Documenting Gutenberg Blank Screen Reports

👋 Hello! I work mainly on the make/test team where our current focus is Gutenberg. I’ve spotted a common issue that’s tricky to troubleshoot and wanted to reach out to see what you think!

The problem is that sometimes a blank screen or a white screen appears when trying to create a new post or page. I wanted to note a few example reports here for reference and as a starting point for working out how best to troubleshoot these types of issues.

Recent blank screen reports

  1. 9990 – blank pages after updating to 3.8.0
  2. 9845 – one user is on WP.com, another reports clearing browser cache fixed the problem
  3. 9834 – editor is blank for all posts/pages, existing and new
  4. 9591 – user reports the problem only happens for child pages
  5. 9295 – likely a Cloudflare conflict
  6. 9222 – likely a plugin or theme conflict
  7. 9221 – user reported back that it started working but didn’t say why
  8. 8891 – possible Safari extension conflict

Older blank screen issues with resolutions

  1. 9926 – solved after making an unrelated change to php config
  2. 9585 – solved by preventing plugin admin notices from displaying on the edit page and post listings page
  3. 9101 – solved by disabling the “Disable REST API” setting in the WP Cerber Security plugin
  4. 9095 – solved by clearing browser cache
  5. 8960 – solved by flushing rewrite rules
  6. 8534 – solved by updating file permissions and restarting the server
  7. 8455 – solved by fixing a race condition in wp.domReady
  8. 7461 – solved by avoiding conflicts when a plugin resets the $post variable (plugin conflicts noted: Strong Testimonials, Webcraftic Clearfy, Table of Contents Plus)

There are a number of possible causes for a blank screen problem. In my experience so far, the most-likely culprits are: plugin or theme conflicts, strict security rules which block the API, and/or some other server configuration problem. When I see the problem reported, I typically start by asking for browser console errors to be documented and if that is already done I ask for a list of plugins in order to try to spot one to ask them try disabling as a test. Recently, a few users reported that clearing browser cache solved the problem for them (which I find baffling 😆). Perhaps I should always note clearing browser cache as a first troubleshooting step? I noticed that a pinned support topic for Gutenberg mentions the Health Check & Troubleshooting plugin. Should I be recommending that more often, at the beginning of interactions even?

How would you typically approach troubleshooting issues like these?

September 13th Support Team Meeting Summary

General announcements

WordPress 4.9.9 has been given a tentative release date of November 5th. This is subject to change, but is the current working date.

Checking in with international liaisons

Members of the Russian, Hindi, Dutch, Brazilian, Urdu, Swedish, German and Spanish communities were part of this weeks meeting, letting us know things are going well in their respective communities as well.

Open floor

The 404 page on the forums isn’t very helpful, as many things may have happened to a topic before you end up on this page. Adding a bit more information will help users going forward. We’ll be ticketing this and following up on the Meta Trac.

At WordCamp US this year, we’ll be doing another of our onboarding sessions. If there are items you feel should be included please reach out to @zoonini or @bethannon1 and they’ll help facilitate this!

Attendance

@abdullahramzan, @anevins, @bcworkz, @bemdesign, @benlumia007, @bethannon1, @binarywc, @builtbynorthby, @clorith, @contentiskey, @felipeelia, @fernandot, @fierevere, @firoz2456, @hardeepasrani, @ipstenu, @jcastaneda, @jdembowski, @joyously, @numeeja, @raduconstantin, @RDD, @sergeybiryukov, @sterndata, @t-p, @tobifjellner, @tokyobiyori, @zodiac1978 and @zoonini attended.

Read the meeting transcript in the Slack archives. (A Slack account is required)

Change will not come if we wait for some other person of if we wait for some other time. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.

President Obama

Agenda for September 13th Support Meeting

  • General announcements
  • WordPress 4.9.8, how are things going?
  • Checking in with international liaisons
  • Time permitting: Open floor

For any other items to discuss, please add them to the comments below, or bring them up in the meeting.

The meeting will be held on Thursday, September 13, 2018, 17:00 UTC in #forums on Slack. (a Slack account is required)

September 6th Support Team Meeting Summary

General announcements

Some page builder themes appear affected by a removed function in Gutenberg (it had been deprecated for a while). Some of them may therefore need updates to be fully compatible with Gutenberg again.

Checking in with international liaisons

Representatives from our Italian, Swedish, Greek, Dutch, Spanish, Russian, Belgian, Brazilian, German and Urdu communities were present during this weeks meetings.

Open floor

When handling reviews, and they need to be archived, remember to inform users of why. This is very apparent with Gutenberg related posts, as many users are first time posters who may not be familiar with forum etiquette. Let them know what is going on and why.

We’ll also be making a more official post about review handling on the make/support page. A few support team members have recently blogged about this privately, but we’ll want something more official we can link back to.


In other news, we’ll be revising the Forum Guidelines, trimming them down and making them more discoverable.

We’ll work on discoverability after revising the content though, to help users more easily digest the content and understand what lies behind it. We’ll be collaborating on this in the coming weeks, so look for a make/support post on that as well.

Attendance

@abdullahramzan, @anevins, @bcworkz, @bemdesign, @benlumia007, @bethannon1, @binarywc, @clorith, @contentiskey, @cristianozanca, @felipeelia, @fierevere, @firoz2456, @geoffreyshilling, @howdy_mcgee, @ipstenu, @jcastaneda, @jdembowski, @jeroenrotty, @joyously, @mindmantra, @numeeja, @RDD, @sterndata, @t-p, @tokyobiyori, @zodiac1978, @zoonini and pri attended.

Read the meeting transcript in the Slack archives. (A Slack account is required)

We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.

Winston Churchill

Agenda for September 6th Support Meeting

  • General announcements
  • WordPress 4.9.8, how are things going?
  • Checking in with international liaisons
  • Time permitting: Open floor

For any other items to discuss, please add them to the comments below, or bring them up in the meeting.

The meeting will be held on Thursday, September 6, 2018, 17:00 UTC in #forums on Slack. (a Slack account is required)

August 30th Support Team Meeting Summary

General announcements

For moderators, when flagging an account, remember to always reply and let the user know why and what this means for them.

Once they’ve behaved, remember to unflag accounts again, it’s not a permanent position after all, and remember to retain all user notes, there’s no situation where a note should need to be deleted.

Checking in with international liaisons

Representatives from the Italian, Spanish and Pakistani communities took part during this weeks meeting.

Open Floor

A question was brought forth on how to deal with bad reviews on the forums.

In general, you will, at some point, receive negative feedback. It is impossible to please everyone. We promote good replies to bad reviews as the best approach, users care that authors take the time to respond and try to help users.

Ignore the stars, see past them and instead see the person behind the review, and try to find out why they had a bad experience, and try to turn it into something positive.

Attendance

@abdullahramzan, @amboutwe, @bcworkz, @bemdesign, @benlumia007, @bethannon1, @binarywc, @clorith, @contentiskey, @cristianozanca, @fernandot, @firoz2456, @geoffreyshilling, @jcastaneda, @macmanx, @numeeja, @peterbooker, @presstigers, @RDD, @sterndata, @t-p, @tokyobiyori, @valeriosza, @webdevmattcrom and @wurpe attended.

Read the meeting transcript in the Slack archives. (A Slack account is required)

The history of innovation is the story of ideas that seemed dumb at the time.

Andy Dunn

Agenda for August 30th Support Meeting

  • General announcements
  • WordPress 4.9.8, how are things going?
  • Checking in with international liaisons
  • Time permitting: Open floor

For any other items to discuss, please add them to the comments below, or bring them up in the meeting.

The meeting will be held on Thursday, August 30, 2018, 17:00 UTC in #forums on Slack. (a Slack account is required)

August 23rd Support Team Meeting Summary

As previously mentioned, items with no new information are omitted to cut down on unnecessary noise in the summaries.

Checking in with international liaisons

We had representatives from Sweden, Italy, Serbia, Brazil, Spain, India, Russia and Germany partake in this weeks gathering.

We’re also happy to have some new rosetta users join us, if you’re not already taking part, we welcome you to stop by!

Attendance

@amboutwe, @bcworkz, @bemdesign, @benlumia007, @bethannon1, @clorith, @contentiskey, @coreymckrill, @courtneypk, @cristianozanca, @felipeelia, @fernandot, @fierevere, @jcastaneda, @macmanx, @nagpai, @nikolam, @numeeja, @peterbooker, @pjoannasaurus, @raduconstantin, @stephencottontail, @sterndata, @t-p, @tobifjellner, @zodiac1978 and @zoonini attended.

Read the meeting transcript in the Slack archives. (A Slack account is required)

It’s not who I am underneath, but what I do that defines me.

Batman

Agenda for August 23rd Support Meeting

  • General announcements
  • WordPress 4.9.8, how are things going?
  • Checking in with international liaisons
  • Time permitting: Open floor

For any other items to discuss, please add them to the comments below, or bring them up in the meeting.

The meeting will be held on Thursday, August 23, 2018, 17:00 UTC in #forums on Slack. (a Slack account is required)

August 16th Support Team Meeting Summary

General announcements

Reporting topics

An illustration of a previously reported topic, showing what account reported it.

We’ve got a new option for reporting topics, on the right hand sidebar of any topic, there is now a Report this topic link that any logged in user may use.

When they use this button, it adds the `modlook` tag to the post, and registers who made the report. The information on the reporter of course is only visible to moderators.

When and how to tag users

When tagging a user, you should always add a user note, please also add the note from the topic/post that caused the reaction, that way it’s automatically linked to. Also, describe why a tag was done, don’t add a bunch of links, as tags are global across rosetta sites as well, it’s not possible for many to look at archived posts cross-network.

As for when to tag a user, if they are repeatedly violating the guidelines, or there’s a high probability of a first time offender repeating their actions, you may tag them (remember to leave a reply explaining that they are tagged, what that means for them, and why). For the majority of users, a first time offense is not a reason to tag them, they just didn’t read the guidelines (although we wish they had), adding a user note mentioning they’ve been warned for whatever behavior is a great reaction to a first time offense, along with informing them of what they did wrong.

Checking in with international liaisons

Members from the Serbian, Italian, Greek, Russian, Swedish, Dutch communities partook in this weeks meeting.

Attendance

@abletec, @amboutwe, @bcworkz, @bemdesign, @benlumia007, @bph, @builtbynorthby, @clorith, @contentiskey, @cristianozanca, @fierevere, @firoz2456, @geoffreyshilling, @jcastaneda, @jdembowski, @numeeja, @RDD, @stephencottontail, @sterndata, @t-p, @tobifjellner, @xkon and @zoonini attended.

Read the meeting transcript in the Slack archives. (A Slack account is required)

My mama always said life was like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.

Forrest Gump