Cross-posting to Twitter is down again

It didn’t work for a while, then it did, now it has stopped again. Or if it hasn’t stopped it has become extremely slow… I posted about 45 minutes ago and it has yet to appear on my Twitter feed.

I posted last week to Twitter and it worked fine, but I posted yesterday (~18 hours) and it still hasn’t shown up…

After reading Automatic cross-posting to Twitter, Mastodon, and other services, I’m wondering if it’s because my most recent post is in the grey area of being short enough for a short M.b post but too long for Twitter (which counts URL characters)…

Sorry to revive an old thread, wasn’t sure if it merited a new thread… In general, is there anything we can do in M.b to see what is or isn’t happening with our own cross posting?

That “gray area” length is a common problem. If Micro.blog fails to truncate a post that has a URL and Twitter rejects the post, it will just silently fail to cross-post. If you post a URL for the post that didn’t work, I can double-check it.

That will be it then Manton! It’s 274 characters in M.b but 339 characters raw…

Matthew Lindfield Seager / Micro.blog

Have you got any plans to address it at some point, time permitting? I’m guessing the options you’ve considered are:

  • Do nothing
  • Do nothing but add additional preview(s) to let the blogger see what the cross post(s) will look like after being transformed for configured services (that would work for me, but I only cross post to Twitter… I’m guessing it might get out of hand trying to show previews for all the different systems people use? And you’d have to keep tweaking it if services change what formatting/characters are allowed)
  • Keep failing but no longer fail silently (but what would that even look like? Posts and cross-posts are asynchronous so it can’t be an immediate notification… alert badge on the post? System comment on the post [that’s only visible to the blog owner?]? Email notification? Other?)
  • Automatically truncate (perhaps to 255 and use the last 25 characters to add an ellipsis, a space and a 23 character t.co link back to the full post? And I’m just assuming that’s how Twitter counts link characters)
  • Automatically switch to the >280 character behaviour and post a link
  • Ask the blogger to decide which automatic behaviour to use (truncate or post a link) in account preferences
  • Ask the blogger to decide between linking or truncating on a per occasion basis… which raises the same questions as failing loudly does, how do you notify the blogger when posts and cross posts are asynchronous?

Spending other developer’s time is almost as easy as spending Tim Cook’s money but if it was up to me I’d choose for you to implement a combination of pretty much all of the options :stuck_out_tongue_closed_eyes:

  • Add a preference to choose automatic behaviour
  • Add a preview so I can see what will happen
  • In the preview let me override the automatic behaviour on a per post basis
  • Add some sort of progress indicator or status on the post for what’s happening with cross-posting… maybe a dim or pulsing Twitter icon for in progress, Twitter blue for successfully posted (bonus points if it’s clickable and takes me to the post on Twitter) and red or badged if cross-posting failed for any reason (bonus points if it’s clickable to see the error message)

Thanks @matt17r, those are all good suggestions. I think I have been stuck on trying to account for the different ways that Twitter treats URLs (for example, it counts “Micro.blog” as a URL, even though it doesn’t start with “http”).

I’m considering doing 2 things as a next step:

  • Actually log errors when the tweets fail. These will show up in /account/logs.
  • If a tweet fails, try to further truncate and tweet it again. It’s not ideal but might solve most of the problems.

@manton A somewhat related (but not really) question. Will the Mac app get the ability to select cross-posting (like the iOS app allows). Even the web doesn’t have this on a per-post setting. For some posts, I don’t want to cross-post to Twitter what I post on Micro.blog but going to web settings every time is cumbersome.

Yes, I think that would be a good improvement.

Thank you. If that’s easier/faster for your or the team, having this ability on the web would probably be a better solution for most customers. I don’t know how many customers use the clients vs the web.

I’ve made some of the improvements that I mentioned above: it now logs errors from Twitter, and if it fails it tries to cross-post again by aggressively truncating to about 200 characters first. I’ve also double-checked the character counting code and it looks accurate. Hopefully the new logging will reveal any additional problems. (Reminder that the logs are under Account → View logs.)

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