Octothorpe/Ampersand Substitution Mayhem March 21, 2013 2:51 PM   Subscribe

When I'm logged out, the link here works correctly (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=misN2jbpo1Y#t=1m05). When I'm logged in, the site has converted the hash to an ampersand (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=misN2jbpo1Y&t=1m05). I imagine this is a bug related to the inline YouTube player.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 to Bugs at 2:51 PM (36 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

huh, yeah, I see that too. I imagine pb will get to this in the next day or two.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 2:53 PM on March 21, 2013


Heh, the same thing has happened in this post with the plain-text URLs.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 2:54 PM on March 21, 2013


This is a test:

Octothorpe=#
Aperersand=&

Plaintext HTTP YouTube URL with Octothorpe: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=misN2jbpo1Y#t=1m05

Plaintext HTTPS YouTube URL with Octothorpe: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=misN2jbpo1Y#t=1m05

Plaintext HTTP example URL with Octothorpe: http://www.example.com/watch?v=misN2jbpo1Y#t=1m05

Plaintext HTTPS example URL with Octothorpe: https://www.example.com/watch?v=misN2jbpo1Y#t=1m05
posted by RichardP at 3:07 PM on March 21, 2013


Interesting... it's definitely only converting # to & in "URL-like" text, even though the text is not actually a URL.
posted by RichardP at 3:09 PM on March 21, 2013 [1 favorite]


I imagine pb will get to this in the next day or two.

Oh man. Three days from retirement and then this call comes in over the line.
posted by shakespeherian at 3:10 PM on March 21, 2013 [4 favorites]


This calls for some expert opinion.
posted by hangashore at 3:19 PM on March 21, 2013 [3 favorites]


All Octothorpes secretly wish they were Ampersands. Can't really blame them, frankly.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 3:37 PM on March 21, 2013 [5 favorites]


Left out of the conversation again. :(
posted by Poor Neglected Obelus at 3:51 PM on March 21, 2013 [14 favorites]


Oh man. Three days from retirement and then this call comes in over the line.

What really sucks is now he's in for 5 more sequels!
posted by 922257033c4a0f3cecdbd819a46d626999d1af4a at 5:30 PM on March 21, 2013


The reason https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=misN2jbpo1Y&t=1m05 doesn't work correctly is not that the time offset is specified as a CGI parameter, but that the offset is ill-formed. This one works fine: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=misN2jbpo1Y&t=1m5s

Here's the fragment identifier version: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=misN2jbpo1Y#t=1m5s

Also, either pb has already fixed this or the # to & thing is not happening for everybody.
posted by flabdablet at 5:40 PM on March 21, 2013


I remember when pb got shit done in minutes. Slipping.
posted by cjorgensen at 6:41 PM on March 21, 2013


Eight years here and I finally get called out in MetaTalk!
posted by octothorpe at 7:12 PM on March 21, 2013 [28 favorites]


pb is really doing us a solidus with this one.
posted by en forme de poire at 9:58 PM on March 21, 2013


Get to the point, en forme de poire.
posted by cgc373 at 11:27 PM on March 21, 2013


Poor Neglected Obelus: “Left out of the conversation again. :(”

It is a shame; I imagine these discussions must leave you feeling pretty divided.
posted by koeselitz at 11:55 PM on March 21, 2013 [3 favorites]


In a world where there is rampant corruption and injustice, where even simple punctuation symbols are on the take, one man stands alone willing to fight for what is right. Ever vigilant, he protects and defends the netizens of Metafilter City against the forces of evil that would tear it apart.

mathowie: "huh, yeah, I see that too. I imagine pb will get to this in the next day or two."

what
posted by double block and bleed at 3:58 AM on March 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


This meta is very confusing when you read it logged in.

When I'm logged out, the link here works correctly (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=misN2jbpo1Y&t=1m05). When I'm logged in, the site has converted the hash to an ampersand (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=misN2jbpo1Y&t=1m05).

/spends 2 minutes trying to figure out what the punchline is
me: There's not even a hash in the first link.
/misses the point entirely
/eventually gets it
posted by specialagentwebb at 6:03 AM on March 22, 2013


I... had no idea that was called an octothorpe.
posted by zarq at 6:37 AM on March 22, 2013 [2 favorites]


According to The Unicode Consortium it's a "number sign", which you'd think would be something else but №
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 7:07 AM on March 22, 2013 [12 favorites]


Those of you who are seeing a # to & translation: what browser are you using? I'm on Iceweasel (Firefox) and totally not seeing it, logged in or not.
posted by flabdablet at 8:10 AM on March 22, 2013


Chrome, IE10 and Firefox
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 8:12 AM on March 22, 2013


From the jargon file:
names for "#" include SHARP, NUMBER, HASH, PIG-PEN, POUND-SIGN, and MESH. GLS adds: I recall reading somewhere that most of these are names for the # symbol IN CONTEXT. The name for the sign itself is "octothorp".
posted by Lanark at 8:19 AM on March 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


On Language; Hit the Pound Sign:
In internal memoranda, the telephone company (a locution left over from the days of A.T.&T. monopoly; there are now hundreds of telephone companies) likes to use octothorpe , also spelled octothorp . Octo- is a combining form for "eight," as octogenarian octopuses know, and refers to the eight points around the outside of the symbol. But there are nine spaces in a tick-tack-toe game. The crosshatch has 12 line segments. Forget octothorpe .
Curse you, Safire!
posted by octothorpe at 8:40 AM on March 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


Hi everyone, sorry for the delay. I was putting out different fires yesterday. (14 hours in a car with two kids and two dogs.)

Yes, it's true. We convert #t in YouTube URLs to &t if you have the inline YouTube player enabled.

YouTube treats them functionally the same, and because we can't pass hashes to our inline YouTube player the way it's set up, we simply transform the URL and presto it works. Here's an example. This URL:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eKbFb6TPVEA&t=16s

Is equivalent to this URL:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eKbFb6TPVEA#t=16s

Those of you not seeing the transformation probably have the Inline YouTube player disabled.

flabdablet found the root of the problem that East Manitoba ran into. The specific link mentioned has a malformed time format. The format that YouTube is expecting (in regex) is \d{1,2}m\d{1,2}s. That's one or two digits followed by an m for minutes and then s for seconds. You can also use a total number of seconds. So add the s on the end of that link and it'll work fine. The transformation from # to & doesn't come into play.
posted by pb (staff) at 9:07 AM on March 22, 2013


Thanks pb! Interestingly, while [ampersand]t=1m01 doesn't work, [octothorpe]t=1m01 does work, and it's only MetaFilter's conversion of the URL that breaks it.

Perhaps MetaFilter could automatically append an s when the youtube URL ends with t=[something not ending in a letter]
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 9:20 AM on March 22, 2013


Yeah, the URLs are almost functionally equivalent on YouTube's end. If the s is missing with the ampersand version, YouTube doesn't recognize the time anchor. If the s is missing with the octothorpe (!) version it does work. So yeah, maybe there's a way to account for that on our end, but it feels like a problem on YouTube's end. I'll think about it.
posted by pb (staff) at 9:26 AM on March 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


I... had no idea that was called an octothorpe.

I know. I thought "octothorpe" was the plural of "Octothor", which is a Norse god with eight arms.
posted by maryr at 9:50 AM on March 22, 2013 [3 favorites]


TBH, the plural form doesn't come up all that often.
posted by maryr at 9:51 AM on March 22, 2013 [5 favorites]


names for "#" include SHARP, NUMBER, HASH, PIG-PEN, POUND-SIGN, and MESH

Sharp shouldn't be on that list. The octothorpe has perfectly horizontal lines with oblique vertical lines. The musical sharp symbol has perfectly vertical lines and oblique horizontal lines.
posted by rocket88 at 1:19 PM on March 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


Hence the Microsoft programming language "Coctothorpe"
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 1:21 PM on March 22, 2013 [4 favorites]


Leave Microsoft to Coctothorpe it up.
posted by maryr at 1:29 PM on March 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


maryr: I know. I thought "octothorpe" was the plural of "Octothor", which is a Norse god with eight arms.

I thought that was octoþ.
posted by hangashore at 1:33 PM on March 22, 2013 [3 favorites]


Hence the Microsoft programming language "Coctothorpe"

I was surprised to see that Microsoft almost always uses the ♯ symbol, but most third-party books and programs substitute with #.
posted by rocket88 at 1:45 PM on March 22, 2013


I think this is octoþ (well, assuming the one on the couch is smiling too).
posted by maryr at 2:23 PM on March 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


I just made a change to address this. If someone links to youtube with a URL that includes a minute and second timestamp, we'll tack on the s if it's missing so the ampersand URL will work both on our end for the inline player and at YouTube.

I went through all of the youtube URLs in comments in the last year and there were six or so that had this problem (out of around 2,000). So it wasn't a huge problem, but it is a MetaFilter problem until YouTube supports that no-trailing-s timestamp with the &t option.
posted by pb (staff) at 4:47 PM on March 22, 2013 [2 favorites]


pb is much appreciated by the community!
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 9:22 AM on March 23, 2013


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