—I think—drop downs. They're the most restrictive.

This is going to irritate some people, but expecting regular people to put things in year-day-month (or is it month-day, I don't know and I work in computers for a living) seems pretty absurd to me. People aren't following directions now. Fortunately, most people don't NEED to follow direction because their automatic way of doing it works fine.

Asking people to put them in mm/dd/yyyy is certainly US-centered, but it's also going to require no thought for the 85% of members who are in the US. When your standard gets 85% of people without thinking, it's good. When virtually everyone has to think about it, it's a standard in name only.

Oct 12, 2007, 8:53am Top

The standard format yyyy-mm-dd makes so much more sense than any other (it's largest division to smallest, nobody does yyyy-dd-mm). If you look at the list at http://www.librarything.com/commonknowledge/ right now, you've got all the January dates together, within that you've got 01/02/1951 followed by 01/02/2000 and then 01/04/1920. Bare years sort someplace else entirely. The list might as well be random. With the yyyy-mm-dd format everything sorts together nicely, even if the exact date or month is unknown.

Even if you did put dropdowns of some sort in the interface, it would still make sense for it to be in the yyyy-mm-dd format.

Oct 12, 2007, 9:43am Top

I was going to suggest the yyyy-mm-dd format it's easy to understand easy to do AND it will sort correctly even as text!

Oct 12, 2007, 9:53am Top

>108 r.orrison: and 109

Yes, yyyy-mm-dd is the most logical way of formatting dates.

Oct 12, 2007, 10:08am Top

In one program I have, I can enter the info anywhichway in a date field, and it is converted to the selected standard format. Can't that be done here, with LT doing the selecting to keep the end result uniform & sortable?

I vote for the 12 Oct 2007 format. No chance of confusion, no looking to see where a person lives to try to discern whether he means Dec 10 or Oct 12. And having the numbers separated by the alpha characters for the month makes it easier to read correctly.

Oct 12, 2007, 10:11am Top

I vote for the 12 Oct 2007 format.

The problem with that format is that, like the "standard" American format, it doesn't sort nicely. I could see maybe 2007 Oct 12, but even that won't sort exactly since the months aren't alphabetical.

Oct 12, 2007, 10:27am Top

I'm also for the yyyy-mm-dd solution. Maybe people have to think but once you think about it you realize it makes sense - unlike the American format for non-Americans.
And yes maybe at the moment there are 85% American users but this is a decision that should hold in future - and the times they can be a-changing :-)
I'd love to see a lot more non-American users percentagewise - and I thought that was librarything's intention as well??

Oct 12, 2007, 10:28am Top

Isn't it a matter of "telling" the program how to sort it? I've never encountered a program that sorted dates by the alpha for the month! (I'm assuming that you are talking about a date field here, as I don't see how else you could get a good sort by date. No way you will get all users to follow one format in entering.)

Oct 12, 2007, 10:30am Top

114 > right now I believe it is being stored as text not a date...

Oct 12, 2007, 10:45am Top


Accurate sorting of dates stored as text sounds like mission impossible to me. People aren't going to follow a bunch of silly directions, like listing an author as lastname, first name. :-) Getting people to pay attention to a hint for entering dates in an unfamiliar format . . . .

Oct 12, 2007, 10:56am Top

#116 The difference with CK is that because it's common, we who care can fix the data entered by people who don't. If someone puts in "Fred Smith" as the author of their book, there's nothing we can do to get rid of it. If someone puts "17/1/2007" in a CK field, we can fix it.

Oct 12, 2007, 10:57am Top

>113 charmian:
charmian wrote: "And yes maybe at the moment there are 85% American users but this is a decision that should hold in future - and the times they can be a-changing :-)
I'd love to see a lot more non-American users percentagewise - and I thought that was librarything's intention as well??"

I was thinking that, too. When problems with the non-English characters and translations are solved and the site becomes genuinely international, who knows how the balance might shift?

Oct 12, 2007, 12:13pm Top

I'm going to have to come in on the side of the crazies here and against Tim (he'll get me for this later).

The ISO format is a much better solution for multiple reasons, sorting is probably the one that means the most to me. Less US-centric is also important, but less so, to me.

As for storing dates as text....this was a last minute decision based on a technical issue. We'll get that issue sorted out (hopefully very soon) and can transition dates back to a real date object instead of text. For all of you technically minded people, tell me what 1640-01-30 would turn into as a 32bit timestamp. Yeah. That's the issue. We're adding support for 64bit dates as soon as we can but it means rebuilding all of our server setups since they need to match each other. Not a small job.

Oct 12, 2007, 1:24pm Top

I'd also be pro-ISO dates, and if that makes me one of the crazies... well, y'all knew that already. Although my one concern is that the standard doesn't account for BCE dates; we'd need some agreement on notation there (although that still seems miles better than sorting out all the potential 2/4 vs. 4/2 confusions.)

Oct 12, 2007, 2:42pm Top

BCE dates are in the example text for dates:


I mentioned that we are going to transition back to a real date object....this is not necessarily the whole truth and I'm sorry for misrepresenting that. We'll have the OPTION to do that when we fix the technical glitches, but whether or not we actually do that is another conversation. But I'm hopeful.

Oct 12, 2007, 2:46pm Top

But I'm hopeful.

I'm glad to hear it -- I'm drooling at the thought of playing timeline visualization games with all this stuff.

Oct 12, 2007, 3:16pm Top

> As for storing dates as text....this was a last minute decision based on a technical issue.


That was what turned you. What turned me was the problems with incomplete and imperfect dates. How does March 1950 sort? 1950? Third century? Somewhere between 10th and 6th c. (Zoroaster)? 236/7 BC--as many Greek dates are because of differences in start-dates for year. Islamic AH dates? They're not a joke or anything; they're standard in historical context. How about just "summer"?

All these things are fine (except maybe 'summer').* We may try to calculate some "real" date at some time, but we need to accept anything and store this stuff as text.

Edited: Oct 12, 2007, 3:23pm Top

--> 123

We may try to calculate some "real" date at some time, but we need to accept anything and store this stuff as text.

I've begun to realize that, no matter how we enter and store information, once we reach a critical mass, the information sorts itself out and trends begin. It helps that we have prompts to remind us of the previous options we entered as well.

Oct 12, 2007, 3:45pm Top

Don't forget the different dates due to switch to the Gregorian calendar! You'd think that these problems would have been solved by now, at least in library or historical databases.

Oct 12, 2007, 4:10pm Top

I once borrowed a book containing early Russian chronicles from a friend. I did a fair amount of searching through various calendars, and never figured out the dating system they used!

Oct 12, 2007, 5:30pm Top

Another bug, which I initially posted in the reactions post:

On the character page for Holden Caulfield (http://www.librarything.com/commonknowledge/characternames/Holden%20Caulfield), two works are listed, both Catcher in the Rye. The two works--numbers 951 and 4053418, oddly--seem to be one and the same in some respects (they both have the same number of owners) and different in others (I only own the latter; one is listed on the character page as "Catcher in the Rye, The" and the other as "The catcher in the rye").

Oct 12, 2007, 6:31pm Top

I am having problems again with the autocomplete. I was just on a work page entering important locations and as I typed in the third field, the autocomplete began working on the second field after a long lag. I had already finished typing the third location before the dropdown would finally go away.

Oct 12, 2007, 6:34pm Top

I know what's happening with the autocomplete thing. I'll have to make a couple of changes but probably won't be able to test them and push them until Sunday or Monday.

Oct 12, 2007, 9:22pm Top

129: Cool. In the meantime, is there anything I can do to stop myself from having to stab at the mouse to get things to save?

Maybe I just need to breathe more.

Oct 12, 2007, 9:30pm Top

Breathing seems to help in most cases.
Are you on a dial-up connection? Just curious as to why the menu is taking so long to get to your machine (that's what's happening in this case....it requests the menu data and by the time that it gets back to you you've already moved on to the next field, but it still wants to show that menu to you. It's just trying to be helpful you see).

Oct 12, 2007, 10:45pm Top

No, DSL. I nearly always have a problem with autocomplete dropdowns - maybe I am typing too fast or something, generally nothing fills in until I am done typing in the field and then it doesn't want to go away.

However, when I complained about this last night, the site had been slow for a while, then speeded up in general and the autocomplete started behaving better. The site seems pretty slow for me now too and I'm having the autocomplete problem even worse (of course, it can only get worse, as more and more answers are added).

I understand that most people would want the autocomplete, and it helps keep the data more uniform (although it leads to things like "New York City, NY, USA" - ugh), but I really wish I could turn it off.

Oct 12, 2007, 11:01pm Top

I'll look into some options (an option to turn it off, having it actually work correctly, etc.)

I'm not at my office right now so that is why I can't get to everything as quickly as I normally would. But I'll see about figuring something out.

Edited: Oct 12, 2007, 11:25pm Top

Bad Behavior on combining authors after having entered Common Knowledge for one of them.

Since Tom Jefferson beat me to posting the latest winner of the Nobel Prize for Peace, I started thinking about other Nobel Laureates I know of. So I put in Linus Pauling with his two Nobels, and Marie Curie with her two. They only show up once in the Nobel Prize Common Knowledge list.

Then I added the Nobel prize for Karl von Frisch on one of his author pages. After that, I combined another author page with the one I'd added stuff to. The Common Knowledge was gone on the author page. So I combined the rest of the variations on Frisch's name, then re-entered the Nobel Prize info. When I doublechecked the listings of Nobel Prize winners, he is now listed twice. He only won once.

So those who should be listed twice, are each only listed once. And one who should be listed once, is listed twice.

Appears like it could use a look-see. (edited to add Touchstones)

Edited: Oct 12, 2007, 11:30pm Top

A bug with the count of who has contributed. http://www.librarything.com/talktopic.php?topic=21794 message 7 (Great idea btw and thanks for thinking of it).

I've made very few edits/contributions - not 119.
I note that when I add one character name to a list, ie I added Harry King to the already long list on The Truth by Terry Pratchett, I'm now listed as the final editor on all those character names. I think this adds to the count.
It also makes it appear that I was the final editor of all those characters when I was only was the last person to touch a subfield of that field. If this doesn't make sense, view the history of that work to see what I mean.

I like the idea of acknowledging contributors but this flaw means that someone who adds a couple of edits to existing contributions will always rise too high in the list with their inflated figures.

Any way to fix, or register more accurately who edited what?

Oct 12, 2007, 11:52pm Top

Yes, there are some problems with combination. I haven't gotten to correcting these in CK yet. Tim and I haven't talked about the best way to handle things quite yet. We'll get on it soon. I promise.

"makes it appear that I was the final editor of all those characters when I was only was the last person to touch a subfield of that field"
Ah...but by editing the field and NOT changing the other items you have, in a way, given them your seal of approval. That's how it was designed from the beginning and while we have the data for all of the past edits, we aren't storing diffs. That's one of the major differences between our versioning system and many other wiki systems (mediawiki, for instance). They store diffs, we just store the raw data. It allows the logic in our system to be much simpler and theoretically faster.

I'm now counting the archived data as part of the user stats also. That means that while a person CAN rise to the top by editing large sets of fields he/she is not taking away from the original contributers stats by doing so.

Oct 13, 2007, 4:16am Top

>136 conceptDawg:, Thanks for clarifying. Now I understand how the numbers work.

Oct 14, 2007, 2:42pm Top

Amazon descriptions.

Did I hear that they were supposed to be de-duped (based on some near match criteria)?

If so it doesn't seem to have worked for Forty Signs Of Rain which has 3 descriptions which are virtually identical.

Oct 16, 2007, 12:20am Top

Most of the time, when clicking on the pencil to edit common knowledge on a book page, my browser merely jumps me back to the top of the page rather than going into edit mode. Is this happening to anyone else?

Oct 16, 2007, 6:28am Top

>but it's also going to require no thought for the 85% of members who are in the US

I'm intrigued as to where this statistic comes from. I can't find anywhere on my profile or account settings where my location is specified (it's blank), so how is this derived? Is it just a %age of those who have completed the location field?

Oct 16, 2007, 6:49am Top

>140 bduguid:. I suspect it's based on IP address.
Reason for guess: I've seen talk topics from people in other countries who log into LT and see a highlighted section asking if they wish to view in their countries language instead.
One of the posters was US based and only noticed it when they visited Europe...I doubt they had edited their profile location info...:-)

Oct 16, 2007, 9:40am Top

>140 bduguid:, 141 -- I think that's right, my suggested language on the front page changes as I travel (I notice it because it always offers me to switch to French since I live in Canada -- lately it has offered me Norwegian and then nothing (when I was in England)).

Oct 16, 2007, 2:55pm Top

I found a little bug

the book descriptions do not display the white space properly, cr do not show up, it's just one big paragraph, or are we supposed to use tags?

Edited: Oct 17, 2007, 4:04am Top

<br> tags don't work either, or at least, they didn't when I tried a couple of days ago.

Edited: Oct 17, 2007, 11:18am Top

Suddenly hitting "enter" when finished entering information (in the "Awards and Nominations" fields for a work) is not submitting the information. This has caused me to have to back up and re-submit on a few works because I didn't notice it was doing that.

edit: now that I've posted this, it's working just fine. I'll re-post if it happens again.

Oct 17, 2007, 11:32am Top

I can only get the enter key to submit information on the Book pages, not on the Author pages.

Oct 17, 2007, 3:50pm Top

Thanks for the info. I'll look into it.

Oct 18, 2007, 11:35pm Top

Are you all fiddling with how gender is handled in CK?

I've managed wind up with two genders (male and female) on Shannon Hale's author page. Unfortunately, that's not what I want. I fat fingered the initial setting, and made it male rather than female. I went back to change it, and wound up with a second gender entry. Female this time. Unfortunately, I can't see a way to remove one of the entries.

Any advice on straightening this out?

Oct 19, 2007, 12:24am Top

I'm not working on gender. Interesting problem. I'll take a look.

Oct 19, 2007, 9:35am Top

>145 philosojerk:, using enter to submit, and saving info in general

I've figured out what the problem is here. Sometimes the act of "saving" is lagging a lot - so that whether I hit the enter key, or actually press the "save" button, I go to check on the next piece of info, then come back to the original window, and the info has still not saved. As a result, I navigate to the next page without realizing the information hasn't been submitted yet. I'm not sure what is causing it, but it's getting to the point where sometimes it is taking a full minute for the data to be saved and allow me to navigate on to the next work.

Oct 19, 2007, 9:38am Top

>150 philosojerk: I was having the same issue yesterday. It finally got to the point where I'd add only a piece or two of information, then save. Over and over. Big old PITA.

Oct 19, 2007, 9:48am Top

I've actually been wondering if this is the real problem I was having with the dropdowns. When they wouldn't go away and save, was it because the dropdowns were stuck or the save was really really slow? (Of course, that doesn't explain why they sometimes appear at the upper left corner.) I can't decide but there is a definite lag with saving even when there is no dropdown problem.

Oct 19, 2007, 12:32pm Top

Tim recently turned the Members with your books feature back on which I believe was causing performance problems for a while.

Oct 19, 2007, 12:42pm Top

>153 jjwilson61: that's not it, because I've been encountering this for a few days, and he only turned that feature back on this morning.

Oct 19, 2007, 12:58pm Top

Well, it was last night in my time zone, so it could have been Morphidae's problem.

Oct 19, 2007, 3:03pm Top

We've been having some fairly significant performance problems over the last few days. We're trying to trace the problem but it doesn't seem to be related to CK in any way.

We're on the case though. Hopefully things will speed up quickly.


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