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Idle chat for wannabe heroes
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 17, 2008 12:23 pm 
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Okay, so the obvious answer is "fix chat". The problem is, I think there's a dozen separate little quirks, none of them obvious, and I think 75% of the time it's not chat anyway. The problem is, once chat flips out on someone once or twice, they then assume that any quirk or 2-second pause is chat breaking again, and then feel the need to announce "chat broke" in chat, as if that will help.

The thing is, there's a heck of a lot more going on than just the chat code. Problems could occur on my server, they could occur somewhere on the internet, it could be your computer, it could be your ISP, or it could also just be that nobody has said anything for a few seconds.

There are four distinct and known issues with chat, which I'm working on as I can:

1) Sometimes, usually right at login, chat will get stuck in a loop and scroll the same stuff repeatedly. Usually closing chat and re-opening fixes it. Sometimes you need to close, wait a few seconds, and re-open.

2) Using certain special symbols seems to cause chat to freeze for certain people some of the time. I'm trying to filter out as many of these as I can, but thus far the filters aren't perfect. However, if you've got a non-English keyboard or you're trying to type other than basic alphanumeric characters, be aware there's a good chance you're going to crash things for other people. I'll probably get this fixed first.

3) Sometimes, if you haven't done anything for a long time, chat will stop refreshing. No idea what this is, but typing something will trigger an avalanche of responses. You can prevent/clear this by sending yourself a PM, doing a /who, or other non-visible commands.

4) Sometimes people can't see their own posts. Closing and re-opening always fixes this.

So those three things are valid issues, but #2 can be avoided by not using strange characters (I realize there's some non-English speakers who would like to be able to use them, and I will try to get this working), and #3 can be avoided by invisibly pinging the server once every 10 minutes or so if you're not chatting. The first and foruth also have a fix, though not quite 100% reliable for #1.

I spend 2-4 hours per day in chat, more on weekends, and I have #1 occur maybe once per week, and #3 has happened to me once, ever. Not sure if that means I'm unusually lucky, or my combination of Windows XP and Firefox is more stable than some others, or what.

So, before I start ranting, I want to say that I am committed to improving chat, and I do want to know about issues. I want to be able to fix stuff. But that requires exacting bug reports and examination of the symptoms and looking at possible causes. What I don't need, and what everyone else in chat DEFINITELY doesn't need, is continual reports of "chat just broke for me". For one thing, nobody besides me can do anything about it, so constantly bombarding 10 or 20 other people with such messages doesn't help. Really. At all.

Also, if something seems to go goofy, typing a long string of useless characters a bunch of times to "test" doesn't help. Because many of us can still see the garbage posts.

I don't really know how to address this, though, as I realize a lot of people don't read the forums, and once you're in the middle of a problem it's often hard to get the message across. Still, I'd love it if this became something that people would pass along as community information and guidelines, so that it spreads eventually. And of course I'll keep trying to get things fixed, but as I can't control the internet and other people's computers, there's always going to be issues, which people seem to reflexively blame on chat right now.


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 17, 2008 1:30 pm 
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None of those have ever happened to me except 3. And I'm in chat a lot. Just sayin'

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 17, 2008 2:45 pm 
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Therum wrote:
Another issue is that when chat gets too big, it starts to go extremely slow, sometimes crashing, even. I'm not sure if this is a memory leak or if it's just the chat pane getting too big. If it's the latter, having chat scroll off screen would probably help.


Actually, I already do this. Every so many characters, it removes the top chunk of chat. I've been in chat for 4 hours running without having it slow down or crash. I do hear about "lag" a lot, but usually when people mention it my system is completely fine. This, again, makes me think it has more to do with a few specific people and quirks of their system. I of course want to trim out as much of this as possible, but there's only so much I can do.


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 17, 2008 8:14 pm 
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Location: Berkeley when at school, San Diego when at home
What about tabbed chat? :/

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 17, 2008 9:10 pm 
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Ryme wrote:
Actually, I already do this. Every so many characters, it removes the top chunk of chat. I've been in chat for 4 hours running without having it slow down or crash.
I'm fine for several hours at work, but at home, it can lag things down. Like I mentioned elsewhere, I think it's a memory problem on my end, and I can clear it up by closing and reopening.

Still... a /clear would be handy for doing that without risking missing things.

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 17, 2008 10:35 pm 
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Magi, what, exactly, do you mean by "tabbed chat"?


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 17, 2008 11:41 pm 
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Makes sense, but hell no. That's dozens of times more complicated than I'm willing or able to try to go. That's like asking for a gearshift on a plastic sled.


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 18, 2008 6:06 pm 
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I find that on the laptop I sometimes use, whenever I close the laptop (thereby putting it into sleep mode) and reopen it later, all of the messages I missed begin looping.

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