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Thursday, April 30, 2015

Editing Two Draft Posts, At The Same Time? Careful!

We've been seeing occasional reports of problems, vaguely described in Blogger Help Forum: Get Help with an Issue, referencing posts being overwritten by other posts.
I have been working on my post, for days. This morning, I opened it, to edit - and discovered that it now contains material from another, newer post! How do I recover my older post?
The answer is simple.
You can't. Blogger is not a Content Management System - and when you destroy a post, it's gone.
This report is a bit annoying. We can suspect that there is a problem - but we get no clue how to prevent the same disaster from destroying our own blog.

My personal policy was simply to advise people to avoid leaving posts, in Draft status, for long periods of time.

Publish sooner, and edit after you publish. Unfortunately, some blog owners will spend days - and weeks - working on new posts, before publishing.

Generally, nothing untoward happens - and I get called names, for instructing people to not do something, that helps them enjoy publishing their blog. Today, we saw a clue as to what may be happening - and possibly, one precaution that we might take.

I had two different Draft posts open - and one post replaced the content of the other. It's not recoverable, according to Blogger.

This scenario is still annoying - but it's maybe avoidable.

Has this ever happened, to you?

I've had instances where I open two posts, simultaneously (or one, immediately after the other), so I can move content between the two. Occasionally, I may click on two different "Edit" links in Posts, in rapidfire mode - and open two post editor tabs in the browser. Click - Click - and start work.

Looking at the two post editor windows, I observe that I have two copies of the same content. Looking at the browser address window, I see two different URLs. Obviously, I managed to open the same post, twice.

If it happens, no problem. Recovery is simple.

To avoid stupidly editing the same post twice (which copy should I save?), the solution is simple. Save neither.

Close both tabs, immediately, without saving either - and start over. Open the two posts, for editing, again - but be more careful to not mis click the mouse - or what ever I did to cause the potential disaster.

So far, no problem. I have not lost a post, because of overwriting. Maybe, I've been lucky - or did I just repel an elephant attack?

The longer you take, when editing, the greater chance that you will see this happen. So think, when editing posts, for long periods of time.

Draft posts may not leave you so nonchalant.

What happens, though, if you open two Draft posts, and the contents of one open under the edit URL of the other? Can you quickly and safely close both tabs, without saving either?

When you edit Draft posts, your posts are subject to malfeasance by AutoSave. What happens, if you open two posts - and AutoSave saves the content of one post, into the other?

And there is one possible scenario, how one Draft post can overwrite the other.

I open two previously published posts, simultaneously - a lot. I open a Draft post - and one or two published posts, simultaneously - occasionally. I have never opened two Draft posts, simultaneously - that I can recall.

OK, we don't know the cause of the base problem.

Admittedly, we don't know why this happens, that one post would open under the URL of the other - though I have a gut feel for what is going on.
It's not recoverable, according to Blogger.
Blogger knows that this is happening.

Just don't let the problem destroy your post.

If the known problem is real - and if Blogger has not yet managed to fix the problem - just don't have your work become a casualty of the problem.

If you are going to maintain multiple Draft posts, over long periods of time - and you ever have occasion to edit two posts, simultaneously, open each one, deliberately. Open one, verify the contents, and the post editor URL - then return to the Posts menu, open the second, and verify the contents and the post editor URL.

Don't open multiple post edits, in rapidfire mode. You won't be editing, quickly - open carefully, and edit carefully.

Call me names, if you wish. You may regret, some time.

Maybe, you will again call me a ninny. Maybe not. But, if you ever watch a long developed Draft post destroyed, you may change your mind.

Or, you can be more careful, starting now. The lost work, that you may save, may be your own.

Dude, hit me with a comment!

Sotiris Vlachos said...

Hi Chuck,
Sometimes, the undo arrow on the post editing bar or the classic Ctrl+Z can save the day.
But one has to act immediately upon realizing the situation, before the buffer contents are replaced by another post or whatever.
By pressing "undo" once may clear the whole content of the post (showing an empty screen), no panic, since by pressing "undo" a second time brings back the original content.
Hope that helps,
Regards,
Sotiris

Chuck Croll said...

Hi Sotiris,

Good tip, and thanks. "Undo", or "Undo" x 2, can indeed save the day!

But you gotta have nerves of steel, to outrun "AutoF**k". I call it that, in memory of another Blogger Expert, who rhymed it with "When that s**t happens, you're out of luck!".