Thursday, July 21, 2011

The Frustration Of Bloggers Caught In A Login Loop, When Trying To Comment Or Work On Their Blogs

One problem that we see a lot, in Blogger Help Forum: Something Is Broken, comes from people who claim to have problems "staying logged in to Blogger".
I can't comment on anybody's blog! I get in an endless loop to sign in!
and
I can't stay logged in, to post on my blog! I login, but when I click on "View Blog", it logs me out!!
The frustration compounds itself, as people with one symptom see reports of the other symptom, confuse the two, and complain about the problem that Blogger never fixes.


There are several basic causes of the endless login loop scenario. Only one can be resolved by Blogger Support, unilaterally.
  1. Misuse of layered security, on the computer and network being used by the person reporting the problem.
  2. Confusion about the Blogger account needed to access the blog in question.
  3. Rarely, we may see cases involving corruption in the Blogger account or blog in question.

Of the three, neither cause can be easily diagnosed - and neither cause has a simple resolution, such that everybody suffering from the underlying problem is both able and willing to participate in the diagnostic process. In order to diagnose the third problem, one must eliminate the first two problems as possibilities. Neither of the first two can be canonically diagnosed, however.

A response, provided by some forum helpers, provides a workaround.
When you login, do not select "Remember me" / "Stay signed in".
This solution, when it works, will not solve the underlying problem - which will later return, with new symptoms.

Diagnosis of the actual problem - the layered security issue, and the Blogger account confusion issue - is typically done, syntactically, based upon the wording of the problem report.Using these two alternate phrasings, to triage the problem, is 95% effective. Unfortunately, dealing with the remaining 5% of the cases causes confusion, distrust, and frustration on both sides - the person asking for help, and the person(s) trying to provide help.
  • Problems commenting have been caused by people trying to use unsuitable Blogger accounts, for instance accessing private blogs. Guests of private blogs ("Readers") can't comment, under certain conditions.
  • Problems publishing or maintaining a blog can be caused by blocked authentication cookies.

Neither the diagnosis of both the blocked authentication cookie, or of the use of the wrong Blogger account, is done easily.
  • The blocked authentication cookie can only be diagnosed after the problematic security setting has been identified and corrected.
    • Not all blogger owners and guests are interested in, and are qualified to, make security changes.
    • Layered security settings can be found in the browser native settings, in any browser add-on components, in any security program on the computer in question, and in a network appliance.
    • In some cases, there will be multiple filters which must be located, and corrected, before improvement is seen. Many people who are willing to find and correct one problem are significantly less willing to continue, looking for a second problem, when correction of the first problem does not yield proper results.
  • Analysis of the Blogger account problem can be done only when it's able to identify the problem blog, and the owning Blogger account. Some time ago, this was a simple task, which worked for all Blogger blogs. Today, this can be done for maybe 50% of the cases where this is needed.

Persuading a complaining blog guest or owner of the need for diagnosis, given the uncertainties involved, is frequently an exercise in diplomacy, complicated by normal human problem perception. Lack of understanding about the effects of layered security - and automatically updated security products - is a similar problem.


(Update 2011/08): We are seeing a new symptom, people being told explicitly
Your account does not have access to view this page.
We also continue to see the "Conflicting Edit" message, which is possibly related.


>> Top

11 comments:

Newkid said...

I had this error for weeks! It was driving me crazy, I coudln't put comments on my own blog or other peoples. You know what cured the problem, unticking the 'Remember Me' tickbox when I login.

Lucy said...

I'd be happy if someone could just fix the sidebar thing taking hours upon hours to update. It really confuses readers.

walnut said...

I'm going to try unticking the "remember me" box. BUT I have two blogs and only this one is giving me trouble! Furthermore, I'm NOT having trouble saying hi to you in the comments... so what gives??

The Quiet Riot said...

I followed the following procedure: Enable third party cookies (I think my problem started when I disabled this in Firefox) I then logged on to blogger using www.blogger.com instead of using my bookmark for my blog,( the bookmark has been deleted)and unchecked the "keep me signed in" option. Comment problems have been resolved. Thank you.

Chuck said...

Walnut,

Could you post in Blogger Help Forum: Something Is Broken, so we can diagnose your problem?

Chuck said...

Riot,

Thank you for the feedback. If your cookies are now properly unfiltered, you should, theoretically. be able to use "Remember me".

Chuck said...

Lucy,

Could you maybe post your report in Blogger Help Forum: Something Is Broken, so we can try to diagnose your problem?

walnut said...

YAHOO!! Chuck, thank you for the link to the blogger problem area. I think between the time I posted and the time I looked someone else had an identical problem and I followed steps there... whew.

The Unknowngnome said...

Just like the Newkid said previously, I too had this error for weeks! I coudln't put comments on certain blogs, so I unticked the 'Remember Me' tickbox on login and I can now comment on the blogs that I could not preivously comment on.

rusk said...

Your reply to my problem worked beautifully, thank you. The culprit: authentication cookie. Solved by clearing cookies, caches and sessions, resetting password, and logging in through blogger main page. Many thanks

Sue W @ Living the Good Life said...

The Quiet Riot resolved my issue! Hoorah! Thank you :D