Yesterday Ancestry "published" a fix for the Enhanced Image Viewer bug that has affected a lot of you. When the user tried to view an image the installation page would repeatedly reload. The bug only affected users with Ancestry Member Trees and (get this!) the longer the name of the tree, the more likely the user was to experience problems and the more frequently the problem reoccurred after users fixed the problem by deleting their cookies.
To "get" yesterday's fix, go to one of your trees and view an individual. If that doesn't work, delete your cookies. You should then be able to use the enhanced image viewer without problems.
Over the years, I've seen deleting cookies fix a variety of problems and this was one of them. If you ever find Ancestry.com acting extremely weird, see if deleting your cookies clears up the behavior.
Customer Service and Dog Food
One of you wrote, saying,
I'm one of those folks who one day could not use the image reader. Each time I tried to open an image, the page kept loading and reloading over and over... no way to view the image.
So I wrote for help and received instructions advising me that there might be a conflict with my Norton. Well, since I didn't have Norton, I wrote again and got basically the same answer. I wrote again, and finally I had someone that read my query and sent me [a different answer].
...Not a quick process, but after following each of the steps, it did work - for less than 2 days. I'm back where I was originally. Loading and reloading with IE and AOL. This has been going on for the last 3 weeks and I'm certainly not getting the benefit of my paid services.
Do you have any suggestions? It's awful to think that I'd need to do each of these steps every other day. Are other people having the save problem? Any idea when this might be fixed?
Could Ancestry have done a better job helping customers experiencing this problem? Sure. But you should realize how difficult that is.
It is a rare customer service employee in medium or large companies that can recognize a program bug, so it's extremely unlikely that enough different reps will recognize the problem and log it in a consistent way that makes it possible to assess how prevalent a bug is.
It is a rare product manager or software developer assigned enough time "eating their own dog food" to discover these issues themselves.
It is a rare customer that can provide the necessary information to prove an issue is a bug and to give developers all they need to reproduce, diagnose and fix a bug. That's not a criticism. But unlike me, normal people don't browse with an http protocol sniffer program installed on their computers.
This particular problem was especially mysterious because the program bug was undetectable when using the tree pages where the bug resided. A seemingly independent page of the website started to fail even though no changes had been made to that page. Nearly 100% of the time, that means an outside factor such as Norton or AOL made a change that caused the problem.
When the problem happened to me the second time, I knew I hadn't made any changes in my system. I gathered all the information necessary for the developers to diagnose and fix this problem. But I couldn't have done it without information some of you supplied, either directly to me or in other public forums. Thank you! And thanks to the Ancestry people that worked with me to get this problem fixed. You're awesome!