Dropbox image commenting is broken....sometimes? Can we fix it?
April 14, 2019 9:22 AM   Subscribe

I use Dropbox image commenting extensively with my team for one of my jobs, and recently it's become very buggy. But not all of the time, and not for all users. Is this a known bug that I can fix? And if not, are there good alternatives out there? (Specifics of the problems and my team's needs behind the fold.)

What we're doing:

We upload batches of individual images to folders, which we can all then view and leave comments on. Many of our comments are in the form of Dropbox's digital "sticky notes," where you can select a particular part of the image to refer to. We are often discussing issues with each other, so threaded comments are a big plus.

What's broken:

Comments have started showing up on the wrong page...but only sometimes, and not for everyone. This is sometimes accompanied by a "Comment left on previous version" alert.

Notably, this happens frequently with our big shared folder which is essential for my job. This seems to NEVER happen on the private folder I share with just the artist on the team.


Is this a known issue? Is there a workaround, or some specific thing we're doing which causes it?

Are there more reliable alternatives to Dropbox which will let us all comment on the same images online with threaded comments, preferably with the ability to select specific parts of the image?


This has been a low-key occasional occurrence for a while but has recently become a huge problem which is really stressing me out on an already-stressful project! Any help at all would be very much appreciated!
posted by Narrative Priorities to Computers & Internet (1 answer total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Hi there,

I know Dropbox pretty well and think I have a bit of a handle on what's happening.

When you say comments, you're referring to Dropbox's built-in comment feature on shared links right? As in, people are viewing images and commenting on links at urls like https://www.dropbox.com/s/***/ ?

This feature works for most people and I don't believe there's a widespread bug so I think it's something specific to your use. Are you renaming images on your desktop filesystem and/or then creating new images that have the name of images you just renamed? Dropbox tries hard to give each file a proper file id and track that file id across changes like renames so that shared links and comments will follow the file around.... but it's not perfect for various reasons. (big one is operating systems limitations...renames can look like a DELETE and then an ADD). You could be doing something to the files that is causing Dropbox to mismatch the file ids and attribute comments to the wrong images.

This is a problem/bug and something Dropbox should fix...but in the meantime, if you don't change file names or don't make new files that use previously used names, you should be good. Also Dropbox will have more info to correctly track files if the client is running during the operations, or if you use the mobile/web interface for all renames (and then file ids should track perfectly).

You can also try reporting this to Dropbox support and see how it goes. If you can create an isolated test case that reproduces this issue that will help IMMENSELY and get you past the first couple lines of support defense.

Not sure if this is really what's going on, but hope it helps!

posted by varenhizzles at 8:48 PM on April 15 [1 favorite]

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