I am logged on why does Family Search reject Image Display?
I am accessing FamilySearch from my home computer so I choose the option to remain signed on for two weeks. But if I spend a few minutes working with other tools on my computer and come back to FamilySearch and, for example, request to go to the next sequential image in a document set I get:
and I am forced to reload the page. Note that neither of the error messages displayed to the client indicate what the client is supposed to do to get around the problem. The "Image Unavailable" message should explain why the image is unavailable. The "Error loading image. Please try again later." suggests this is a temporary issue, perhaps related to load on the server, but in this case it is not. Some secret undocumented timer has popped and the user either has to try reloading the page or sign back into the service but the client is somehow expected to read your mind. I have raised issues related to this in the past and this time I would appreciate either an explanation of why it is necessary for me to sign on or refresh the page or a commitment to fix this as a recognized bug.
@CDBurk Securing devices is a fine reason - but expiry of a browser session does nothing to secure the device (i.e. it doesn't log the user out of the OS session). I think the point of this query is that if FamilySearch 'terminates an active session' shouldn't the message indicate 'your active link to this image expired - refresh the screen to reload the image/reestablish active session'?1
Community member (not FamilySearch representative)
Comment/Suggestion (not explanation): There did appear recent issues with Account signon 'remember for 2 weeks' setting - the option was not available one day - so perhaps FamilySearch is doing 'something' with this feature. I agree - if the solution is to re-login - the message should indicate 'unavailable due to login session expiration'. I am unaware if accounts can get into a 'throttled access' loop or limitation where logoff is 'forced'. Perhaps call FamilySearch Support : https://www.familysearch.org/en/help/helpcenter/article/contact-us (if available from your location) and have them investigate any account 'irregularities'?0
It is not uncommon for most sites to "time-out" when you have pages sitting open but inactive even for just a few minutes. Even if you say you want to stay signed into FamilySearch, you can be timed out, but my personal experience has been that simply hitting the refresh option for the page which has "timed-out" usually restores the information without having to formally sign in. [In some browsers, or after longer periods of time, I do have to click sign-in again].
For the best experience, it is wise not to have many, many pages open but not active. It is partially for your security that sites will automatically log you out if you are not actively working from multiple pages. I hope this makes sense and that we can all appreciate processes that are meant to protect the security of the devices we use to connect to the Internet.1
My comment about being automatically logged out of sites is a security feature for many sites, and you are completely logged out quite often. I don't know of any Bank or other Financial site that will allow you to remain in your account if you page is inactive for any amount of time...you are always logged out to protect your account.
That general statement was not meant to describe how FamilySearch acts when you have checked the box to stay logged in for two weeks. When I have used that check mark, I can quickly get back to what I was doing simply by refreshing the page, and even if I am taken back to the sign in page, I am quickly signed back in.
James specifically asked about using the check box so I probably should not have added a generalized statement. My apologies if you felt it was not helpful or necessary. I actually feel that the message for images that are not immediately available is appropriate, but any user is welcome to go to the Share an Idea Category in the Community to offer suggestions about how you wish FamilySearch would handle the issue with pages that are dormant but still open on someone's computer, or about images that are no longer available because you have been temporarily logged out.1
@CDBurk Thank you for your constructive comments.
I should note that Ancestry.com does not behave this way, although it is the most similar site. If you are viewing an image from a set you can go away for hours and come back and still exploit your session to view the next image in the set. Admittedly you have to pay for that privilege.
One concern is that in this situation neither of the messages, nor the help page which describes them, indicates that you can continue by refreshing the page in your browser. The only deficiency of refresh is that the only information passed to the page is what is in the URL. So any alterations which the client has made to how the image is displayed including zooming, scrolling, and hiding the index window, is lost.
The Suggest an Idea Category page explicitly declares:
"The Suggest An Idea category is designed to generate and discuss new ideas. Please offer feedback and bug reports in the General Questions category."
I have also tried chatting with the support organization. After three hours on chat none of the three people I spoke with understood what my concern was because they are apparently genealogists, not engineers. Consistently they indicated that whether or not the web-site actually works is not their bailiwick and they have no mechanism for communicating with the actual engineers responsible for its behavior. Web site issues are not one of the five categories you must choose from when initiating a chat. I prefer to use chat because it permits exchanging technical details such as URLs.
The help page which describes the pair of messages in my screenshot makes it clear that they are issued when there is an access issue and suggests signing on, clearing cache, switching browsers, etc. But my point is that I am already signed on, as demonstrated when I refresh the page and my account information appears at the top right of the page without a new signon. So in my opinion the messages are being issued when the problem they are supposed to report does not exist. That is a bug. But I cannot find any mechanism for actually reporting a bug anywhere on this site.2
I have forwarded this concern to the department that can investigate your concern more thoroughly. When they have additional information for you, they may post here in the Community, or you may be contacted directly by email. Thank you for posting your concern.0
@JamesCobban That you for reporting the unhelpful messages when the system times out if left idle. While we can't imagine that engineers will disable the time-out, we have submitted a request for better messaging when it happens as you browse record images.0