I was having some local connection issues when I came across the “Topic failed to load” screen for the first time.
I have some suggestions on how to improve this to make the screen even more helpful… Take what you like, throw away the rest - this is just me throwing ideas out there…
Suggestion 1 - Track the “Try Again” clicks - if it is clicked more than X times (configurable in settings) make it so that a “Contact Us” button appears either with a form, PM, or even a configurable mailto link.
- Suggestion 1b - Make this number reportable in the Dashboard (ideally
along with its referrer) - a spike in overall clicks to this button
might indicate an issue with the site or a link somewhere.
Suggestion 2 - Check the users connection with a ping to a major server (http://www.google.com ??) and if there is limited or no connection inform the user of this. As-is it appears to the user that the issue is with the site and they could be sitting there hitting “try again” until the cows come home if their router is unplugged…
Suggestion 3 - Make the “Topic failed to load” text more prominent. Center it perhaps?
Suggestion 4 - Add a section under Admin to edit this statement. This way a forum can customize their error text without relying on a plugin or a modification.
Suggestion 5 - Update the default text for this to “Sorry! This topic cannot be loaded at this time. This most often occurs due to a connection problem. Please wait a minute and try again. If the problem persists, let us know.”
Suggestion 6 - Add a configurable “timer” before the “Try Again” button appears (2-3 seconds default, where it is grayed out after loading the page to prevent someone using it to hammer the site.
Suggestion 7 - Allow for an optional simple Captcha if the Try Again button is used more than a few times.
Suggestion 8 - Add a configurable (in Admin) image. By default use something like an Ethernet cable unplugged from a jack to hint to the user that the issue may be on their end. A picture is worth 1,000 words - often literally when it comes to forums.