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The CTC and the new cartalk.com

Dear Car Talk Community friends,

Thanks for bearing with us during the launch of the new Car Talk site.

You now have the opportunity to unify your community account with the rest of the Car Talk web site. This “Single-Sign On” feature allows for one account throughout the Car Talk site, whether you’re posting comments here, commenting on a blog by Tom and Ray, or reviewing a recent show.

When you log in to the Community you will have the opportunity to link your account with the rest of the Car Talk web site. Please log in using the gray “sign in” box and follow the instructions to link your account.

Over the coming week, we’ll be addressing a number of issues that will help make for a smoother experience.

Thanks for your patience as we tune up the new engine, transmission and suspension that are now running a brand new, 2012 edition cartalk.com.

Best,

Doug, Senior Web Lackey

Carolyn, Community Czarina

Czarina? Is this a communist conspiracy? Was Rush reight again.

Do I need to log out and then log back in? So far, you remember me from before the change.

Comrade Knox, I swear, there is no conspiracy.

keith, no need – you’re OK. If you do log out and log in again, you should not have any problems.

“Comrade Knox, I swear, there is no conspiracy.”

Czarina, use it to your royal advantage. Blame all the site’s ills on those Bolshevik swine.

I have no idea what’s going on, but I’m using IE to be on here. Every attempt to use FF to login causes me to be logged out everytime I visit the forum.

I sign in, it sends me to “Account info” where I can edit my profile, but when I click the community link, or visit from the favorited direct link to the forum, it logs me out. It recognizes me, even giving me the option to log out. I never hit the logout option, just click the “Community” link, and it automatically logs me out. I’ve tried both the sign in at the top in the red and the singin link on the forums, it will NOT let me stay logged in.

First I lose the ability to login via my original account, now I can’t even access the forums with either account without using IE

You get what you pay for…

I had the same frustrating experience with FF as bscar2, but after several tries it seems to be working in FF

i’m STILL having the problem

Hi bscar2 (and everybody else), there have been changes made that are supposed to be implemented tonight to rectify some of the issues we’ve been having. Please keep us posted on the progress.

upgraded, tried logging in, and was able to stay logged in for a bit. But, when I click the community link(forum link?) it just sends me to my “account information” setup and I can’t advance from there. I even use my bookmarked forum page in my browser, but it signs me out when I do; even going to the cartalk homepage and clicking a forum link there signs me out.

@cdaquila: Have you considered breaking into the office where they make this forum’s software and replacing their retarded monkies with rabid baboons? Or, at the very least, breaking some fingers? Things might work better.

@bscar2 Unfortunately I need my fingers to code, so breaking them for me wouldn't help.

There were some issues with the interaction between cartalk.com and community.cartalk.com that were causing a bit of unpredictable behaviour with the Single Sign On. I've pushed a fix for those issues this evening and I encourage you to try logging in again.

So, um, uhhh, how long have you been testing the Single Sign-on?

@littlemouse I personally wrote it, and it has been the way I sign on to my own forum for over a year. http://vanillaforums.org/addon/proxyconnect-plugin

The problem was unintentional and unforeseen. You seem to be representing yourself as someone who knows something about software, so I'll give you the rundown.

SSO works by querying the master identity store (in this case cartalk.com) on behalf of the accessing user (you) and analyzing the response. If the accessing user is logged in to the master store, the SSO will receive basic account information such as Username, UserID, Email address. It will use these to either look up the corresponding account on the forum or, in the case of a user who is new to the forums, create a new account with those details and link to it. Then log in this account.

So we understand the basic idea: ask cartalk.com if the current user is logged in, and use the response to automatically log them in to the forum if they are. The problem is that if you think about this, it effectively doubles the load on both the forum and cartalk.com by causing a constant backchannel of "logged in? no? ok." "logged in now? oh, ok." "AND NOW?! ok :(" questions for every single user on every single page request.

The solution to this obvious problem is to make the SSO only ask that question when needed. Such as 1) the first time you open the community or 2) when you press the sign-in button on the community discussions page. This works seamlessly and invisibly for 99% of cases, and cuts down on all the excess wasted requests to and from the master store. Amazing!

The issue that arose here was with the new Hot Discussions widget on the front page. This widget uses javascript (aka, code run on the USER's browser, AS the user) to retrieve a list of popular discussions from the community, even when the user is technically still on cartalk.com. This happens regardless of whether you're logged in or not.

If you think about this, the outcome is that the first time you arrive at cartalk.com after opening your web browser on a given day, the site loads and the Hot Discussions are fetched. Because this is coming from your browser and not cartalk.com, it actually triggers the first condition of the SSO: the first time you open the community. Obviously you are not logged in yet, and so the SSO goes: "ah, not logged in. we'll just wait till they decide to log in and press the 'sign in' button". Result: when you do decide to visit the forum, you are not logged in because the SSO has already tried and failed.

Our fix was to make the Community link from cartalk.com forcibly trigger the SSO question always (simulating an unpolluted 'first visit' condition when that link is clicked). A URL for that already existed, but I wrote some extra code anyway to account for the forcible nature of these new requests and prevent theoretical cases where this behaviour could cause an infinite loop for redirection. We figured that may annoy people.

SSO is perfect for a web site like this. Every web-app my team has developed for the past 3 years have all been SSO.

Tried the single sign-in link, it STILL automatically takes me to my “account information” page. When I click the community button in the links, it’ll take me to the forums, but logs me out. I can right click a forum link(general discussions for example) and have FF open in IE, and I’m logged in through IE.

So to clarify what's happening right now:

On these forums, the yellow expandy box at the top right does not properly work. The issue lies in the cartalk.com handling of logins. As you have probably experienced, logging in from the forums via that yellow box takes you to your cartalk.com page and not back here as you would expect. There is not much the forums can do about that.

However! Logging in on cartalk.com and then clicking the Community link should work fine. I tested it extensively yesterday and today. If you're having trouble, I highly recommend clearing out your cookies and cache and trying again. It is possible that there are some shenanigans going on in your browser's cache. Give it a shot.

cartalk.com are working on the issue with their login handler, so that should resolve soon.

bscar2, I don’t want to break anybody’s fingers – I know you’re frustrated, but I assure you everybody’s been working really, really hard since the new site launched. Follow Tim’s instructions to be logged in. (Thanks, Tim, for taking the time to explain things to us.)

tried it, still refuses to work. temp files deleted and everything.

On the cartalk site, it shows me logged in, but as soon as I click the community linki, it logs me out. However, if I click another link off the forums, then it shows me logged back in. I do not attempt to login at either time.

forgot to check the cookies, so i deleted those, deleted the temp files again, then tried logging on. It’s now asking me to link my accounts, but when I put in my password for the email, it says there’s no account found with my email/password:

Sign in

Sorry, no account could be found related to the email/username and password you entered.

This is the first time you’ve visited the discussion forums.
You can either create a new account, or enter your credentials if you have an existing account.

Give me a new account
Username
Email

Link my existing account
Email
Password</i>

I’m probably not the only one having this problem, I’m just somehow able to get on here to be vocal about it. And this is just for my BACKUP account, not my main I’ve completely lost