This is more of a public service announcement than a regular blog post. It is intended to draw attention to a problem, in the hope that doing so will lead to a solution.
The problem is that I’m unable to leave comments on certain blogs in the Blogspot/Blogger domain. The problem is not with most such blogs, but only with a few of them. Details follow.
[Update: the only solution I've found is to use Internet Explorer instead of Firefox. See the comments section beneath this post for more information.]
[Update #2: Some commenters - Gejba, Kara - have reported that enabling third party cookies solved the problem. I could have sworn that I had third party cookies enabled for session, but on double-checking I find that I didn't, so that could well be the answer. Anyway, I think that anything worth saying has probably been said by now, so I'm disabling further comments.]
I’ve never used any blogging platform other than WordPress, so I don’t know how they work from the administrator’s point of view. However, I’ve noticed that people using Blogspot have a variety of options for the enabling of comments. Whether I am able to leave a comment on a given Blogspot blog depends on the commenting form the owner has selected.
On most Blogspot blogs, comments are submitted through a form such as the following. I can leave comments just fine on these blogs; they do not present a problem.
On others, a similar form appears in a separate window. These do not present a problem either.
My problem is with those Blogspot blogs in which the commenting field looks like this. I’m sorry, but if your blog is one of these, then it appears that I cannot leave a comment.
To illustrate, I will pretend to leave a comment on the following post by John McIntyre.
[scrolling down a bit]
(This is not an earth-shattering comment, but it will do as an example.)
Now, this is where things start to go wrong. When I hit the Preview button, I do not see a preview of my post. Instead, I am taken back to the empty comment form as it appeared before I wrote the comment or selected my profile. If I scroll up, I see the comments that were already there, but no indication that my submission ever existed.
It’s reasonable to suppose that it might work with different profile. However, I’ve tried that, and it doesn’t. Here is the list of possible profile types.
In the example above, I used my OpenID profile. Other choices available to me are Google, WordPress, or Name/URL. I am inclined not to go through the tedious process of posting images to demonstrate that I have tried all of them, and on this particular occasion I haven’t tried the other choices. I did that last week, trying to leave a comment on an earlier post. None of the profiles worked then and there’s no reason why anything would have changed.
Incidentally, my Google profile is the one I would least prefer to use, partly because it doesn’t automatically link back to this blog like the other profiles should. I use it – successfully – on blogs where no other option is available, notably June Casagrande‘s blog (the fact that I’m referring to two different copy editors’ blogs in this post is coincidental). However, last week when I tried using my Google profile to leave a comment on John’s blog, it failed, just like all the other profiles (and yes, I was logged in to the relevant account at the time.)
Having established that the problem isn’t with the profile, one might suppose that it has something to do with the preview button. Perhaps if I post the comment without a preview, it will work. I tried that last week, too, but only with one profile. Still, you have to admit that if the Preview button doesn’t work with any profile, and the Post Comment button doesn’t work with at least one profile, then the odds are very slim indeed that the Post Comment button will work with any profile.
When I tried it last week, I chose the Name/URL profile, so that I could comment with the same name (Adrian Morgan, my real one) that I always used when commenting on John’s old blog. In the interests of science, I will now have a go using my WordPress profile. Here is my comment just before pressing the Submit Comment button.
Immediately after pressing the Submit Comment button, I see the following verification form.
After filling this in correctly, my comment appears to be submitted. Certainly, the status bar tells me that it is transferring data. Here is a complete screenshot of what I see when it’s finished. No scrolling or anything.
As I write this, I will have to wait until tomorrow morning to find out if it worked. John’s blog is moderated, so I have to give him a chance to approve it. However, if you are reading this, then the waiting is over and the verdict is in. Pending that verdict, I’m leaving this post as an unpublished draft.
[The next day]
And it’s now the following morning, and my comment has not appeared. Comments by other people have been approved on John’s blog in the meantime, so we can rule out theories involving John being away from the computer. We can also rule out the theory that John chose not to approve my comment; you only have to look at the variety of comments he does approve to know that this is implausible (besides, I never had a comment rejected on his old blog). The data supports previous observations that the comment form simply does not work for me.
I don’t know why not; it obviously works for other people. Posting this may lead to some answers. Other blogs on which I am unable to comment, for the same reason, include John Wells’s phonetic blog and The Engine Room (more coincidence – I’m linking to three copy/sub-editors’ blogs in this post). My browser is Firefox 2.