Hours of work wiped out [closed]

+4 votes
When I went to save changes after a long morning's work on a 5-Star profile, I got a red banner with "permission denied".  After I tried to "save anyway", I was directed to a login page, after which it was all gone, back to Square Zero.


And I have no idea why it happened and if it'll happen again on this very long, complex bio.
WikiTree profile: Francis Hacker
closed with the note: text retrieved
in WikiTree Help by Lois Tilton G2G6 Pilot (116k points)
closed by Lois Tilton
Stupid technology!  Sorry

The red banner with "permission denied" was the first clue that your data was about to be lost, and not to proceed without taking alternate measures.

At that point, you should copy/paste your data elsewhere temporarily until you get back logged in (perhaps in a separate tab or window).

Perhaps the "permission denied" banner should be re-worded to give a more explicit warning about losing data.

Who could know?  To me, it meant I should "save anyway" right away.
and you are not wrong, in your understanding... that's why the message should probably be re-worded stronger.
So I pasted it back, and I think it's still there now.

3 Answers

+6 votes
Best answer

Its not really WikiTree's fault that your data was lost. The unsaved data only exist in your local browser window until you upload it back to WikiTree by saving. This form data is not saved anywhere until the user (or special hidden code either embedded within the page or your browser) initiates a "save".

So when your browser switches pages, the unsaved data in the previous page is then discarded. Its how most browsers work. (as Linda mentions, there are some browsers that are able to "save" the unsaved data by caching it locally)

Websites that require password authentication have to periodically refresh/request that auth information, which then forces a page switch when your current login session expires. And by default, the session is not very long.

When you login, make sure you tick the checkbox to "remember my login", because this will increase the default session time. The "remember me" option uses cookies to store that info on your local computer, so that each new page switch won't have to re-ask you to enter it. It just reads it from your cookie data on disk.

by Dennis Wheeler G2G6 Pilot (536k points)
selected by Julie Kelts
But this doesn't help, Dennis, when attempting to save causes the problem. I never left the page.

And this is the first time I've EVER had to login to WT, since I first set up the account. I had to look up my password.

It does make your login session last longer, but its still not indefinite. It will expire at some point and require you to re-login again. (and as luck would have it, almost always at the most inopportune time)

at the point where you selected "save anyway" was when you left the page, as it redirected you back to the login page.

+6 votes
I can't answer your question, but it is the best to save the work also in between, especially when you work on a biography.
by Jelena Eckstädt G2G6 Pilot (688k points)
Yes it is.  I had been trying to save rather less obsessively since I saw how many "contributions" I was racking up, but from now on, if I ever do any more work here at all, I'm going to save after every comma.
It is odd that your login was lost, in the first place.  Once you got logged back in, you should have been able to use the back button on your browser to return to the page with your edits and either copy it and paste it into a different browser window or try saving it again from that page.

I have had things happen like that, but computers don't always do what we want
Linda, that depends on which browser you're using. Not all browsers support caching unsaved form data.
I did get back to the edit page and copied the newly-edited sections onto a different page, so they're probably not entirely lost.  But until I know what made this happen, I'm leaving it be.

It reminds me of the one time I tried to make a Free Space page and then couldn't save it because some damnable code had decided I was spending too long working on it.

Maybe some bot has decided this bio is too long, or has too many references.

Dennis - it's not form data, I haven't touched the data. It's text.  I don't do data, I do text.
After a couple of frustrating text losses I have learned to do my complicated editing in Word and then copy it back to Wikitree.
the bio text is one large web form field.

any field where you add text into a web page is known as form data.
Lois, since no one else has yet said this (unless I missed it in too quick a read-through):  I see no downside to "racking up" contributions!  Maybe you'll get a Club 1000 badge.  

Because I know from experience that my wireless internet service will drop me off line in as little as five minutes if it does not detect activity, and sometimes even when it does, I save obsessively too.  And because I want my work to be as error-free as possible, I will do an edit if I find even the tiniest typographical error in my work (or sometimes, other people's work!).
Lois, don't worry about your contribution points.  After all, even if you save after only a comma - you've contributed a comma!  Just smile and take a bow (or curtsey if you feel like it).
I think you can stay logged in for only a week.  I get that every Sunday evening.  After losing a lot, I save every time I've finished writing a paragraph or formatting a source.
+8 votes
So sorry to hear this, Lois. The only recommendation I have is that when I'm working on one of those complicated biographies that I save after each paragraph, or as an alternative, I build the biography in something like a Notepad text-only app, then paste it in once I'm reasonably happy with it. I figure getting the content into place and then worrying about formatting later is much easier than trying to do both at once.

But you have my sympathies as I've had it reject my changes before as well. Pretty infrequently, but generally when it does it's due to extra long edit sessions or edit conflicts with someone else who hit Save before I did.
by Scott Fulkerson G2G Astronaut (1.1m points)
What a horrible thought!

Maybe there should be a way to lock out other edits on a page when an edit is in process.

Every other comma, definitely.

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