Is long blank space on right of profile page causing a bug?

+6 votes
182 views
I believe my profiles still behaved ok on 23 Dec 2019, but on the morning of 25 Dec there were problems. Changing to a different web browser on a different computer did not help. More of the profiles are working all right today but at least five have the following trouble: when seen in the logged-out mode, some profiles with a long blank space on the right do this thing where the page appears on the screen but you can't interact with it. You can't click on links or images or ancestor buttons, and you can't copy text using the normal "Select text and then use Control-C" method.
If I log in, the right side of the page is filled again and the links work.
As of 8:30 p.m. EST the following had this problem: Layton-1810, Layton-1915, Layton-1927, Layton 2011, and Layton 2019.
WikiTree profile: Andrew J Layton
in WikiTree Tech by Pauline Layton G2G5 (5.4k points)
retagged by Jamie Nelson
Oo-er.  Yes.  I can't even click on the ads or type into the Ancestry search box.  So no money.  (Edge)

I checked Andrew's profile on my browser, Firefox, and had the same display.

I checked a couple other profiles (not the other Layton profiles), but they displayed normally.

Very interesting...(to quote Arte Johnson!)

I'm now assuming that the purpose of all the blank space at the right of a profile is to have all the material in a long column at the left, for the convenience of viewers who are viewing on a handheld. In that case, the nature of the "bug" could be that a programmer altered these webpages for use on a handheld with a touch screen, and removed or obstructed the software that would allow a clicking mouse to function. Put it back, please!
(My first guess was that all the blank space at the right would get filled in with ads.)
As for why those particular profiles were affected, those seem to be the very ones I was trying to look at on Christmas Day late in the morning. Maybe a programmer was at work at the same time and that jinxed them somehow.  I think my other profiles are ok (but I haven't inspected them all). (I was trying to show off my work to relatives so I didn't log in. It was embarrassing.)

(Later addition: My guess about handhelds was all wrong. Moving the entire right column to the left on some profiles turned out to be unintentional, and it was corrected on 7 or 8 Jan 2020.)

3 Answers

+5 votes
Thanks for pointing this out, Pauline. There is definitely some sort of bug.
by Jamie Nelson G2G6 Pilot (291k points)
+2 votes
Further describing the "long blank space" bug:
It's only apparent in the logged-off mode. I first noticed it on 25 Dec 2019.
It only seems to be a problem with pages I tried to look at on that date.
 A page that's all right ( viz Layton-2014) has the Comments moved to the bottom on the left. The right hand column is not empty but has the following:
--The unlocked symbol.
--"Is William your ancestor? Please don't go away!"
--"Sponsored Search by Ancestry.com."
--Images
A page that's bad (viz Layton-1810) has all these items except the unlocked symbol moved to the bottom left, so the right hand column is empty.
The problem exists with Safari, Edge, and Firefox browsers.
The mouse pointer can successfully click on any item in the row with the unlocked symbol, or above that. Also, down at the bottom, it clicks successfully on the line "L  >  Layton  >  Andrew Jackson Layton" and below that.
Everywhere in between, the pointer refuses to be anything but an arrow. Attempts to click have no effect.
… I note also that people with touch screens will be much less discommoded by having everything in one long column than people using a mouse.
by Pauline Layton G2G5 (5.4k points)

The comments function was moved recently to the left (main) column, so that isn't a part of this bug/problem.

The header section also works: the login link, the search box, and the WikiTree image link (at least on my browser - Firefox).

Categories are below the alpha index, so they also work.

And this problem only happened to profiles you viewed, Pauline (you didn't even edit them!)? That is totally wack!!surprise

+1 vote
NEW NEWS! I found something else my problem profiles have in common. I edited all of them on 7 Dec 2019, and that's just days before Chris Whitten announced the new Comments protocol. No doubt work was ongoing on 7 Dec. So the problem could be connected.
ALERT! I suggest anyone who was editing on 7 Dec 2019 should examine their profiles just in case. If there's this problem, then in the logged-off mode you can see it at once because the space below the padlock on the right is very blank. Then you'll find your links don't link. But then if you log in, the profile looks normal.
Also I took a look at the HTML code for my profiles. At the first glance, the DOCTYPEhtml for a healthy profile looks about twice as long as for an unhealthy one. All the lines from <! - - end wrapper... down to above the line <ins class... seem to be missing from an unhealthy profile. (In the logged-off mode, this is.) Exploration revealed that the missing lines are hidden under the <div class="wrapper"... heading instead of being on the same level with it.  Also some lines of the <div class="wrapper" itself appear to be missing.

So I'm guessing that's at least part of the problem. I'd rather let one of you experts clean it up than try it myself. Hopefully someone can take a look at this soon, yes? Chris did say that the new Comments protocol might cause problems, and I think this is one.
The profiles in question are: Layton-1810, Layton-1915, Layton-1927, Layton 2011, and Layton 2019.
Thanking you in advance,  Pauline Layton-1804
by Pauline Layton G2G5 (5.4k points)
Much thanks to the techie folk who rearranged the html code so the links on my profiles work again. The "long blank space bug" has vanished!

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