HTML hyperlinks on observation pages displaying weird since comment formatting toolbar was added

Platform: website

Browser: Firefox & Chrome


Screenshots of what you are seeing (instructions for taking a screenshot on computers and mobile devices:
HTML hyperlink:

Displaying all weird:

Description of problem (please provide a set of steps we can use to replicate the issue, and make as many as you need.): I often use hyperlinks in comments to refer to other observations, outside ID references, etc., using HTML tags. However, I noticed today that the formatting of these links has started showing up oddly. I assume this is related to the recent launch (?) of the formatting toolbar in the comment box, which offers a different way to insert hyperlinks etc. Are all my old HTML hyperlinks going to be messed up like this unless I go back and change them individually? Seems to be a problem in both Firefox & Chrome. I expect other people have had this issue, but couldn’t find anything by searching the forum.

Step 1: add a hyperlink to a comment using HTML tags

Step 2: save comment

Step 3: be sad when the hyperlink that you went to some trouble to add displays wrong

The new formatting toolbar in the comment editor is nice and all, but I’m going to be grumpy about it if it means all legacy HTML formatting in comments & identification notes is going to be broken. Was there an announcement on the forum about this new feature? I can’t seem to find it mentioned anywhere.

this is similar to both appear related to a recent change in the system to address this feature request:

the problem here is that the html syntax in your comment is invalid. the html parser in the past seems to have tolerated and fixed the invalid html. but the new markdown parser seems to be intolerant of invalid html.

in your example above, the proper html syntax would be:
<a href="">this observation</a>

if you fix the syntax, then all will be fine in the world.


Ah, thank you. My bad. I guess that means I will have to go back through and modify all my old, improperly-formatted hyperlinks, then? Wish the old HTML parser hadn’t been lax on me; I’ve probably created hundreds of badly-formulated hyperlinks over the years and now have no way to find and correct them efficiently. If I’m not the only one who has this problem, perhaps some background script could go through and batch-fix bad hyperlinks?


yes, unless:

this is theoretically possible by using regular expressions or something like that to find and fix specific bad html syntax patterns. i suspect there’s probably a low benefit to cost ratio for that kind of effort though. (not that your time used to fix the bad syntax isn’t valuable; it’s just that there are so few developers for the system, and if they’re cleaning something like this up, they’re not working on making the system better in some other way.) in the cases that i’ve seen, the hyperlinks still work. they just look funny now.


Yeah, definitely not worth a developer’s time to clean up my messy errors (unless a number of other people made similar errors). I’ll see if I can at least figure out a way to find them systematically. I realize they’re still functional but they’re offensive to my sense of order, and every time I see one it’s going to make me feel like a doofus. :man_facepalming:


The Description/Tags search field will not pull them up, I guess because it doesn’t read things inside HTML tags? Would be very easy to find them if I could find all instances of “<a>” or “” or something. Perhaps there’s a different URL chunk that will allow me to do a custom search that INCLUDES text inside tags?

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unfortunately, i don’t think the system provides regular users great ways to find bad html syntax. it’s possible to find the raw html in the json responses from API. but knowing that, it’s still not easy to find the bad html syntax patterns without someone writing something to specifically find those problems.

i don’t have anything existing that will find your specific pattern, but this will display the raw/original input on comments and comments on identifications for a set of observations:

and this will also do something similar for identifications only:

i don’t have anything for comments specifically.


I’ll have a look, thanks!