Why is feedly loading Ask Metafilter (only) in an unlogged-in state? July 12, 2017 1:55 PM   Subscribe

How come in iOS, Feedly randomly and frequently loads posts from AskMe -- and only AskMe -- in the unlogged state (modern)? Even if I click thru to open the post in a browser I remain logged out and unable to log in (page just refreshes) even though I stay logged in (in classic) in other tabs and browsers. When it happens, I end up having to open a new tab, go to the Ask front page, and click the question when I find it. It's annoying enough and frequent enough that I often don't bother.

It's been happening for months and months, in Safari on the iPad and iPhone. I usually have at least one MeFi tab open in (in classic) a browser. This subsite is the only time it happens.

I removed cookies and logged out and in many times but it always happens again.
posted by Room 641-A to Bugs at 1:55 PM (25 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

frimble tried to replicate this the other day and got it, but only some of the time, and with no clear pattern about when. So, putting this up so we can see if anyone else is having the same issue or has bright ideas about what's going on.
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 1:57 PM on July 12, 2017

This has been happening to me, too. I figured out that if I click on the timestamp of the first comment, it will load as logged-in. It's a pain but I figured it was a Weird Feedly Thing and haven't looked into it any further.

I have an Android phone, FWIW. I hope someone has a solution!
posted by Elly Vortex at 2:10 PM on July 12, 2017

frimble tried to replicate this the other day and got it, but only some of the time, and with no clear pattern about when.

Yes, exactly!
posted by Room 641-A at 2:19 PM on July 12, 2017

I noticed a while back, when I'd log in on the phone, I remained logged out to the blue, no problems with metatalk or ask, but this seems to have resolved itself.

Damn rotary phones.
posted by clavdivs at 3:01 PM on July 12, 2017 [1 favorite]

Huh, this is happening for me on Flipboard with any post short enough that the VIEW ORIGINAL ARTICLE does not display in the tile. When I select one of those posts, I'm taken to the entry but appear logged out of the site. So maybe something with the length of the post?
posted by theBigRedKittyPurrs at 4:01 PM on July 12, 2017

This happens to me on my iPhone 6 using Chrome. It seems random, several posts open fine, then one or two logged out, then back to fine. All same browser session, but all new tabs. I'll try to pay attention to post length, although I think I always see the whole post in Feedly.
posted by donnagirl at 5:16 PM on July 12, 2017

Ok knowing someone else has this weird problem pushed me to find a pattern. If a post opens in a logged out state, the URL always has a trailing forward slash and the letters "amp" after the normal post title part. Here is an example.
posted by donnagirl at 5:28 PM on July 12, 2017 [3 favorites]

Hmm, well that amp is Accelerated Mobile Pages, right? That could be a lead.

Is this also happening only on Ask for everyone else?
posted by Room 641-A at 5:54 PM on July 12, 2017

And why wouldn't you just be able to log in, either from within Feedly or the browser? Strange.
posted by Room 641-A at 5:55 PM on July 12, 2017

Only Ask for me.
posted by donnagirl at 6:09 PM on July 12, 2017 [1 favorite]

It looks like I get a logged out modern theme page whenever I append /amp to a question page on Ask, even in a desktop browser. Was someone implementing AMP for SEO purposes and wound up with this situation?

I'm not sure how the /amp-ified URLs are winding up in your Feedly feed though.
posted by zachlipton at 1:01 AM on July 13, 2017 [1 favorite]

I wondered if this was AMP-related when I saw it first, but wasn't sure if it was the same thing as I don't use Feedly.

I get served AMP pages (modern theme, logged out) when I do a google site search on AskMe (Chrome mobile on a Samsung Android device); as soon as I hit any link from the AMP page it switches me right back to logged in/classic theme.
posted by terretu at 1:52 AM on July 13, 2017

No idea if this is useful, but in Win10Pro and Chrome, I've just tested various subsite posts appending "/amp" to URL (I'm already in modern theme, so I see that logged in or out):

MeFi: remain logged in, "/amp" removed from URL
AskMe: logged out, "/amp" retained in URL
FanFare: same behavior as MeFi
Projects: remain logged in, "/amp" retained in URL
Music: same behavior as Projects
Jobs: same behavior as Projects
IRL: same behavior as Projects
MeTa: same behavior as MeFi
posted by solotoro at 8:04 AM on July 13, 2017 [2 favorites]

I fucking hate AMP and this seals the deal.
posted by donnagirl at 11:40 AM on July 13, 2017

I've also been having the same problem with iOS/Feedly and have noticed that when pages load in an unlogged-in state it's because the url is an AMP url. Unfortunately, I can't figure out an underlying pattern. Occasionally I also won't be able to see comments on websites and lo-and-behold, it's another AMP url. Really seems like AMP is breaking Feedly, but only sometimes.

Google AMP is the worst. I hate it more everyday and it might be what makes me quit Chrome on iOS altogether.
posted by homesickness at 1:00 PM on July 13, 2017 [1 favorite]

I don't know the details with Feedly stuff specifically, but to be clear on the AMP front: we implemented AMP support internally, specifically for Ask MetaFilter, a while back in response to Google making it very clear that they were going to be implementing search ranking penalties for sites not complying with the AMP system. Which sucks! I don't really like AMP and don't see it as a win for anybody other than Google. But Google ad revenue on Ask is by far our biggest source of income on the site and my dislike for the implications etc. of AMP lose out to my desire to see the site stay financially stable.

We don't bring in significant Adsense revenue from other parts of the site and so have not implemented AMP other than on Ask so far. That may change at some point, I can't say for certain right now. But that's why it'd only be coming up for Ask; we don't have AMP code on any other subsite.
posted by cortex (staff) at 2:55 PM on July 13, 2017 [4 favorites]

Ah, so cortex, it's not a bug? If it's not, then I'd consider this solved and just deal with it.
posted by Room 641-A at 4:21 PM on July 13, 2017

Is this note from an ancient (gasp, a year ago) Wired article what this is?

"Second, it serves pages from its own servers, at least when you visit an AMP page via a Google search."

Because if that's the case, I really would hope browsers are "safe" enough to recognize that you're not really on the site in question and therefore you're not really logged in. Eh?
posted by maxwelton at 6:23 PM on July 14, 2017

I should add this is actually pretty creepy and shitty if this is what AMP really does.
posted by maxwelton at 6:25 PM on July 14, 2017

The AMP page, for whatever it's worth, doesn't try to pretend you're logged in; quite the opposite, one of the things that kinda sucks about it but at least in a consistent-behavior way is that you basically can't server a logged-in page via AMP. So in the narrow case of an actual logged-in MeFi member getting an AMP page from e.g. a google search, you'll be (very quickly!) served a pared-down version of the the actual page, without logged-in content (which for MeFi means no flagging, no faves, no mefimail indicator up top), and then any click thereon will take you to a full live page from our server.

It's a weird thing. MeFi has the juxtaposed advantage and disadvantage of serving a pretty minimal page. That means that on the one hand we don't actually have to modify what we serve for /amp purposes much from what we serve live, because we're not cutting out a giant wad of JS crap etc. from the live page to fit into the relatively skinflint kb-per-page limits of the AMP standard. On the other hand, because the difference isn't night and day between /amp and live, it's less obvious that there's anything going on. I've wrestled with which is better there, presenting the site basically "as is" to keep it consistent in look and feel vs. presenting it as a starkly stripped down page to signal /amp mode, and will continue to think about that over time, but I think on the balance it's probably better to aim for mostly-consistent than to get weird with it.
posted by cortex (staff) at 7:40 PM on July 14, 2017 [1 favorite]

To belabor the point a little: the vast majority of search traffic we get is from non-members. Which is also where the vast majority of our Adsense revenue comes from. So we have a Venn diagram with two circles:

1. People reaching Ask MetaFilter via Google search results.
2. People who are logged into MetaFilter.

The confusing bit, the trouble bit, is that tiny football where the circles overlap; that's logged-in members potentially reaching an AMP-served cache of an Ask MetaFilter thread for which they appear not to be logged in (because they're not seeing the live site). When they then click anything on the page, they get a mortal-speed refresh from our server and get their live, logged-in experience back. It's...eh. I don't love it. I'd prefer there were some way to test conditionally for logged-in status and insta-refresh the page. And maaaybe there is but we didn't see a path to it when we were implementing AMP support. Something to revisit eventually.

Needless to say, non-members hitting a non-logged-in cache of the page doesn't present the same issue. It still is a situation where someone might then pass along a /amp version of the page instead of the live page if they feel compelled to share a link, which isn't great, but that's sort of an edge case.
posted by cortex (staff) at 7:44 PM on July 14, 2017 [1 favorite]

This is a really fascinating edge-case and I hope that someone at Google looks at it, even if they don't end up doing anything about it.
posted by Joe in Australia at 3:23 AM on July 15, 2017

Going back to the original question regarding Feedly + Ask, specifically: I haven't exactly cracked the code, but noticed today that tapping on the post title takes me to the AMP (unlogged-in) version of the post within Feedly. However, tapping on the Visit website button at the bottom of the Feedly article view takes me to the correct (logged-in) version!

This seems to work for any post over 1 hour old. For posts less than an hour old, tapping either the title or the 'visit website' button take me to the logged-in view. Maybe there's some kind of lag in generating the AMP-url or something? Whatever the reason, at least now I can happily tap Ask links within Feedly and get the view I'm used to.
posted by homesickness at 3:03 PM on July 17, 2017 [1 favorite]

I'm suddenly getting logged out when I follow links from the current endless US politics thread in Chrome on my Mac. It only happens if I click straight through the link and then click the back arrow to go back to the current endless US politics thread. If I open the link in a new tab, everything's fine. It sounds like the original problem might be different from mine, but figured it wouldn't hurt to add another weird datapoint.
posted by hydropsyche at 6:06 PM on July 18, 2017

This happens to me; started recently. I'm on a Windows 7 PC using Chrome. I just hit 'refresh' to fix it, usually.
posted by destructive cactus at 8:42 PM on July 18, 2017

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