Odd Citizen

Odd Citizen
An Odd Citizen’s Search For Vanishing Freedoms

Unwanted Scrolling

December 14th, 2010

Some time in the past week readers of this blog, those using Opera and Firefox browsers began to experience a strange behavior. The page will unexpectedly scroll to the bottom. I’ve traced this to the services of two companies, TubeMogul.com and BrightCove.com. Both of these are collecting usage data from YouTube embeds in blogs and elsewhere. For some reason, their systems are causing unwanted behaviors for non IE browsers.

The embedding of videos in blogs and articles is permitted and the requisite code is supplied to users such as Odd Citizen or anyone else. This site has been using embedded videos for some time without problems, but now the scroll bug hits.

Oddly, the services these guys provide cause the uploading and execution of JavaScript code that causes the scrolling. I don’t know how they accomplish that, but it concerns me because normally the web site itself if in control of uploading and running scripts.

In part this type of problem derives from the fact that there are subtle differences between browsers, and keeping web pages working the same for all browsers is already difficult. For this reason, many web developers, especially large, lazy bureaucratic sites don’t even try to support any browser other than Microsoft Internet Explorer.

I’m trying to get work-arounds for this obvious annoyance. Failing that I’ll just have to refrain from posting YouTube content that is likely to exhibit this behavior.

Update

The gentlemen at BrightCove responded promptly to my report of a problem and fixed it. Thank you BrightCove. This kind of courteous cooperation is uncommon in a world of companies working behind walls of phone menus and cumbersome customer services. These guys do it right. (Incidentally, TubeMogul had no responsibility for the problem.)

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