Global Shared Stories not staying marked as read

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  • Updated 5 years ago
When I look at the "Global Shared Stories" there are many stories in there that won't stay marked as read. They seem to be in a time window from about Jan 8 to Dec 13 or so. They also seem to be stories which are in feeds that I subscribe to.

If I scroll through them all to mark them all as read, they will stay that way for a little while. But, if I come back later (time required unknown), they will re-appear as unread again.

These stories appear on newsblur.com, dev.newsblur.com, and on the iOS app.

My newsblur login name is 'matthewdharm' if you want to look at my account specifically.
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Matthew Dharm

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Posted 6 years ago

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John Morahan

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I have the same problem. In my case they go from Jan 11 back to Dec 12.
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Samuel Clay, Official Rep

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How are you seeing stories in Global Shared Stories that go back that far? That's pages and pages down the list. It's January 28th, yet you're seeing stories from January 11th?
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Matthew Dharm

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What I see when I go to Global Shared Stories is:

First, relatively recent unread stories (generally from today, new since the last time I checked newsblur.com). Based on how frequently I check and scroll through them to mark them as read, this might be a dozen stories or so.

Then, a bunch of very old stories, from the time window I described in my original report. There's a distinct gap between the "current" stories and these really old ones.

It's been about an hour since I last "cleared" this mess, and they haven't come back yet, or I would send you a screenshot.

It's also worth mentioning that these "really old" stories don't display right. Some are bolded in the lower pane (to indicate unread), but some aren't. Some appear multiple times, and don't scroll properly as I hit down-arrow.
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John Morahan

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Some time ago I just kept reading old global shared stories until I seemed to reach the end of the list, which I guess at the time was only a few pages. Since then I've only seen new unread ones, until a couple of days ago when these old stories started reappearing.
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John Morahan

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Granted, this is probably not how most people use global shared stories :-)
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Matthew Dharm

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Actually, that's exactly how I use Global Shared Stories, as well.

Whatever is causing this, it seems to take a few hours for these stories to reappear. Just waiting a few minutes won't do it.

It also seems to be the same set of stories which are re-appearing. Some of them are getting very familiar-looking.
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Matthew Dharm

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Sam, is there anything I can provide to help you debug this?
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Samuel Clay, Official Rep

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Yes please, take note of which feeds it's happening to. I need to know the pattern. Is it a story that is being re-shared by somebody else? Does it only happen to stories older than N days back?
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Matthew Dharm

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Next time it happens, I'll grab the feeds. But, it seems to be "The Dish" and "Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal" and maybe a couple of others.

The stories do not appear to be getting re-shared (at least, not recently). They are in Global Shared Stories because they were originally shared, after all.

It seems to only happen to stories in the time window I described. Interestingly, that time window is not "sliding" to keep up with current time. That is, it's NOT "stories N days old", but stories specifically between Jan 8 and Dec 13, plus or minus a little bit.
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Matthew Dharm

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Feeds that are showing up constantly in Global Shared Stories:

https://www.newsblur.com/site/3568/th...
https://www.newsblur.com/site/49/fail...
https://www.newsblur.com/site/169/xkc...
https://www.newsblur.com/site/785/sat...

I think that is all of them, but the when I'm in the midst of these old stories, they repeat when scrolling, the scroll jumps around, and I often have to click on "global shared stories" again to get the thing to reload into a list that I can go back to scrolling through to mark them as read.

Note, that I happen to also subscribe to these feeds. Other feeds in global shared stories that I do NOT subscribe to are not showing up like this.
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John Morahan

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In my case also, they are only from feeds I subscribe to, mostly Boing Boing and a few others. I have none from The Dish or FAIL Blog, neither of which I subscribe to.

https://www.newsblur.com/site/526/boi...
https://www.newsblur.com/site/169/xkc...
https://www.newsblur.com/site/785/sat...
https://www.newsblur.com/site/648639/...
https://www.newsblur.com/site/3064/ch...
https://www.newsblur.com/site/1272495...

However, my time window *is* sliding - at least at one end. The oldest one is always a specific story from December 12th (from https://www.newsblur.com/site/3064/ch...), but the newest seems to be fairly consistently about two weeks ago - currently January 20th, but it seems to advance every day.
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Alfred Markut Jr.

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I am getting this as well... Here is a screenshot of some of the stories it's happening to. Far too many to simply post links to them.



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vic

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I'm also seeing this exact problem, and only with feeds that I subscribe to. Boing Boing is the one that shows up the most, but I also see it with The Toast, marco.org, even the Newsblur Blog!. I'm seeing this both on web and iOS, btw.

I'm seeing the same things as others:
- sliding time window, currently going back to Dec 12th
- marking the stories as read works for a while, but they come back in a few hours
- some of the stories are reshared ones, and some are not
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Matthew Dharm

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Looking more closely, it looks like I do have a "sliding window". It's just that the "near" end is difficult to spot moving. But, it's moved by at least a couple of weeks.

Sam, would it help if I just let you take over my account for a day to look at this? It's *really* annoying, and it's messing up my iOS browsing of Global Shared Stories (I once saw the same story appear 5 times in a row on iOS).

Global Shared Stories is rapidly losing value to me as a feature because of this...
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vic

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I'd also be happy to give you a temporary password and let you see what I'm seeing, assuming you can't reproduce it yourself.

Opened up an issue for this: https://github.com/samuelclay/NewsBlu...
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Matthew Dharm

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I don't know if this is significant, but I just observed a case where the stories that erroneously showed-up as unread were all from two feeds. Normally, I see stories for 4-5 different feeds.

This is starting to feel like some sort of database synchronization issue to me....
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Samuel Clay, Official Rep

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Well, there's only one database for stories/unreads, so it can't be a sync error. There are slave databases, but they are only used by feed fetchers, and unread counts are computed using the master database. Besides, this isn't an unread count issue, this is read stories being trimmed from your read stories list, which can only happen when the original stories are trimmed off the end of the feed. And if you don't subscribe to the feed, read stories are never trimmed!
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John Morahan

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Aha! But if we *do* subscribe to the feeds (which we do in all these cases), the read stories are trimmed after the cutoff period, and the normal feed views display anything older as read anyway... but global does not?
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vic

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I've been using List view to get a better handle on this. A couple new things I noticed:
- If I show "All" stories, I don't get any of the zombie stories. Stories go back 30 days.
- When I switch to "Unread" stories, I see all the zombie stories. They *start* 30 days back (1/24, as of today), and go back to 12/11/2013. So I think that instead of a sliding window, what I'm actually seeing is a fixed start point (12/11) and a sliding end point (today minus 30 days).
- I tried unsubscribing to one of the feeds that shows zombie stories, Boing Boing, but that didn't seem to have any effect - they still show up when I switch to "Unread".
- There can be duplicate zombie stories in "Unread" mode. I don't see duplicates when I switch to "All".
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Samuel Clay, Official Rep

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Wait, if a story in unread in global, is it also unread when you open the feed directly?
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John Morahan

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Nope.

Which is to say: if I manually mark it as unread in global, it's also unread in the feed. If it mysteriously appears as a zombie, then no, it's still read in the feed. I don't know what happens with stories I simply haven't read yet.
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vic

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Another data point: I mentioned earlier that I removed Boing Boing from my subscribed feeds and that didn't have an effect on the zombie story list. Well, now all the Boing Boing stories are gone from my Global Shared / Unread list.

More specifically, it seems like when you read through all the zombie stories, they temporarily go away, but then they come back after an hour or two. This time, when they came back, the Boing Boing stories were gone.

I'm going to try re-subscribing to Boing Boing to see if that makes them come back.
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Matthew Dharm

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Could this be a difference in the 'trimming' horizon for old stories being different between Global Shared Stories and subscribed feeds?
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Hand-E-Food

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This is happening for me for any stories I have previously saved. I've unsaved them since, but now they've been moved to the permanent "Saved" section of the database where stories can last longer than 30 days. These stories are marked as read and unsaved in any other news stream I have.

The latest story presenting this behaviour is 12 days old and more recent stories are occasionally added to the problem. The oldest is from 13-Dec-2013. NewsBlur runs frightfully slow when downloading much older stories.

The platform and browser seem to make no difference.
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Samuel Clay, Official Rep

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Ok, good news, I finally figured out a novel solution to this bug. I just launched it and now any story you mark as read should stay marked as read.

The bug was that stories get culled from the bottom of a feed to make room for newer stories. Those stories, if shared, would be marked as read by you. But when the original story is deleted, the read story information is also deleted (which is why I don't have any personal statistics on how much you're reading until I build a new low granularity database table that keeps track of this, which I plan to eventually).

Now stories that are shared are never deleted, so your read status is also preserved. Should work fine for any story you mark as read from now on. Let me know otherwise.