“I seem to have trouble loading your site and posting comments… Most comments never got through.”-TheCameraEatsFirst
I’m not a web designer. I’m not an IT expert. I’m not a programmer. Yet, here I am, playing each of those roles.
I’m a photographer. That’s what I want to spend as much of my time as practical doing. I’m also a writer to an extent, which is something else that I enjoy doing. The Fuji X Weekly website is my outlet for both. I like helping other photographers, and am truly honored that my Film Simulation Recipes have had such an impact on so many and even the industry at large—it’s far more than I ever imagined!
Sometimes, though, I have to set my camera down, and be the Fuji X Weekly webmaster. Who came up with that name, anyway? Webmaster sounds so dramatic. Was it on Peter Parker’s shortlist, and after a coinflip he went with Spiderman instead? Surely it was an IT guy—his office was probably in a dark corner of a basement and he felt really under-appreciated for all his hard work maintaining some large company’s website—who coined the term, so that he might get more respect and maybe a pay raise.
When I first enrolled in college many, many years ago, I didn’t really know what I wanted my career to be. A lot of adults advised me to major in a technology field, like coding or engineering. So that’s what I did. In the very first semester I took this class called Computer Basics, which was mostly about how to use Word and PowerPoint and the internet, which was fairly young at that point—DPReview wouldn’t launch for several more months, and Ken Rockwell wasn’t even on the scene yet. The final project for that class was to write a simple DOS program, something like if you prompt it to answer 1+1 it would give you 2. I struggled so much, and passed the introductory-level class with a C. The very next semester I changed my major to photography.
Problems with the Fuji X Weekly website have been ongoing since it first launched on August 21, 2017. I’ve had to learn how to design a website, and to an extent how to code. I was suddenly a webmaster. I didn’t feel much like the master of the web, and I still don’t. I’ve learned so much about it over the years; however, I’m far from an expert. Mostly, I limp along, and hope that Google has the answer to whatever problems I’m trying to solve. YouTube University has been invaluable!
Lately, though, the problems have grown. It started several months back when I needed to upgrade hosting, because I was pushing the upper limits of the plan I was paying for. Unfortunately, what should have been a seamless switch wasn’t, and I was suddenly experiencing both small and big issues. Next, because my expenses expanded—for both the website and apps—I brought back ads, but through a different company that promised a better experience. That’s been a huge headache, and it hasn’t exactly gone well. I’m fighting to get the ads to be minimal, unobtrusive, relevant, and appropriate (yet cover the expenses)—it’s been a battle, and we’re still not there. I’m on the fence on how I’ll move forward with this. I’ve almost pulled the plug several times on the ads—and I still might—but I’m hoping to get it right at some point soon. I appreciate your patience with this.
Some of the website problems are definitely significant. Probably the biggest one is that some people are experiencing an error, and the page won’t load. The message is “too many attempts” or “too many redirects” or something like that. I haven’t found the root of this issue, but clearing the cache and cookies has sometimes resolved it (so try that if you’re experiencing this problem). I don’t know why some people get this error while most don’t, or why clearing the cache is sometimes the fix. If any of you know the answer, please reach out to me, because I’d love to fix it.
Another issue that just recently came to my attention is that a lot of comments aren’t coming through. There are two aspects to this. First, I moderate the comments. Someone who has never commented before, or who has included a link to a website, will often get flagged for moderation. I get a lot of troll and spam comments that I don’t want published because it ruins the experience for everyone, so moderating these are important. This is my website, so I have the authority—and, really, obligation—to do this. Comments held for moderation haven’t changed as far as I can tell. The second aspect is that WordPress will flag obvious spam comments as spam. I get probably 100 of these type of comments each day, sometimes much more than that. Unfortunately, many non-spam comments are getting flagged as spam for some reason. I dug through the spam folder, and found intermixed with all the spam comments a handful of clearly not-spam comments, some by regular readers who have commented many times before. There are so many spam comments that it’s not practical to go very far back looking for the few non-spam that got flagged, but I know that I need to dig through it daily now. I’m really sorry if your comment didn’t come through. I don’t know why this happened or even when, but hopefully I’ll be able to find and approve all of the non-spam and non-troll comments going forward.
Are there other issues that I’m not aware of? I hope not, but I’m certain there are. Whenever I put on my webmaster cap, I do my best to fix them, but I cannot fix what I’m not aware is broken. If you’ve experienced some sort of issue, don’t hesitate to let me know—it’s greatly appreciated whenever someone does. And if you know how to fix the problem, please share with me the answer! I might technically be in the IT field, and I’ve certainly learned a heck-of-a-lot over the last six years, but I’m still in over his head on some of this stuff. Besides, I’d rather be out with my camera, capturing photos for next Film Simulation Recipe—especially during golden hour, when the light can be magical.