Happiness Engineers

“Damn,” Rachel said. “Hey Jimmy, can you come take a look at this?.”

“Hey, Rachel, what do you need?” Jimmy asked.

“I got a help ticket from a user. There’s something wrong with the user interface,” Rachel said. “It doesn’t seem to recognize when the user is logged in. And when they try to log back in it causes the app to crash.”

“Hmm. Let me toss out a trial balloon. See what happens if you remove this line of code right here,” Jimmy said, pointing to Rachel’s monitor. “That seems superfluous and deleting it just might obviate the need for the user to have to reauthenticate.”

Rachel removed the line of code that Jimmy had suggested. “Fingers crossed,” she said when she restarted the app. It crashed again.

“Okay, well I’m afraid that was more like a lead balloon,” Jimmy said.

“We have to figure out how to fix this fast,” Rachel said. “If the app keeps crashing every time a user tries to log back in, that’s a huge liability.”

“Listen, Rachel,” Jimmy said. “Respond back to the user who opened the ticket. Tell him you understand how frustrating this is and that you’ve been able to replicate the problem. Tell him that you’re going to notify the developers about the issue and have them make it a priority. Explain that we can’t provide a definitive date for when it will be fixed, but that you’ll get back to him with an update.”

“Right,” Rachel said. “You know, Jimmy, that’s pretty much our standard response to any help ticket we get. I wish there was more that we could do.”

“Come on, Rachel,” Jimmy said. “You’ve been a Happiness Engineer long enough to know that we take all the flack but can’t do shit when it comes to actually fixing the problem. “That’s what the developers do.”

“Jimmy, have you ever met or even talked with a developer?” Rachel asked.

“No, but I’m sure they exist,” Jimmy said. “Don’t they?”

Written for these daily prompts: Fandango’s One-Word Challenge (help), BlogBattle (interface), The Daily Spur (recognize), Word of the Day Challenge (crash), Ragtag Daily Prompt (balloon), Your Daily Word Prompt (obviate), My Vivid Blog (afraid), E.M.’s Random Word Prompt (liability). Image credit: shipmonk.com.

WordPress Responds

If you read my response last week to Paula Light’s The Monday Peeve, I was on a rant complaining how, for more than a year now, the WordPress iOS app for the iPhone was causing issues with my ability to both like and comment on some other bloggers’ posts.

I opened up a support message and attached a link to my TMP rant. This is what I got in response:

Hi again, Fandango,

Thank you for reporting this! I’ve tested this, and I could reproduce it on WordPress.com sites with a custom domain. In my case, I couldn’t like a post at all, even after a refresh. My “likes” didn’t get saved on the post, and this is frustrating! I understand how annoying this is. We will keep a close eye on this one.

This is similar to the issue that the WebView (Apple’s library for providing a web browser experience within an iOS app) doesn’t recognize that we’ve logged in to the app and WordPress.com. I have reported this as a bug to be looked into by the developers, but as you already know, I can’t promise you a timeline for when this will be fixed. However, I will highlight this to the team and hope they can prioritize this bug since it’s been happening since iOS 14 was launched.

Once again, thank you very much for your time in reporting this. We appreciate your patience while we look into this matter.

Note the “Hi again, Fandango.” Obviously this happiness engineer was one of those who was involved last year when I exchanged myriad emails with the support team. At least she agreed that this bug is frustrating and annoying. But once again, she seemed to be assigning blame to Apple for the issue. She committed, just as she did last year, to have the WordPress developers “look into” this, but failed to offer a timeframe for resolution. Again, this bug surfaced almost 13 months ago.

I wrote back and said this:

I hope your developers will give this issue a high priority. One of my blogging friends suggested that I switch from my iPhone to an Android device, but no one should have to do that in order to use the WordPress app for a smartphone. I’m sure there are many WordPress users who, like me, blog primarily on their iPhones, so this bug must be affecting a lot of us and is seriously detrimental to our WordPress blogging experience.

Here’s the response I received…from a different happiness engineer:

I agree and we understand how frustrating this is. We will keep a close eye on this one. Thank you again for reporting it. We really appreciate that.

So things are pretty much as they have been for more than a year. An acknowledgment that there is a problem, that it’s frustrating and annoying, and that they’re going to have their developers look into it. And, once again, no ETA on when I might anticipate a resolution.

Déjà vu all over again.

Hurry Up and Wait

I was excited the other day when I saw that WordPress had pushed out an update to its iOS app for the iPhone. I was sure that version 16.1.1 had a fix to the Reader issue that by now you are no doubt tired of hearing me whine about.

After it installed on my iPhone, I opened the app, went to my Reader, and clicked “Visit” on a post that I had been unable to like or comment on after the previous update. Unfortunately, even with this new update, I was still unable to like or comment. Bummer.

So I sent a message to the happiness engineers.

I was disappointed yesterday, after installing version 16.1.1 of the WordPress app for iOS, that the issue with the WordPress Reader that surfaced when version 16.0 was installed, and for which I’ve been exchanging messages with various happiness engineers since November 3rd, is still unresolved. I hope your team will be releasing a fix for this issue in short order.

The response I got essentially reminded me that Rome wasn’t built in a day. Here’s the answer I received:

We understand this is frustrating. But even with high priority issues, it does not mean the fix will be released in the next update. Some things take longer to fix than others. We don’t have an ETA on this one yet, but our developers are working on it. We appreciate your patience and apologize for the inconvenience.

So I guess I’m in a hurry up and wait mode and the happiness engineers at WordPress will be taking their sweet time getting around to fixing the issue. As the old song says, they’ll be coming ’round the mountain when they come.

A Breakthrough…Maybe?

I have been communicating with the WordPress Happiness Engineers nearly every day since November 3rd when the latest version of the WordPress app for iOS was installed on my iPhone. But so far our communications have not yielded any positive results. Up until today, maybe.

I once again did my best to explain what the issue is with respect to not being able to “like” or comment on some other bloggers’ posts from the reader on my iPhone. I wrote…

Every post where the site’s address does not include “.wordpress.com” has this problem and every site where the address does include “.wordpress.com” does NOT have this problem. This problem surfaced ONLY after version 16.0 of the iOS app was installed on my iPhone. There were no such problems before the update. So it’s pretty clear that whatever enhancements that were made to the reader in version 16.0 triggered the issues.

This time the response I got did not cite user error as the cause of the problem or blame it on my phone’s browser. In fact, the response I got was this…

Thanks! That is very helpful to try and replicate this problem. I’m sharing this with the rest of the team and we’ll jump into testing right away. As soon as we have an update we’ll keep you in the loop 🙂

So maybe, just maybe, a fix is in the works in the near future. Maybe.

In the meantime, if your blog does not have “.wordpress.com” in its address, I’m still unable to “like” or easily comment on your posts. Hopefully the issue that’s causing the problem will soon be rectified. Maybe.

Image credit: peggy_marco at Pixabay.

The Monday Peeve — It’s All About the URL

Through her The Monday Peeve prompt, Paula Light invites us to vent, to let off some stream, to get something off our chests. This week, my peeve is about troubleshooting. This is something the WordPress Happiness Engineers don’t do. In fact, whenever we are having an issue with WordPress, they seem to make us do all of the troubleshooting on their behalf.

Ever since version 16.0 of the WordPress iOS app was installed on my iPhone, I have had problems with being able to “like” and to comment on some (but not all) posts I visit from my reader or even from my Notifications. I first wrote about this apparent bug in the latest release of the iOS app here. I have been going back and forth with the WordPress Happiness Engineers on these issues for the past week and, so far, they haven’t come close to coming up with a resolution. Basically they keep asking me to try this or to try that to see if anything I try can resolve the problem.

Yesterday, I got a response from WordPress that said…

Unfortunately the activity logs you sent aren’t telling us much on what might be causing this issue. Can you share the URLs of a few posts/sites this issue is occurring on so we can see if this allows us to narrow down a possible cause.

So I, once again, did what they asked. I provided the URLs of six blogs where I can’t “like” the posts and where I can’t comment at all or can’t comment without entering my name, email address, and my blog’s URL.

Then I provided the URLs of six blogs where I can both like and comment, just like I used to be able to do before version 16.0 of the iOS app was installed on my iPhone.


I discovered something that apparently the Happiness Engineers at WordPress didn’t even think about. Here’s what I wrote.

AH HA! As I was going through this exercise, I just noticed that the blogs that have “.wordpress.com” in the URL work fine, just as they used to before Version 16.0 was installed. But the blogs that just have the blog name without “.wordpress.com” in the URL are the ones that don’t work.

My blog’s URL is https://fivedotoh.com. It doesn’t have “.wordpress.com” in the URL. I just went to my reader on my iPhone and visited my own post and guess what? I can’t “like” my own post or comment on it without entering my name, email, and website. MY OWN POST!!!

So, it seems that the way to resolve this problem is to find out why blogs that contain “.wordpress.com” in the URL work fine in the Version 16.0 reader and notifications, but those without “.wordpress.com” in the URL, like my own blog, do not. I think if you can figure out why that is happening and how to fix it, you will have resolved this issue.

And that, my friends, is what has me very peeved this morning. Maybe I should apply for a job as a Happiness Engineer.