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Since a short while ago, I can no longer see timestamps on comments. Is this some new feature, or has something gone wrong with my ad blocker?

For instance, when I visit this post, I see this:

Note: since today, it looks OK at first, but the above issue occurs after a delay of 1 minute, when the system tries to update the timestamps.

This is with Firefox 52 (the ESR version, which comes standard with many Linux distros). The problem does not come up in Firefox 60.

Another problem is that the comments aren't visible at all in Chrome 57. (Again, the version that comes with my Linux distro.) Things are fine in Chrome 66.

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  • 3
    What exactly don't you see? You don't see the title that appears on hover, or don't see the time it was created at all?
    – animuson StaffMod
    Jan 31, 2018 at 16:19
  • @animuson When I visit this post, I see this. I've edited my question. Jan 31, 2018 at 16:30
  • 2
    Can you give any details about how you're using the site, check if you're using any scripts that may be impeding it? I'm seeing the timestamps normally.
    – Catija StaffMod
    Jan 31, 2018 at 16:55
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    No repro here ...
    – Glorfindel Mod
    Jan 31, 2018 at 17:09
  • 3
    +1 for me being in the screenshot ...
    – rene
    Jan 31, 2018 at 17:10
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    With Firefox ESR, the date/time appears briefly before disappearing. Jan 31, 2018 at 17:32
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    Also, I have a problem with the comment upvote count when I upvote. A page refresh fixes it. This started at about the same time. Jan 31, 2018 at 17:34
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    For example, i.stack.imgur.com/sWh5G.png Jan 31, 2018 at 17:40
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    I see the same thing in Firefox ESR 52.5.2 Jan 31, 2018 at 18:02
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    @JosephQuinsey Yes, Mozilla here too, and you're right, the times do flash on and off when refreshing. So I know it's not me. Jan 31, 2018 at 18:14
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    @animuson Some specific browser versions have been mentioned; you might want to revisit this. I can't tell if it's before or after balpha tagged this status-norepro, though, because I can't see the comment timestamps.
    – user
    Jan 31, 2018 at 22:38
  • Related post 3 hours ago: Where did comment links go? Feb 1, 2018 at 0:45
  • When I upvote an upvoted comment on Firefox ESR the vote number disappears.
    – philipxy
    Feb 1, 2018 at 1:46
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    Related post 11 hours ago: Comment rendering bugged on meta SO in FF50 Feb 1, 2018 at 2:51
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    Clicking "Show X more comments" also makes the timestamps vanish.
    – hat
    Feb 1, 2018 at 19:40

2 Answers 2

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This is a really bad browser bug. And while we don't officially support FF 52, it seems used widely enough (because it's ESR) that this issue is probably worth working around.

Basically, the layout engine decides that the timestamp has a width of zero pixels, and we have to force the browser to re-calculate the layout.

This workaround is deployed here on Meta and will be on the rest of the network in a few minutes.

We now explicitly check for pre-Quantum Firefox versions and force the fallback layout. We'll probably do the same thing for older Safari versions once 11.1 is out, since allegedly that is supposed to work.

If you use a niche browser that we don't support and that has similar issues, a user script that adds the CSS class no-grid-comments to the <body> may be able to help you.

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  • OK. I'm not at my own computer now, but everything looks OK on this one... I'll check later this day. Feb 1, 2018 at 10:48
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    Seems to have been fixed now. I'm not seeing the behavior anywhere I've looked. Thanks!
    – user
    Feb 1, 2018 at 12:27
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    FWIW, looks like the next Firefox ESR release will be Firefox 60.0 in early May. End of life for Firefox ESR 52 is August 28 along with the release of ESR 60.2. Supporting Firefox ESR at the very least until the next ESR comes out seems reasonable, and until EOL would be awful nice.
    – user
    Feb 1, 2018 at 12:28
  • @MichaelKjörling WaterFox promises to carry ESR after that.
    – user612313
    Feb 1, 2018 at 12:40
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    Something has apparently broken MathJax in comments today, see meta.stackexchange.com/questions/306506/…
    – user612313
    Feb 1, 2018 at 12:42
  • Thank you. However, the MathJax problem I reported yesterday, until you hit "show xx more comments", still present. And so is the upvote bug (although this is less important, as a refresh fixes it). Feb 1, 2018 at 13:27
  • And there is another odd but minor problem. Press "add a comment" here, and wait 30 to 45 seconds. Then the timestamps disappear. (And they also seem to disappear at random.) Feb 1, 2018 at 13:39
  • @user612313: Regarding the MathJax problem, Makyen's work-around for the timestamps also fixes the MathJax: open and close the Web Developer Inspector (Cntrl+Shift+C). Feb 1, 2018 at 16:27
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    @balpha Please note that the problem has NOT completely been solved. It does show the timestamps at first, but after 1 minute, when it tries to update the times, they disappear again! I will edit my question. Or, is it better to post a new one? Feb 1, 2018 at 19:14
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    @MrLister That's fine, I think I'll just hack something in tomorrow that opts out old Firefox versions from the new layout.
    – balpha Staff
    Feb 1, 2018 at 19:31
  • balpha, not sure you're still around or not, so also trying to reach @Tim: ... This started happening again: comments missing MathJax and the timestamp, on Firefox ESR 52 at least. Workarounds: 1) open and close the Web Developer Inspector (Cntrl+Shift+C). Or, Restore-Maximize the browser window.
    – user612313
    Dec 6, 2019 at 12:54
  • @user612313 I'm not around anymore. I'm not sure what Tim you're trying to ping, but unless something has changed, that's not going to work. Probably best to open a new bug report (or update to a supported browsers; 52 is long end-of-lifed).
    – balpha Staff
    Dec 6, 2019 at 13:04
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We're doing some design overhaul on how comments are displayed; you can expect some weirdness while that's going on even though we're doing our best to test prior to pushing. No changes are going into how comments are displayed (or what gets displayed) as of yet, we're just changing how they're contained behind the scenes.

Some ephemeral breakage is to be expected could happen (though developers say they're watching out for it and trying to minimize disruption) (e.g. stuff that lasts just a few seconds).

Re-tagged so the devs working on this notice it. Thanks for the report!

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    Thanks; so we'll just have to sit it out. Oh, I just noticed that in Chromium, the comments don't display at all. None whatsoever. And the same happens all over the SE network; normal sites, betas, metas... Jan 31, 2018 at 18:20
  • @MrLister I'd be tempted to call that a feature, but I'll let Balpha know (he's responsible for today's comment shenanigans)
    – Tim Post
    Jan 31, 2018 at 18:28
  • With Firefox ESR 52.6, if I click on "show xx more comments", then everything is fine. Jan 31, 2018 at 18:37
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    I'm seeing the same thing, also on Firefox ESR 52.6.0. @JosephQuinsey's workaround of clicking "show xx more comments" obviously only works if there are more comments than initially shown, which is far from always the case. It's not the case on this answer at the moment, for example.
    – user
    Jan 31, 2018 at 22:30
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    I realize you can't test with every version of every browser on every platform, but it'd be good if you can at least test with the most recent and the most recent extended support release (or whatever each vendor might call it) on the major platforms before pushing to production. Testing with Firefox ESR even just on Windows and Mac would probably have revealed this (I'm on Linux, but I doubt this behavior is platform-specific). Yes, comments are meant to be second- or third-class citizens on the network, but losing access to timestamps and direct links is a detriment to moderation activities.
    – user
    Jan 31, 2018 at 22:33
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    I did a fresh install of ESR 52.6.0 64-bit on another Windows 7 machine, and the above problems were still present. Jan 31, 2018 at 22:33
  • There is also another issue if the comments have MathJax The comments are initially truncated at the start of any MathJax, and without a date/time. Clicking "show xx more comments" will give the MathJax as desired, but not the date/time. Jan 31, 2018 at 22:37
  • is this also related
    – Tanner
    Feb 1, 2018 at 0:03

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