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Data in puzzle source code has disappeared


SkipperL
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On two puzzles from the NE area of the US the answer to finding the coords both were solved by finding a fake CO user name, going to their profile page, highlighting the page and the coords would appear.  

On both of these puzzles, I was unable to see the text or locate the coords in the source code.  I verified this by exchanging my source code data with someone that could see this data.

 

I then tried 4 different browsers and 3 different windows versions, 10, 11 and 7.  Three different computers and my phone.

So if it works somewhere up north, I'm in Florida, what could possibly be causing this.  Do different regions of the country have different servers?

 

One of the CO's stated that this may have happened after a geocaching software update.

 

Any ideas?

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1 hour ago, SkipperL said:

One of the CO's stated that this may have happened after a geocaching software update.

Entirely possible, given the method of obtaining the coordinates. But then it would be the same for everyone. Are you saying it works for someone else today, or that it worked before?

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1 hour ago, SkipperL said:

On two puzzles from the NE area of the US the answer to finding the coords both were solved by finding a fake CO user name, going to their profile page, highlighting the page and the coords would appear.  

On both of these puzzles, I was unable to see the text or locate the coords in the source code.  I verified this by exchanging my source code data with someone that could see this data.

 

I then tried 4 different browsers and 3 different windows versions, 10, 11 and 7.  Three different computers and my phone.

So if it works somewhere up north, I'm in Florida, what could possibly be causing this.  Do different regions of the country have different servers?

 

One of the CO's stated that this may have happened after a geocaching software update.

 

Any ideas?

 

Were you doing puzzle tests at the request of the Cache Owners?  Are you sure you did the right steps? 

 

The web page is not necessarily "from the NE".  That is, a Geocacher Profile is in a database along with everybody else's, not on a "NE" server near the Owner's cache.  But if there's some embedded code that a Cache Owner is hosting on a 3rd-party server, then, yes, it's possible that things have changed.

 

If the Cache Owners know that people from out of state have problems with the puzzles, it's up to them to decide if the puzzle is still viable.  If, the cache is "from the NE" and only solvable while in that area, perhaps no action needs to be taken.

 

It seems like something to be discussed with those Cache Owners.  It should be left to them to work on servers and code for their puzzles.

 

 

Edited by kunarion
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Yes, I did everything and more correct.  I have contacted the CO's of these caches and one wasn't even aware this was happening.  After hours trying to solve a puzzle, it's a little annoying that you can't due to some type of technical error.  I'm involved because I solve puzzles all over the globe.  It's not a good thing if I can't trust the data.  And how would the CO know that an update messed up their puzzle?  I'm working on another right now.  If it works for some people and not others, that's a problem.

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2 hours ago, SkipperL said:

If it works for some people and not others, that's a problem.

But do you have any indication that it works for someone else? Today, I mean. It would not be the first time something stopped working due to an update.

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23 minutes ago, ChriBli said:

But do you have any indication that it works for someone else? Today, I mean. It would not be the first time something stopped working due to an update.


Maybe it’s just fine.  If the cache page is still up, and especially, if others solve it, the whole idea is to work the puzzle on the puzzle’s terms.  Many caches are only solvable near the cache itself.
 

It seems like a very complex, tricky puzzle with, evidently, a connection to the cache owner’s personal server.  If I go to that much trouble to make a unique online puzzle, I’d prefer everyone to not publicly work out the finer details on how it all works (or doesn’t work).  Even if it’s broken.  Especially if it’s broken.  The CO may then fix it and still not want everyone to know exactly how it functions.


But it’s OK for the OP to ask the CO about it.

 

Edited by kunarion
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13 hours ago, kunarion said:


Maybe it’s just fine.  If the cache page is still up, and especially, if others solve it, the whole idea is to work the puzzle on the puzzle’s terms.  Many caches are only solvable near the cache itself.
 

It seems like a very complex, tricky puzzle with, evidently, a connection to the cache owner’s personal server.  If I go to that much trouble to make a unique online puzzle, I’d prefer everyone to not publicly work out the finer details on how it all works (or doesn’t work).  Even if it’s broken.  Especially if it’s broken.  The CO may then fix it and still not want everyone to know exactly how it functions.


But it’s OK for the OP to ask the CO about it.

 

I do not know of any type puzzle where you have to be near the cache to solve it except for field, chirp, Wherigo, adventure labs and ones that state that you need data from the site itself.

These puzzles are broke.  I have talked with the CO's and they agree that they are broke and they do not no why.

I can tell you, since I spent many hours trying to solve them, it is a waste of my time and anyone else trying to solve something that can't be solved. That was not by design, something happened to them and I am trying to get a logical solution for a fix or better yet let geocaching.com that they are breaking an unknown amount of puzzles.

These puzzles haven't been solved in years because they're broke.  Another one in yet another state got achieved because this problem. Now the CO's realize they are broke.

The next step would be archive or a fix. 

And as stated in my first post, another user sent me a copy of what I was suppose to see, this week, they had it, I didn't.  Why? I don't know, hence the post to begin with.

I also know of no-one using their own server to keep a cache up and running and would doubt a reviewer would agree to that, could be wrong, but I don't think so.  Worse case there is that you wouldn't be able to reach the server if it had a problem and that would be very obvious.  Security wise, dangerous. JMO on that one.

 

Now, the way I found this problem was going step by step, with the CO, because they did not know why I couldn't solve it and I was telling them what I had done to try and solve them.  Each time they let me know that I should have seen data to continue.  Again, it was not there.  Now they are aware and hopefully working on it.  What caused it to begin with, I don't know.  Why do I care, I don't mind helping puzzle makers with their problems, I really hate wasting my time on broken puzzles.

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On 3/18/2022 at 12:58 PM, SkipperL said:

On two puzzles from the NE area of the US the answer to finding the coords both were solved by finding a fake CO user name, going to their profile page, highlighting the page and the coords would appear.  

On both of these puzzles, I was unable to see the text or locate the coords in the source code.  I verified this by exchanging my source code data with someone that could see this data.

I've solved many puzzles where the answer was in white text on the cache page. You could either highlight the line to see the text or view the page source.

 

I had not heard of it being done on a profile page but I just edited my profile and was able to hide white text that was viewable when highlighted and also visible in the page source as you describe in the OP. 

 

Since you haven't shared any of the puzzles it's hard to say what the problem is, but what you described in the OP is possible create and have work. Maybe check with one of the CO's and see if they'll give permission to post the cache here? 

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On 3/18/2022 at 3:58 PM, SkipperL said:

On two puzzles from the NE area of the US the answer to finding the coords both were solved by finding a fake CO user name, going to their profile page, highlighting the page and the coords would appear.  

On both of these puzzles, I was unable to see the text or locate the coords in the source code.  I verified this by exchanging my source code data with someone that could see this data.

In the Help Center article HTML in cache pages, it appears that font colors are still allowed on cache pages.

 

However, that doesn't mean that font colors are still allowed on profile pages, and the old profile page code was retired more than a year ago.

 

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8 minutes ago, niraD said:

However, that doesn't mean that font colors are still allowed on profile pages, and the old profile page code was retired more than a year ago.

I could be wrong but I think that thread was about what we now call the Dashboard and not the public profile page that other cachers see.  Regardless the editor for the public profile page allows text colors.

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42 minutes ago, MtnGoat50 said:

I just edited my profile and was able to hide white text that was viewable when highlighted and also visible in the page source


Did you then delete it?  If not, where would it appear?  I couldn’t find invisible text by highlighting your profile, but this was with my iPhone just now, and the iPhone doesn’t always work well with that kind of thing.

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Just now, kunarion said:


Did you then delete it?  If not, where would it appear?  I couldn’t find invisible text by highlighting your profile, but this was with my iPhone just now, and the iPhone doesn’t always work well with that kind of thing.

You're right, I've never been able to see invisible text on my iPhone or iPad. I have an app on the iPad that shows the page source and it's visible there.

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24 minutes ago, kunarion said:

Did you then delete it?  If not, where would it appear?  I couldn’t find invisible text by highlighting your profile, but this was with my iPhone just now, and the iPhone doesn’t always work well with that kind of thing.

I was able to see it. Just below the picture.

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1 hour ago, ChriBli said:

I was able to see it. Just below the picture.

 

OK, I got it on a desktop PC (Edge in Windows).  So it must exist in the source code in this case.  Highlighting using my iPhone 8, I saw no text in either of 3 browsers, even in "Desktop Mode".

 

As for location affecting the source code (the premise of this thread), I'm in Atlanta, and "the Profile is in Spokane".  If that makes any difference.

 

Edited by kunarion
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I've never been able to see white text on any of my iOS devices so that's to be expected. It's a limitation of the device not a bug at Geocaching.com. 

 

On 3/18/2022 at 12:58 PM, SkipperL said:

I then tried 4 different browsers and 3 different windows versions, 10, 11 and 7.  Three different computers and my phone.

So if it works somewhere up north, I'm in Florida, what could possibly be causing this.  Do different regions of the country have different servers?

.

If it's working for other people but not you, it makes me think the problem is at your end and not with Geocaching.com but, again, without actually seeing the cache(s) it's hard say. 

 

 

 

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A profile in question that will not give the solution to the puzzle is user T00lrep1.  This level of the puzzle will not ruin the puzzle.   On this profile page you should be able to highlight the page and get a group of letters show up.  And, again, the profile is tzerozerolrep1, t00lrep1. In this source view you can see what is suppose to be hidden on the profile page which is jsjmlnubkmfiamijhykchcgwnfoagjjye.  WHEN I HIGHLIGHT THE PAGE IT DOES NOT SHOW UP,  IT IS SUPPOSE TO.   BBBBButt can be found in the source if you know what you are looking for.

 

And YES, at different locations it does show up.  I don't know why, again, the reason for my question.

 

Now, as to it must be on my end, what end are you speaking of.  I said I tested various computers, browsers and windows versions.  Please, explain because this in all my years troubleshooting computer systems would be a first, hence my possible conclusion as a regional issue.  I don't know, that's why I asked.

 

All I can do now after reading some of these replies is simple.  Go to user t00lrep1 profile page, highlight the page and see if you see those letters I mentioned above.

 

Thank you

 

 

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21 minutes ago, SkipperL said:

WHEN I HIGHLIGHT THE PAGE IT DOES NOT SHOW UP,  IT IS SUPPOSE TO. 

This looks like a browser issue, not a web page issue. It works as described for people with other browsing environments, and the HTML source on the profile page is intact. Honestly, I don't see what else Groundspeak can do.

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Honestly, what do you not understand?  I have used now four browsers, three operating systems and 3 different computers.  Who said the HTML source is intact?  I said you can find the data on one.  That does not mean it is working as it should.  Read the entire post, the CO'ssss and I have gone through this procedure, step by step, ITS NOT working.  I'm done.

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1 hour ago, SkipperL said:

Go to user t00lrep1 profile page, highlight the page and see if you see those letters I mentioned above.

Worked fine for me, using current Firefox browser on Windows 10.

 

There's no need to be rude to the other posters who are trying to understand your issue and offer observations/solutions.

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I believe I have been very clear on what the problem is several times.  I have not been rude, on the contrary, just the opposite. I was trying to find a possible solution that is affecting who knows how many cachers.  I get comments back that generally telling me that I don't know what I talking about, it's my problem, it's something I have already posted I have tried.  That's rude.  Sorry for posting.

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48 minutes ago, SkipperL said:

Thank you to all that have looked at this profile and has worked or not for that matter.  Can you give a location where you are located without being too specific?

 

It's working for me in all my browsers on my PC (not on the iPhone).  I'm in Atlanta.

 

However:

The text seems to be in a container.  If I try to select the entire page, I get no invisible text.  But "Object 1" is in the clipboard.  In order to grab the hidden text, I have to place the cursor at just the right spot where the text is.  It's a lot different from the usual cache page where I can select the whole page and any white text appears.  If I select the whole "Profile Information" box, I see only the blue selection rectangle.  This means that some cachers will see the text and some won't, depending on where they place the mouse.  It's not a location thing in this case, of course.

 

[EDIT]:  The hidden text is inside an INPUT element.  That would normally be for something like an online form to fill out.  I don't see a particular problem with it like that, it just make selection of the text a little trickier.

 

code1.jpg

Edited by kunarion
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58 minutes ago, ChriBli said:

Works for me....

t00lrep1.jpg.c46361c37590de26c8202daa8d23a7cd.jpg

 

If you place the mouse at the start of the text "Profile Information" and then try to select everything, does the invisible text appear as expected?  I'm getting variable results depending on where I start to highlight the box.

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35 minutes ago, kunarion said:

The text seems to be in a container.  If I try to select the entire page, I get no invisible text.  But "Object 1" is in the clipboard.  In order to grab the hidden text, I have to place the cursor at just the right spot where the text is.  It's a lot different from the usual cache page where I can select the whole page and any white text appears.  If I select the whole "Profile Information" box, I see only the blue selection rectangle.  This means that some cachers will see the text and some won't, depending on where they place the mouse.  It's not a location thing in this case, of course.

 

Yep, exactly. In Firefox, if I highlight the whole profile area I see nothing, but if I position my cursor to just below the Profile Information header, at the point where the cursor changes from an arrow to a vertical bar, then highlight across, the hidden text appears.

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23 minutes ago, barefootjeff said:

 

Yep, exactly. In Firefox, if I highlight the whole profile area I see nothing, but if I position my cursor to just below the Profile Information header, at the point where the cursor changes from an arrow to a vertical bar, then highlight across, the hidden text appears.

 

I like it.  It fooled me at first.  And the cache puzzle itself is also quite evil.  kunarion approves.

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7 hours ago, SkipperL said:

All I can do now after reading some of these replies is simple.  Go to user t00lrep1 profile page, highlight the page and see if you see those letters I mentioned above.

Thanks for providing the example profile. I went to the page and (like others) can confirm that I can see the letters both highlighted, and in the page source (but it is tricky, see barefootjeff's post). Very clever and well done on the CO's part.

Based on the above, I believe your original contention that the puzzle is "broken" isn't correct. That said, I have no idea how to get the coordinates from "jsjmlnubkmfiamijhykchcgwnfoagjjye" but that is a completely different issue from the letters not being available in the profile.

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6 hours ago, kunarion said:

[EDIT]:  The hidden text is inside an INPUT element.  That would normally be for something like an online form to fill out.  I don't see a particular problem with it like that, it just make selection of the text a little trickier.

 

Indeed, the HTML source of the profile's About section is in an <input> element. It is then dynamically loaded into an <iframe> by some Javascript, presumably for security reasons. This is easiest to see through Inspect Element.

 

inspect.PNG.ccc4de9e883d4372aeb7c60a42c293fb.PNG

 

Hence, when you highlight the page, nothing appears. The browser selects the <iframe>, but not the content (since it is an external document.) Instead, double-clicking below "Profile Information" selects inside the <iframe>, allowing you to properly "highlight" the content you seek.

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8 hours ago, kunarion said:

If you place the mouse at the start of the text "Profile Information" and then try to select everything, does the invisible text appear as expected?  I'm getting variable results depending on where I start to highlight the box.

I'm seeing the same as everyone else, I have to click just below "Profile Information" where the cursor changes to be able to select and highlight the hidden text.

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9 hours ago, SkipperL said:

Thank you to all that have looked at this profile and has worked or not for that matter.  Can you give a location where you are located without being too specific?

 

On 3/20/2022 at 10:42 PM, ChriBli said:

And I'm in Stockholm.

 

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13 hours ago, SkipperL said:

All I can do now after reading some of these replies is simple.  Go to user t00lrep1 profile page, highlight the page and see if you see those letters I mentioned above.

 

I think that I can reproduce your issue with this profile and also give explanation for this feature.

 

Using Firefox, I can not select the white text unless I start selecting from some spesific place. For example, when the profile is loaded, pressing Ctrl+A to select everything selects everything else but the hidden text. Pressing Ctrl+C to copy everything and pasting this copied text to notepad does not contain the hidden part. If you start selecting text from any visible part ot the page you will not get the hidden text selected.

 

I managed to get the text visible only by hitting the empty space with my mouse just under the "Profile Information" title where the mouse cursor changes from an arrow to I-beam and then pressing Ctrl+A to select the hidden text. It works only in this small region of the empty space.

 

There is a clear reason for the strange bahaviour. For security reasons, the user supplied part of the page is not actually in the same body as the rest of the page. It is hidden inside an iframe sandbox that breaks all connections from the user supplied part to the groudspeak framework. It is actually a separete browser in the browser.

 

Edited by arisoft
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1 hour ago, arisoft said:

There is a clear reason for the strange bahaviour. For security reasons, the user supplied part of the page is not actually in the same body as the rest of the page. It is hidden inside an iframe sandbox that breaks all connections from the user supplied part to the groudspeak framework. It is actually a separete browser in the browser.

 

+1

 

The same thing happens in MtnGoat50's profile invisible text.  But it's a little easier to select it because of all the surrounding text.

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Posted (edited)

I took a shot and changed my dashboard from the new dashboard back to the old dashboard and the problem disappeared.  I could see all the data I was supposed to.  I have no idea what changing dashboards' does but it certainly seems to cause issues.  Now, (another problem I was having) I can print all the logs and see data on the reviewer log that I couldn't using the new dashboard.  I can see the highlighted text and all data is in the source code.  Very odd problem.  Thanks to all that worked on this problem.

Edited by SkipperL
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On 3/25/2022 at 7:20 AM, kunarion said:
On 3/25/2022 at 5:54 AM, arisoft said:

There is a clear reason for the strange bahaviour. For security reasons, the user supplied part of the page is not actually in the same body as the rest of the page. It is hidden inside an iframe sandbox that breaks all connections from the user supplied part to the groudspeak framework. It is actually a separete browser in the browser.

 

+1

 

The same thing happens in MtnGoat50's profile invisible text.  But it's a little easier to select it because of all the surrounding text.

 

Yes as arisoft mentioned - it's a side effect of the decision by HQ to embed the custom HTML content in a child iframe on the profile display. That affords a bit more security from the browser standpoint, but a side effect is that in examining the content a browser may select the iframe as an entire object, and not the content within - unless you begin the selection of content already within the iframe.  Viewing the browser source of the profile page will only provide the IFRAME element and not its content, but inspecting the profile section (in both Chrome and Firefox) will also show the iframe content. Your browser may also allow you to view the source of the embedded iframe if you right click within the bounds of the object and View Source - then you'll also see the custom html content.

 

Ultimately, the hidden code is correct, but the manner the content is now displayed may affect different browsers differently, whether desktop browsers or mobile browsers.

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